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ELCA's 11th social statement, on genetics, wins approval

Statement originated with a 2005 memorial from the Northeastern Iowa Synod

The Churchwide Assembly adopted "Genetics, Faith and Responsibility," the ELCA's 11th social statement, by a 942-34 vote.

The statement originated with a memorial from the Northeastern Iowa Synod to the 2005 Churchwide Assembly. Developed by an 18-member task force with more than five years of study, the statement offers scientists, theologians and ELCA members an ethical framework for dialogue. Among other things, it calls for genetic technologies and economic enterprises that enable the community of life to flourish. It rejects human reproductive cloning, as well as using genetic information to discriminate in employment or insurance coverage.

Leslie Bimler, a volunteer at the 2011 Churchwide Assembly, participates in worship.
Leslie Bimler, a volunteer at the 2011 Churchwide Assembly, participates in worship.

"We live in a world where genetics affects us when we go to the store, to our doctors ... and in many ways we can't predict," voting member Joel Sauerwein, a pastor in the Western North Dakota Synod, said during debate.

Leah McDowell, a pastor in the Southeastern Minnesota Synod, shared her struggle with stage 4 cancer caused by a genetic disorder. "Our church has the opportunity to lead, take a stand, affirm the work of those working in genetic sciences and continue to provide people like me with hope," she said. 


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