Can a Christian Legitimately Be Anti-GMO?
Shortly before his crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus gave his disciples a lesson in true social justice. Putting the impetus on the individual to take responsibility for the care of the less fortunate, hurting, and oppressed in society, Matthew 25 records how Jesus equated care for the less fortunate with care for himself. Referencing feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and comforting the oppressed, he explained, "Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me."
No actual Christian debates that our King has called us to demonstrate his love through acts of mercy to the least fortunate. Where it becomes tricky is defining the how, where, and even, at times, who is legitimately defined as the least fortunate. One thing that many agree on is that those who are starving to death in Third World countries fall under Jesus' category of the "least of these." How to enact appropriate acts of mercy is where it can become tricky. In the discussions, however, it would seem that a technology that allows mass quantities of food to be grown even in previously hostile environments would be welcomed by all sides. Sadly, and shamefully, due to the politicization of the issue by liberals, many professing Christians have swallowed the lie that GMOs are harmful.
The science behind GMOs (genetically modified organisms) is complicated and dense. Because of that, those who are anti-GMO are able to hide behind scary sounding platitudes and self-righteous fear-mongering. Except, once you delve into the actual science, it doesn't take long to reveal that GMOs are a safe and sustainable food source for billions of people who would starve to death otherwise. In fact, "Every major scientific body and regulatory agency in the world has reviewed the research about GMOs and openly declared crop biotechnology and the foods currently available for sale to be safe."
With the overwhelming evidence demonstrating the safety and viability of GMO crops, one would think that Christians, of all people, would wholeheartedly embrace this technology that has saved billions of people from starving to death. However, according to a poll from the Pew Research Center, the majority of Christians believe that GMOs are unsafe. The thing is, I don't believe that many of those Christians really understand the toll on human lives and welfare that their misguided position takes. One such toll is found in the tragic story of Golden Rice.
The fact that every year a quarter of a million children suffer from blindness and many die due to a vitamin A deficiency should cause all of us to weep and pray for a solution. Weep, yes, but praying for a solution is redundant at this point because a solution has already been discovered. A few decades ago, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology scientist Ingo Potrykus led a group of scientists in the quest to develop a rice that contained beta-carotene. And you know what? Potrykus and his team succeeded. It was estimated that the new Golden Rice developed by Potrykus and his team would save up to forty-thousand lives a day. Praise God! right? Well, not so fast.