Religious conservatives urge people to stop taking 'ALS Challenge' because it kills babies

Kevin McCullough of the American Family Association is urging his followers not to take "the ALS Challenge" because doing so will "kill" unborn children, the Southern Poverty Law Center reports.

The ALS Challenge is a viral movement that hopes to spread awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis -- also known as "Lou Gehrig's disease" -- by having individuals record video of themselves being doused with a bucket of ice cold water and posting it on social media. It has led to a dramatic increase in donations to the ALS Association -- from $1.9 million at this time last year to $31.5 million this year.

But as McCullough pointed out, this money will be used to fund embryonic stem cell research, which "means that children are created and at their earliest stages of life they are destroyed so that the stem cells (from usually the base of the brain) can be harvested to perform tests with."

According to the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, "all the human embryonic stem cell lines currently in use come from four to five day old embryos left over from in vitro fertilization. After a couple has completed their family, they must decide what to do with any remaining embryos. In some states, couples can also choose to donate the frozen embryos for research. These donated embryos are the source of human embryonic stem cell lines."

Still, McCullough insisted that "[t]here should be no forced taking of any innocent person's life just so that another may live longer. That is in essence philosophical cannibalism and moral persons should have no part in it."

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati agreed with that statement, noting that Pope John Paul II specifically forbid Catholics from donating to ALS related charities. In 2003, he said that "any treatment which claims to save human lives, yet is based upon the destruction of human life in its embryonic state, is logically and morally contradictory, as is any production of human embryos for the direct or indirect purpose of experimentation or eventual destruction."

[Screen capture of Bill Gates taking the ALS Challenge via YouTube]