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ELCA Publishes New Social Statement On Genetics

ELCA Publishes New Social Statement On Genetics

Draft will be voted on by the church's general assembly later this year.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America revised its proposed social statement on the use of genetic engineering in agriculture, agriculture and other others areas.

Last year, the ELCA published a draft of the statement that used many anti-GMO buzzwords and phrases. The statement riled some ELCA members who farm and plant biotech corn, soybeans, sugarbeets, alfalfa and canola.

The revised statement – which will be voted on by ELCA members at an assembly in the fall – takes a softer stance on biotechnology, but is still critical of its "potential harm."

"With many others, the ELCA understands that genetics can contribute to creative and beneficial care for the community of life. With others, we also are concerned about the potential harm," the ELCA reads in its 'Challenge' section. "This harm may be the result of unintended consequences, but it could be especially acute given the power of genetic science to alter existing life in direct, rapid and perhaps irreversible ways."

The ELCA's concern for benefit or harm, however, is not focused per se on any

particular scientific or technological development. The concern, rather, focuses on the just and wise use of genetic knowledge and technology. For instance, the ELCA does not reject the use of genetic technology such as genetically modified organisms, prenatal diagnosis, or pharmacogenetics. Like other gifts of technology, there are reasons for both encouraging their use and for cautioning against certain means of applying them. This church believes the use of any technology should be subject to moral assessment."

Read the ELCA's document at

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