Religious Leaders Unite Against Human Cloning Law

Unprecedented Campaign Under Way in Britain

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

LONDON, JAN. 15, 2001 (
Eleven religious leaders of different faiths have joined forces in an unprecedented campaign to halt the legalization of human cloning by the
House of Lords next week, the Telegraph reported today.

The archbishops of Canterbury and York joined the Catholic archbishops of Westminster and Glasgow, as well as Muslim, Sikh, Jewish, Baptist and evangelical leaders, to urge that the move be postponed, the newspaper said. Their united campaign follows four failed attempts to discuss the moral and ethical issues of cloning with Prime Minister Tony Blair. Downing Street said that «diary commitments» made a meeting impossible.

It is the first time that the faith leaders have overcome their differences to intervene in a political issue they regard as morally dubious, the London newspaper said. In a letter to all members of the House of Lords today, they claim that «the philosophical and ethical implications» of cloning have not been fully considered, it noted.

Their letter argues that «complex questions» raised by human embryo cloning cannot be addressed in a brief parliamentary debate and should be referred to a select committee. With an election in the spring it is unlikely that the measure would return to Parliament under the Blair government.

The cloning issue is due to come before the Lords as a free vote a week from today and, if accepted, would make it permissible to clone human embryos for therapeutic use.

The letter was signed by the archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey; the archbishop of York, David Hope; Catholic Archbishop Cormac Murphy-O´Connor of Westminster; and the Catholic archbishop of Glasgow, Scotland, Cardinal Thomas Winning. Other signatories include the president of the Muslim College, Zaki Badawi; Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks; and the director of the Network of Sikh Organizations, Indarjit Singh.

Other Christian leaders backing the campaign are the Greek Orthodox Archbishop Gregorios; the general secretary of the Baptist Union, the Rev. David Coffey; the moderator of the Free Churches Organization, the Rev. Anthony Burnham; and the general secretary of the Evangelical Alliance, the Rev. Joel Edwards. Cardinal Winning has been the most outspoken on the issue, noting that «therapeutic cloning» is a misnomer for «killing.»

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation