The Drudge Report is leaking some tidbits from Decision Points (due out Nov. 9), George W. Bush’s highly-anticipated memoir chronicling the most important decisions in his life. Faith, it seems, played a major role in helping him not only to make those decisions but to stand by them.
With chapter titles that include Quitting (on how he cut out the booze), Day of Fire (about 911), and Financial Crisis, the former president reportedly reflects on the many issues he has confronted while, refreshingly, refraining from taking potshots at his critics — including President Obama.
Catholics may find the chapter Stem Cells to be the most interesting of all as it details how
he wrestled with the issue of federal funding of embryonic stem cell research in 2001.
The Church, of course, opposes such research since it involves the destruction of a human embryo. The Church, however, supports adult stem cell research which doesn’t involve such destruction and, some argue, actually provides a more promising path toward developing treatments and cures for human diseases.
In writing about his decision to restrict federal money used to fund embryonic stem cell research to about 60 existing lines (in which the embryos were already destroyed), Bush recalls an emotional meeting he had with Pope John Paul II (at the pontiff’s summer residence) in which the pope, his body savaged by Parkinson’s disease, urged the president to protect human life in all its forms.
While he also listened to supporters of embryonic stem cell research (notably Nancy Reagan, among many others) he writes that, ultimately, “I
did feel a responsibility to voice my pro-life convictions and lead the country
toward what Pope John Paul II called a culture of life.”
On August 9, 2001, In his address announcing his decision to the American people, President Bush said “I also believe human life is a sacred gift from our Creator. I worry about a
culture that devalues life, and believe as your President I have an important
obligation to foster and encourage respect for life in America and throughout
President Obama moved to reverse that decision last year — though a federal judge recently recently blocked his executive order, maintaining that it violates an existing law that bans federal money from being used to ban embryos.
The ethical and political battle goes on.