TORONTO, June 1, 2007 ( – Speaking at a press conference at the MaRS Discovery District research centre in Toronto yesterday, actor-turned California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger defended his support for embryonic stem cell research seen as controversial in light of his self-professed Catholic faith. 

“I always said that you should not have your religion interfere with government policies or with the policies of the people,” said Schwarzenegger.  “I am a Catholic and a very dedicated Catholic, but that does not interfere with my decision-making because I know that stem-cell research, the way we are doing it in California … is the right way to go and will save, very quickly down the line, lives and cure a lot of these illnesses,” he said as quoted by the Toronto Star.

  At the same event, Premier Dalton McGuinty, another politician who, while referring to himself as a Catholic, supports abortion and backed the California Governor’s stance. “I would argue … there’s one moral imperative that transcends all faiths, all culture and all traditions, it would be this fundamental desire to relieve pain and suffering and death where we find it,” he said.

  The supposedly “devout Catholic” Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger backed a $3 billion dollar public funding of embryonic stem cell research in his state. Last year the governor loaned up to $150 million state tax dollars towards embryonic stem cell research.

  Lawsuits challenging public funding of the controversial research were filed by the California Family Bioethics Council, connected with Focus on the Family, as well as The National Association for the Advancement of Preborn Children (NAAPC). On Wednesday, after the court rejected final objections to the distribution of funds, the Governor commented that this “reaffirms voters’ will to keep California on the forefront of embryonic stem cell research. … Potentially life-saving science can continue without a shadow of a legal doubt.”

  Now that the lawsuits have been settled, as much as $300 million worth of funds may be released towards research by the end of the year. The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine will distribute the funds according to government Proposition 71, the “Embryo Cloning and Stem-Cell Research Bond Act”. (See coverage

  Unlike adult stem cells, embryonic stem cell research has proved to have fruitless medical results. Terry Thompson, attorney for People’s Advocate and the National Tax Limitation Foundation, told The San Francisco Chronicler, “This establishes a precedent for well-meaning but misdirected rich people to invade the public treasury for projects of their own and parlay a few million dollars (of campaign expenses) into a few billion dollars of wasted taxpayer money.”

  Todd Tambery, Spokesman for the archdiocese of Los Angeles, Schwarzenegger’s home diocese, told that Archbishop Roger Mahony has not indicated Schwarzenegger should be denied Holy Communion.  According to Tambery, Cardinal Mahoney has however spoken out against embryonic stem cell research.

  To Respectfully Voice Concerns:

  The Los Angeles Diocese
  3424 Wilshire Blvd.
  Los Angeles, CA 90010-2202
  213 637 7000
  Email: [email protected]

  Governor Arnold Swcharzenegger’s Office
  State Capitol Building
  Sacramento, CA 95814
  Phone: 916-445-2841
  Fax: 916-445-4633

  Related Coverage:

  Embryo Rights Case Filed Against California Embryonic Stem Cell Initiative

  Schwarzenegger Supports Massive Grant for Stem Cell Research