The Star reports that Governor Schwarzenegger is attempting to stare down anti-abortion opponents of stem-cell research with a warning to leave religion out of politics and health.
Schwarzenegger, in Toronto to sign accords with Premier Dalton McGuinty on collaborating with Ontario to fight cancer and curb climate change, said saving lives is paramount.
"I always said that you should not have your religion interfere with government policies or with the policies of the people," the former action film superstar turned politician told hundreds of people at the MaRS Discovery District research centre.
"I am a Catholic and a very dedicated Catholic, but that does not interfere with my decision-making because I know that stem cell research, the way we are doing it in California ... is the right way to go and will save, very quickly down the line, lives and cure a lot of these illnesses," he said.
After signing a deal with McGuinty for a new joint research initiative between California and Ontario scientists, Schwarzenegger recounted his personal interest in the subject.
"I have a father-in-law, Sargent Shriver, who has Alzheimer's," he said of the 91-year-old husband of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of late US president John F Kennedy.
"Now, Sargent Shriver, I'll tell you was one of the most brilliant minds in the world. He was working under the Johnson administration, the Kennedy administration, started the Peace Corps, the Jobs Corps, like I said, brilliant, brilliant," the governor said.
"Today, he does not even recognise his wife," he said. "Alzheimer's is a terrible disease and this is why I am so very passionate about supporting (research)."
Abortion foes are against stem-cell research because microscopic embryos, usually donated by fertility clinics, are destroyed in the process.
McGuinty, a fellow Catholic praised by Schwarzenegger for his "fantastic" support for the research, said he understood those with religious or ethical concerns.
"I would argue ... there's one moral imperative that transcends all faiths, all culture and all traditions, it would be this fundamental desire to relieve pain and suffering and death where we find it," said the premier, who announced $30 million from the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research will be earmarked for the Cancer Stem Cell Consortium of researchers here and in California.
"I'm confident we can strike the right balance between respecting people's sensitivities and ... we have some laws in the books here in Canada that ensure that."
Terminator gunning to save lives (The Star, 31/5/07)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Arnold Schwarzenegger (Wikipedia)
Sargent Shriver (Wikipedia)
Dalton McGuinty (Wikipedia)
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