The National Council of Churches (NCC) has approved a comprehensive set of policies [PDF] to guide its members "through the maze of moral decision-making in the rapidly developing field of biotechnology." The policies will be studied by the Council's member communions over the coming year and and then reviewed for final adoption. The NCC represents thirty-five Protestant and Orthodox communions, comprising 100,000 local congregations and 45 million members.
From the new NCC policy statement:
"In a world of poverty, wars and hunger, a wise balancing and use of limited resources for basic necessities of life must temper our advancement of research and consumption of newly available biotechnologies... [T]he rapid advance in science coupled with a vigorous corporate infrastructure has outstripped governmental capacity for adequate regulation."
"Scientific progress must, in our view, also be situated in a context of democratic governance, where distorting inequities - notably in the US healthcare system - can be addressed... We [call] for a clear, comprehensive system of national and international regulatory oversight and accountability, including provisions that take into account moral, ethical, cultural and religious sensitivities, [with]clear limits on the stage to which experimental organizations are allowed to develop."
Other resources available on the NCC website include a study guide to the social, ethical and moral questions raised by human biotech issues based on the book Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age, by Bill McKibben.