United Methodists Suggest
New Cloning Resolution

by United Methodist News Service

WASHINGTON (UMNS) -- Members of the Genetic Science Task Force of the United Methodist Church struggled with the language to send to the 2000 General Conference and developed plans for an open one-day conference on human cloning issues and ethics.

Meeting here Oct. 1, the task force created a proposed revision of the current resolution on genetic science passed by the 1992 General Conference and drafted a separate resolution dealing specifically with human cloning.

With this meeting, the task force has concluded its scheduled face-to-face sessions. Bishop Susan M. Morrison, Albany, N.Y., has convened the task force this quadrennium.

The group continues to call for a ban on human cloning, including all privately or governmentally funded projects that are intended to advance human cloning.

The new resolution stresses the importance of widespread discussions that would include theologians and ethicists, people who might be directly affected by developments in this field, and experts in the fields of medicine, science and public policy.

Both documents from this meeting will be resubmitted this month to members of the task force by electronic means and later circulated to annual conferences and other groups within the church. The 11-member task force, which was created in 1988, reported to the 1992 General Conference and was disbanded. The same members -- with the exception of the convening bishop -- were called together again in May by the churchwide Board of Church and Society, with the assistance of a $20,000 grant from the World Service Contingency Fund. A second meeting was held in July.

With the small amount of money remaining, the group hopes to hold a conference in early May 1998 to encourage more discussion of human cloning issues, especially between members of the faith communities, representatives from corporations and government, and people with a personal interest in genetic diseases and genetic therapies.

A committee of four members and one staff was formed to continue planning for the event.

They are the Rev. David Trickett, ethicist and educator in Washington; the Rev. Frank Seydel, geneticist and genetic counselor, Washington; E. Virginia Lapham, a social scientist, Washington; Marion Johnson-Thompson, a molecular biologist, Triangle Park, N.C.; and Jaydee Hanson, a member of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society staff in Washington.

Two resource people spoke to the Oct. 1 gathering of the task force.

Posted October 3, 1997

[ Return to Christian News Archives | Return to Village Life Magazine ]

Copyright © 1999 Inc. All Rights Reserved