BBC provides an occasional look into the House of Lords much like our C-Span does the Senate and House of Representatives. I get a real kick out of watching it because the Labour and Conservative parties really lay it on the line. The term “politically correct” goes out the window with these people. But I was really surprised by something today as I heard the Baroness O’Cathain speak on the Human Fertilization and Embryology Bill.
It seems the gist of the bill seeks to allow scientists to experiment with animal and human stem cells. The issue being addressed by Baroness O’Cathain was the cross-fertilization of human cells with animal cells. She finds this (as we all should) appalling. She proceeded to dress down the people involved in supporting the bill. She first shamed them by pointing out their ignorance of more advanced means of study currently taking place in Japan. She did this by pointing out that the famous scientist Ian Wilmut, whose scientific team cloned Dolly the sheep and was subsequently given the right to clone human cells, has since declined the right to clone human cells in light of the more advanced research being done in Japan. He said it was not necessary to do so in order for the research to advance.
But the most powerful words I heard were those that followed her shaming the supporters of the bill from a scientific point of view. She acknowledged the fact that many of her peers were aware of her religious beliefs and how they came into play in her role as a member of the House of Lords. She then promised not to let them down on this issue. The Baroness then made her case from Scripture by quoting Genesis 1:27-28 saying, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him . . . and gave him dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” This, then, she argued, is not an order that is to be transgressed. Surprisingly, this was the largest part of her argument and was the basis for why she thought this bill should be struck down. She ended by stating, “Playing God is not an area that should be breeched.”
I found this to be encouraging. Here is a woman standing in front of her peers in the House of Lords quoting Scripture as the basis for her argument. I am finding that England is not as cold and harsh to Christianity as I have been told (perhaps as you too have been told). I am going to continue to pursue this idea in hopes of submitting a post on how this notion has been misconstrued in American evangelicalism. I have heard remarks like, “England is one of the greatest mission fields in the world,” and “They are incredibly cold to the gospel message.” Yet, everyday that I walk into the city centre I see someone handing out tracts and sharing the gospel with people. And they always seem to have someone who has taken the time to listen. I just smile and walk on! This is true on campus as well. Again, I am sure this has something to do with the fact that I am in a very rural part of the country. However, I wonder since Baroness O’Cathairn is in the House of Lords. I also recognize this is a minority and not indicative of the discourse of the masses. However, I wonder if, in light of our own “Christian” nation, we have branded England as godless and cold through self-righteous eyes. Perhaps not, but it is certainly worth considering. Do we (US) not have equally appalling teen pregnancy, alcoholism, divorce, and drug addition rates? Are we not home to some of the most radical anti-Christian groups in the world? By this I don’t mean radical Muslims, I mean radical Americans. I guess my concern is how we categorize other countries because they don’t so things the way we do them. Is England the desperate, godless, cold, country that is opposed to the gospel that some would say it is?
What I see here is such a melding of religious and secular that there is no real distinction such as we see in the US. But when one looks really hard he/she will find that the religious is here just as it is there. It just doesn’t look American. Hopefully I will be able to produce something that contains more empirical evidence for what I am suggesting. However, as winter term begins for me, I will be especially busy.
In the meantime, pray for Baroness O’Cathairn as she continues to fight strongly for biblical values in the UK.