[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
[SANET-MG] GM Crops a Christian Response
From GM Watch
A Christian Response
Our approach to genetically modified (GM) crops is based on care for
God's creation (Gen. 2.15), respect for the nature of God's creatures,
and the 'precautionary principle'. The onus of proof is on the
scientists and industrialists engaged in genetic engineering to show
beyond reasonable doubt that their activities are not threatening to
humans or wildlife. This approach is not anti-science.
Technological developments, intended to be beneficial, have often
increased environmental threats. The introduction of GM crops might
prove to have a similar outcome. The leading aid agencies, such as
Christian Aid, Oxfam and Action Aid, agree that GM crops will not solve
Indeed, there is a close association between the promotion of GM
technology and the ambition of transnational corporations to control
world trade thus undermining local growers and their markets. In short,
the case for GM crops lacks credibility.
A Christian and ethical response to GM crops
* Intrinsic value. We challenge the utilitarian assumption that the only
worthwhile living species are those which can be used by humans and that
other flora and fauna are expendable. Other species have intrinsic value
and are not merely collections of genes and chemicals or resources for
human use (Gen. 1.24-25).
* Human 'dominion'. Humans have responsibility for a 'garden' Earth
which belongs to God. We have a duty of care for our fellow creatures
which includes showing respect for the distinct nature of each. The
commission to till and keep the garden is often given too managerial,
manipulative a spin (Gen. 2.15).
* Reticence. Humans are clever but wisdom is found in respect for God's
constraints (Job 28).
* Getting the balance right. The potential benefits of GM crops should
not be ignored, but they need to be weighed very carefully against the
risks. Before deciding whether to accept GM technology, we need
objective scientific evidence from independent institutions, concerned
only for public and environmental interest, to show how GM crops and
food are different and yet at least as safe as those produced by other
farming methods - both for those who eat them and for the countryside in
which they are grown.
* Some church spokespeople seem inclined to place too much trust in the
GM industry and technology, ignoring the serious questions that are
increasingly being raised about the likely consequences of badly
controlled releases into the environment.
* Patenting living organisms claims ownership of what was considered
'common property' and not owned by anyone. Biotech companies currently
have power and assert 'ownership' over certain living organisms, without
accepting responsibility for them or for their effect upon the environment.
* Christian social teaching encourages a preferential option for the
poor. Christian Aid, Cafod (Catholic Agency for Overseas Development )
and the CIIR (Catholic Institute for International Relations) are among
development agencies questioning GM crops. Far from ending starvation,
applying GM technology could place too much power over food into too few
hands and leave the poor more vulnerable. Fair distribution of food and
land would have more effect.
* World development. GM foods are inextricably linked to what many
believe to be an unsustainable global economic system and will encourage
the further industrialisation of agriculture.
* Christian ethical concerns include environmental sustainability and
dietary choice as well as the relief of poverty. People who take a
principled precautionary stance against GM technology are entitled to
products wholly free from GM ingredients.
* The Christian 'good neighbour' principle requires an evaluation of the
potential indirect long-term effects of GM crops on the health,
environment and society of others.
* Justice. Organic farmers will suffer injustice when they are no longer
able to market their produce as organic because it is contaminated by
nearby farms growing GM crops.
To unsubscribe from SANET-MG:
1- Visit http://lists.sare.org/archives/sanet-mg.html to unsubscribe or;
2- Send a message to <firstname.lastname@example.org> from the address subscribed to the list. Type "unsubscribe sanet-mg" in the body of the message.
Visit the SANET-MG archives at: http://lists.sare.org/archives/sanet-mg.html
For more information on grants and other resources available through the SARE program, please visit http://www.sare.org.