Opposition to mass-production human cloning for research is visceral and very widespread, wherever the forces of conscience are free from the pressures of naive but well-intentioned scientists who think they should be able to do what they like, and the businessmen behind them, who may be less naive and less well-intentioned.

This opposition unites many who favor stem-cell research using "spare" in vitro embryos with "pro-lifers"; it unites the liberal (and pro-choice) United Methodist Church with the conservative Southern Baptists and Roman Catholics; it has brought together activists on both sides of the abortion debate with environmentalists around the globe.

It is altogether too convenient for Ron Green to blame it all on religion. I was privileged to be in the White House in April 2002 to hear President Bush deliver a powerful speech against cloning. Gathered in the East Room was a highly unusual mix for a White House event, this motley collection of new-found friends from left and right, pro-choice and pro-life, Republican and definitely not Republican. They listened as the President laid out his vision for ethical biotechnology. I cannot put it better:

Science has set before us decisions of immense consequence. We can pursue medical research with a clear sense of moral purpose or we can travel without an ethical compass into a world we could live to regret. Science now presses forward the issue of human cloning. How we answer the question of human cloning will place us on one path or the other.

That is how things looked in the White House that day. It is how they look in the Bundestag and the French National Assembly, as now the whole of "Old Europe" has made embryo cloning a felony. It is how the federal governments of Canada and Australia have opted. And last year 66 states wanted such a ban to be worldwide.

This is not a debate about religion, and no amount of conspiracy theory should convince us otherwise. This debate is about the need for human beings to rally around human dignity, and ensure that as the wonders of biotechnology come to dominate the 21st century they will do so within clear ethical parameters and stop short of turning human nature into just one more commodity. You don't have to be pro-life to think that, simply pro-human. I am glad to join hands with those of all religions and none to save us from the alluring horrors of the Brave New World. I said before, and I shall say it again--because Germany has been there and done that, we should let the German conscience be our guide.