I really like Dr. Ben Carson. He is outspoken about his faith. (He's a Seventh Day Adventist from Detroit.) He overcame poverty to become one of the most celebrated physicians of our time. He overtly bases his policy positions on the Bible -- for instance, his 10 percent flat tax. Beyond that, he's just likable. He seems to have a truly Spirit-controlled temperament. But he's going to have to do a better job answer questions about a medical experiment he conducted that involved the tissue of aborted babies. Word broke today - from a hostile, pro-abortion source - that in 1992, Dr. Carson published a paper about an experiment he conducted using tissue "obtained from two fetuses aborted in the ninth and 17th week of gestation." This was 23 years ago, at a time when embryonic stem cell research was a relatively new phenomenon that promised to unlock the answers to all the world's problems. He could have said that he thought the experimentation would do tremendous good that outweighed his concerns. Or he could have said that, like many (especially Protestants and evangelicals), at that time he knew there was a division within the pro-life movement over the issue and hadn't thought it through to its logical conclusion. What was Dr. Carson's response? Unfortunately, he doubled down. "There is absolutely no contradiction between the research I worked on in 1992 and my pro-life views," Carson responded. "You have to look at the intent" of what he was doing, compared with Planned Parenthood's trafficking in human organs, he said. "When pathologists receive specimen, their job is to prepare the specimen," he said. "They have no job opining on where the tissue came from." In short: It was there, so he may as well use it for "good." That's a utilitarian and technical argument, not a moral or ethical one. If a few toughs wearing all black throw me a few thousand dollars in a sack marked "First National Bank" and tell me to use it for good, I am morally (and legally) responsible if I accept it. Even if I invested it and gave the proceeds to starving children, it is still illegal to receive stolen goods and morally, becoming a beneficiary makes me a party to the theft. Knowingly using stem cells or tissue taken from babies who were aborted makes the user morally complicit in the abortion. No amount of "good" can come from participating in evil. After all, if there were no market for aborted babies' tissues and organs, there would be no supply - and no Planned Parenthood sideline selling aborted babies' body parts to the highest bidder, as we've seen in recent undercover videos. Not being willing to accept responsibility, or to offer a moment of contrition beyond a legalistic response about medical ethics, gives me lots of reasons to be hesitant about his candidacy. For a candidate whose biggest selling point has been his biography, this chapter makes us reconsider.
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