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The Lord Has Not Given Us a Spirit of Fear … of GMOs April 15, 2013

By Julie Murphree, Julie’s Fresh Air


First, Note of Full Disclosure: This editorial has a faith-based slant. So if you’re not Protestant, Catholic or any other religious affiliation, you can skip this Monday blog post and wait for Julie’s Fresh Air Wednesday installment. Additionally, my family farmed genetically modified cotton in Arizona (retired 2005) though all other crops we grew were not modified. Also, this blog post and others is not underwritten by anyone (if anyone wants to fund my writing endeavors I’d be more than happy to discuss terms).

Recently, a fellow Christian sent me an email and not-so-subtly suggested I needed a spiritual awakening about genetically modified organisms (GMO). Actually, I receive a query on this topic weekly now. The conversation typically flounders on fear.  What I mean is that fear is driving the conversation and the conclusions.

Regardless of the position one takes on the GMO front, I’ m delighted when someone seeks after truth employing sound science, multiple sources with qualified backgrounds and a rational approach. Unfortunately, emotions and fear takes top billing on this latest “hot topic” in the public arena right now.


Growing biotech (modified) cotton since the mid-1990s, Murphree Farms was typical as the majority of cotton farmers in Arizona and across the United States use biotech seed to grow cotton. Mom is seen here checking the cotton crop before harvest.

Lately, when Christian friends approach me on this topic (and I get it a lot since they know I work for an agriculture organization, The Arizona Farm Bureau), they send me links to various websites bemoaning the evils of GMOs. The articles on the site are very alarming … controversial, in fact “end-times” scary.  Fear does sell, and well. I’m surprised we’re falling into this so easily. Or, maybe I shouldn’t.

II Timothy 1:7 says “The Lord has not given us a spirit of Fear …” Instead, in that same verse we discover the Lord has given us love, power and a sound mind. The sound mind makes sense to me; maybe a sound mind to seek after truth.

Ultimately, a source of information too seated in fear serves as a red flag for me; especially if all the content is completely fear-based. The remaining red flags include no real science-based information and information wholly void of peer-reviewed research (though some attempt to claim the research is until you read the methodology) and lack of transparency about the backgrounds of key sources.

Sorry, I’m not attempting to scripturally prove GMOs are good or evil in this article. I do know that improved seed production including those seeds that have been genetically modified have fed a countless number of hungry people.  There is a scriptural imperative to that issue too.


Sidebar: You’ve probably heard of the “Monsanto Protection Act,” Actual name is the “Farmer Assurance Provision” and are convinced it’s a conspiratorial takeover by Monsanto. A variety of sources might help you piece together the full story. Better yet, just read the provision. My personal conclusion is that it specifically protects farmers:


Here are some more


1. Dawn - April 15, 2013

I’m glad you posted this Julie. I feel in a quandry about it myself. I will take a look at these articles you have posted. I am particularly concerned about reports I have read that there has been bullying by governments and corporations against scientists who have “spoken out” or published their findings. Since I did not make a note of all the articles I’ve read, I can’t say what the details of those stories I have read are. I believe completely in the scripture you have quoted, but I also know there are two sides to every story and much money to be made likely on both sides, more likely on the Monsanto side. My biggest concern, simply out of my own logic is…and I’ll get to it. We all know that there has been genetic manipulation of crops for thousands of years, at least centuries. That has been more sophisticated in the last century and likely more than ever in the last few decades. I understand messing with the genetics of size, color, taste, new varieties, etc. But, I do think we are getting a little jekyll and hydish, when we start doing things with seeds never before done. Like crossing animal with vegetable, or chemical with vegetable. Things that would never occur in nature. I won’t begin to pretend I understand the science, because I don’t, but that is where my true concern lies. If it absolutely can’t be done in nature, aren’t we headed down a slippery slope if we really don’t know what the end results will be? Yes, there are some chicken littles screaming out there, but there are people with true concerns, and those concerns need to be answered. Thanks for a thought provoking article.

2. Sonia Gasho - April 15, 2013

Thank you Julie for this view. I too find alot of the quesitons to be based on fear. I understand that people have concerns because they don’t understand all the science or don’t want to cross a line of playing God. The end doesn’t justify the means, but if the means are safe and the ends are feeding starving people or reducing pesticide use, I am in favor. I agree we need to have a sound mind approach and not move too fast or too slow. “Because we haven’t been able to before” or “unable too without modern science” isn’t really valid too me because that would eliminate an awful lot of good things we enjoy in this country and at this time and place. Blessings,

3. @FarmGirlJen - April 19, 2013

Great post Julie! I love the scripture because this week for a variety of reasons, there is much fear. There are so many advances in technology and medicine that are fully accepted including insulin and cancer drugs created through the same rDNA science and not feared. I wonder why food is different from Medicine?

4. NeSSa - May 1, 2013

Hi Julie –

As a practicing Christian, I do not operate from a fear-based belief. Jesus was not that. Jesus was not only Peace (for Peace is Who We Are, not something we must go in search of), but he demonstrated Peace for us – including standing up and getting in the way when necessary (as he demonstrated with the moneychangers in the temple; or calling out the Pharisees for what they were; or stating clearly the needle’s eye in relation to the rich man.

As I mentioned in my initial post, I have researched Monsanto for a very long time now – and my faith is not grounded in Fear (there are only two prime emotions: Love and Fear – and even Fear is truly a subset of Love not trusted) – and the facts are indeed there, for the reading and researching their veracity.

Jesus tasked us with seeing clearly…and it is difficult for the average person to see through the smoke screens…but not to scratch the dark off the looking glass, bit by bit until we do. I live my life by the radical Red-print Spirit of Oneness. I despair when I research Monsanto suing farmers for theft of seed, when they actually go and buy up the land next to the farmer, then take him to court. It isn’t important whether they think they can win or not, because they have enough money to drive the farmer out of business. In their case with bovine growth hormones – suing for Defamation of Character? Whatever the Supreme Court decided, our founding fathers had no love lost for corporations and I truly believe would not have made them persons, with more rights than humans. God created us in his image – and that does not resemble a corporation.

Thanks again, for providing the space for dialogue. I have two farmers in my family; and a cousin whose Indian husband’s brother committed suicide (an epidemic due to Monsanto and their attendant companies) because of how they were spun there.

Blessings and belly laughs – and myriad opportunities to pass them forward. Cheers.