Religious Right activists have frequently found themselves at odds with the prominent health organization the American Cancer Society, attacking the group over its support for stem-cell research, the approval of an HPV vaccine, and for an anti-smoking program by an Iowa Planned Parenthood clinic. Josh Braham, the director of Right to Life Central California and the host of Life Report, has taken this antipathy to a new level, calling for a boycott of American Cancer Society activities because of the group’s support for stem cell research. Writing for the anti-choice website LifeNews, Brahm calls for a boycott of the Relay for Life and claims that supporting the group is no different than aiding Nazi scientists:
A friend of mine and strong pro-life advocate, Clinton, found himself in an awkward situation last week. His Christian band had agreed to play at a Relay For Life not knowing that some of the money goes to HESCR. While meeting with Clinton, this question came up: “which is worse, giving up a ministry opportunity where Christian music could be heard by non-believers, or supporting something contrary to one’s beliefs?”
I responded by offering this analogy:
Imagine you’re in a German Christian band in 1941. You’ve happily agreed to play at a rally in support of research and treatments for hypothermia. It sounds like an important cause, raising money to treat a condition that plagues many people around the world every year. However, a few days before the event you learn that a portion of the money raised at the rally will be sent to support the research of Dr. Rascher at the Dachau concentration camp. Dr. Rascher conducted human experiments on Jews, for the purpose of creating treatments for hypothermia, an issue Nazi soldiers were struggling with on the Eastern front. One study forced subjects to endure a tank of ice water for up to five hours. Another study placed prisoners naked in the open air for several hours with temperatures as low as 21°F. Approximately 100 people are reported to have died as a result of these experiments. Would you still play at the rally?
If human embryos are just as human as you or me, than the Dachau analogy is a fair one, except that embryos don’t feel pain when they’re experimented on or killed. This doesn’t affect the moral equation much though, as what Dr. Rascher did would have still been considered a heinous human rights violation even if he anesthetized the Jews before using them for unethical experiments.