Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence

Memorandum 54

Submission from the Brethren Christian Fellowship (The Brethren)


  1.1  For the purpose of this submission, we will not go into detail about the history of the brethren (sometimes referred to as the Plymouth Brethren but are now more commonly referred to as the Exclusive Brethren). It is perhaps sufficient to say that the movement commenced in Dublin in about 1828 and now comprises about 45,000 worldwide who are found in nineteen countries including nine member states of the European Union. Further information can be found at the only website endorsed by the brethren:


  2.1  It is true to say that widespread interest among the brethren in government and International Affairs has intensified in recent years. Nevertheless, over the last four years in particular, many brethren have become known personally to MP's, Government Ministers, Peers etc. The brethren are not an extreme fundamentalist minority group as might be suggested by some. They are a group of sincere Christians who pray for and support what is right in government according to Holy Scripture. Government is ordained of God, as set out in the following quotations from the Bible:

    "For there is no authority except from God; and those that exist are set Up by God" see Romans Ch 13, v 1.

    "...that supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings be made for all men; for kings and all that are in dignity" see 1 Timothy Ch 2, v 1.

  2.2  The brethren believe there is abundant testimony from both the Bible and history itself that the Western World, namely Europe and its outgoings (essentially the Americas and Australasia) has prospered as a direct result of embracing Christianity. This came to pass through entry into Europe by the Apostle Paul, his port of entry being Philippi where amongst other things he gave the exhortation to "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house" see Acts Ch 16, v 31.


  Our desire in making this submission is to insist that the first and foremost consideration must be to recognise the rights of our creator God and respect fundamental principles long established and based on the Holy Scriptures. The outstanding Divine Principle which would govern this issue is to be found right at the beginning of the Bible; "And God created man in his image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them." See Genesis Ch 1, v 27


  4.1  In the White Paper "Review of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act" at 2.85 the Government propose that the creation of hybrid and chimera embryos will not be allowed. We would urge the Government to maintain this stance.

  4.2  We acknowledge the potential benefit that may result from stem cell research and would support such research where a right balance is observed between the needs of science and the demands of conscience. To even consider the possibility of creating human/animal embryos is repulsive and morally and ethically wrong.

  4.3  The following are extracts from a speech given by President Bush on the 19 July 2006, regarding Stem Cell Research Policy, which we wholeheartedly endorse and would like to submit to the Committee for consideration:

    "We will not sanction practises which violate the dignity of human life"

    "We will not cross a moral boundary"

    "Each embryo is a unique human life with inherent dignity and matchless value"

    "If we are to find the right way to advance medical research, we must be willing to reject the wrong ways"

    "I believe America's scientists will make the breakthrough if we respect with reverence the gift of life"


  Our desire is to contribute constructively as having some understanding of the enormity of these decisions that the Government has to make.

  We state our deep concerns regarding these matters with a sense of our responsibility before God and would appeal to the Government to have the courage and conviction to stand by what is right and refuse to allow the creation of hybrid and chimera embryos.

February 2007

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