Religious perspectives on human biotechnologies vary widely, depending in part on the specific technology or application.
Most religious leaders are in step with public sentiment in opposing human reproductive cloning and inheritable genetic modification. They recognize social and ethical as well as theological reasons that the use of these technologies would run counter to fundamental tenets of their faiths.
In 1983 a leadership coalition representing a wide spectrum of theological beliefs issued a letter to the U.S. Congress calling for a ban on inheritable genetic modification (changing the genes we pass on to our children). The Theological Letter Concerning the Moral Arguments argued that this practice would pose "a fundamental threat to the preservation of the human species as we know it, and should be opposed with the same courage and conviction as we now oppose the threat of nuclear extinction."
Religious communities are far more divided about other human biotechnologies, particularly embryonic stem cell research (ESCR). Some conservative Christian denominations oppose ESCR because of their objections to any activity that destroys a human embryo. This has been a major theme in the ongoing debate about stem cell policy. Many other communities of faith support ESCR. Still others support ESCR that uses embryos created but not needed for infertility treatment, but oppose the creation of embryos specifically for research purposes.
Gene Editingby Editorial, Nature July 1st, 2015Legislators in the US House of Representatives are asserting themselves in the human genetic modification debate, but as public awareness grows this much-needed ethical discussion will take root in broader society.