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.
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:
- Letter to the editor: Litigation is at root of ‘Farmer Assurance Provision’ http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20130406/OPINION04/304060013/1038/Letter-editor-Litigation-root-Farmer-Assurance-Provision-
- Jon Entine of Genetic Literacy http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2013/04/01/monsanto-protection-act-separating-the-facts-from-the-fury/
- This NPR is quite fair and balanced: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/03/21/174973235/did-congress-just-give-gmos-a-free-pass-in-the-courts
Here are some more
- As the fever pitch developed, Keith Kloor posted this: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2013/04/03/anti-gmo-attitudes-on-the-left-and-right/
- From Kevin Folta at the University of Florida – http://kfolta.blogspot.com/2013/03/does-anyone-read-it-before-opposing-it.html
- This one from US News : http://mobile.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/04/03/monsanto-rider-ridiculed-by-both-sides-but-is-it-as-bad-as-it-looks
- A conservative blog for women Chicks on the Right wrote http://chicksontheright.com/posts/item/24016-let-s-talk-gmos
- And the skeptical libertarian blog posted this http://blog.skepticallibertarian.com/2013/03/28/monsanto-protection-act-anti-gmo-conspiracy-theorists-lose-it-over-minor-deregulation/