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Monday, October 18, 2010

Profane Poem Wins ESCR Contest

I bet you didn't know that October 13 was Stem Cell Awareness Day - I didn't. I also didn't know that a California firm sponsored a poetry contest to commemorate the day.

I'm regretting that I found out. Below is the winning poem, as selected by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, written by Tyson Anderson:

“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.”

Sorta takes your breath away, doesn't it?

Here's some of the story as reported by Newsbusters.

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.”

[...]

“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.”

That line from the Life Legal Defense Fund - "...but why we should assume that the embryo is saying, 'Let me help,' rather than 'Let me live'?" - is good. Very good. The embryo is not choosing to sacrifice itself. It's being ripped apart involuntarily.

I don't care if the poet was not intending to be offensive, or that his tone was heartfelt. There are some things you just don't do - and applying the words of consecration to anything other than the Eucharist is at the top of the list. How could he, or the CIRM, not know that this would have angered a lot of people?

The most sacred words in the Catholic faith, hijacked in order to promote a barbaric, unethical procedure - sacralizing evil - this ought to be deeply offensive to all Catholics, and even all Christians, who recognize embryonic stem cell research for what it truly is: the willful destruction of human life for profit and for alleged good.

Christ sacrificed His Body and Blood for the salvation of the world, out of His infinite love for all. ESCR sacrifices the 'body and blood' of others for the self-fulfillment of the World, out of infernal love for greed. There is and can be no comparison.