HuffPo Writer Gives Christians a Fair Hearing in Embryonic Stem Cell Research Poem Controversy

In a surprisingly balanced piece, Huffington Post columnist John Lundberg demonstrated sensitivity to Christians outraged by the sacrilege committed in a controversial poem written to promote stem cell awareness. Tyson Anderson wrote winning verse for the October 13 Stem Cell Awareness Day contest sponsored by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

“This is my body, which is given for you.” These words, found in the New Testament, spoken by Jesus during the first communion among his disciples, were used in Anderson’s poem as the voice of a fetus willingly giving up his or her life for the use of its stem cells. According to the Huffington Post article, CIRM removed the poem from its website.

Lundberg noted that the language of the text is sacred to those who practice communion and to opponents of embryonic stem-cell research. He included a quote from Life Legal Defense Fund’s response to the poem which read, “The choice of this poem for a prize represents the deliberate pilfering of the holiest of voluntary, sacrificial acts in the history of humanity for a shoddy pep piece in CIRM's campaign to promote the wholesale destruction of human life. As if squandering taxpayer money on propaganda to promote ‘Stem Cell Awareness Day’ were not enough, CIRM is bent on mocking the most sacred of Christian texts.”

The Huffington Post has a history of mocking Christians and distorting the positive impact of religion with articles calling for such ridiculous things such as the arrest of the pope and attacking evangelical leaders like Jerry Fallwell. Giving credit where credit is due, Lundberg did not minimize the concern of Christians at the use of Scripture to promote a morally controversial policy point.

“Anderson's poem doesn't strike me as being deliberately provocative -- its tone is clearly heartfelt,” Lundberg wrote. “But using the language considered sacred by most opponents of stem cell research in order to promote the research is, well, provocative.”

And although he called the LLDF protest “hyperbole,” Lundberg also included this sentence from the group: "The poem's premise is that the embryo is a person wishing to give its life, but why we should assume that the embryo is saying, 'Let me help,' rather than 'Let me live'?"

To Lundberg, “this seemed the start of an enlightening debate, but CIRM chose not to continue it, instead removing the poem from its website and apologizing.”

Below is Anderson’s stem cell poem, in its entirety.

“This is my body
which is given for you.
But I am not great.
I have neither wealth,
nor fame, nor grace.
I cannot comfort with words,
nor inspire to march.

I am small and simple,
so leave me this.
Let me heal you.
This is my body
which is given for you.
Take this
in remembrance of me.”