I'll see where this goes. Should religion have any direct influence over secular politics? I say no, it shouldn't. Since to follow religion is an individual choice then it should be the right of an individual to submit to the dictates of their religion, where that individual has the intellectual maturity (for want of a better phrase) to understand exactly what it means. But the influence of a religion shouldn't be permitted to directly affect policy decisions in secular society. Should scientific research be influenced by religion? Again, I say no. Scientific research should be subject to secular politics but it shouldn't be influenced by religion. Nor should scientific research be influenced by politics which is in turn influenced by religion. In particular the discussion over the use of embryonic stem cells for research purposes. Religion should have no direct influence over policy decisions surrounding embryonic stem cells for research into possible therapeutic uses of such cells. Some reference points are probably in order: Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly . PERSPECTIVES . Religious Views on Stem Cell Research . July 27, 2001 | PBS Human embryos are not human beings, that's why they're called embryos and not "people". The various religions are entitled to construct their own morality and to have their followers adhere to that morality, but a religion should have no direct influence over secular policy decisions. The various religions are entitled to define "human life" as part of their theology but a religious definition of "human life" shouldn't be permitted to be used in any secular policy that affects scientific research. If research using embryonic stem cells can lead to better therapies for human beings then it should be permitted to be carried out and not be halted or influenced by a religion's dictates.