For Immediate Release
July 31, 2017
Beth Harrison, Hamilton Strategies, 610.584.1096, ext. 104, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com or Deborah Hamilton, 215.815.7716, 610.584.1096, ext. 102
A High-Tech Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Wisconsin Tech Company Plans to Microchip Employees
Southern Evangelical Seminary Addresses Issues of Ethics and Technology at Event This Saturday and at Annual Apologetics Conference This Fall; Early Bird Deadline for Conference Ends Tomorrow
CHARLOTTE, N.C.—A Wisconsin tech company is about to make paying for lunch a whole lot easier.
But the announcement by Three Square Market, which says it is about to become the first business in the U.S. to offer microchip implants to its employees, brings up serious questions about the interaction between technology and ethics.
Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES, www.ses.edu), which frequently delves into issues of ethics and technology in both its coursework and at events, is considering this headline, how it relates to the culture and how Christians should respond.
“This issue presents the looming question of who and what is a human being,” said SES President and Evangelical leader Dr. Richard Land. “When you start implanting technology inside a human person, you’ve crossed the human-machine divide in ways that have enormous moral and ethical implications. On a moral and ethical level, the person who consents to this—and it must always be consensual, otherwise it would be a moral invasion of the personhood of the individual—is allowing the invasion of the sanctity of the human body in ways that go far beyond, for example, a pacemaker or joint replacement. Technologies like these microchips implanted in your body, which allow you to interact with other technologies outside your body, are very different than medical devices that allow you to function in normal ways, such as joint replacements or pacemakers.”
The tech company, reports Fox News, says that beginning tomorrow employees will be able to choose to have a microchip implanted underneath the skin between the thumb and forefinger, which will then allow them to pay for food and drinks in the company’s break room, open security doors and log in to their computers—without any special cards or passwords.
The Three Square Market CEO said in a statement that the “technology will become standardized allowing you to use this as your passport, public transit, all purchasing opportunities, etc.,” according to Fox News. The company CEO did stress that the program is optional for those who wish to opt out and said more than 50 are expected to take part in the new program this week.
Land equated microchips like these, and the potential privacy issues that ensue, with having a pacemaker that would report a person’s heart condition on an ongoing basis to a third party, such as a doctor or hospital, or even more alarmingly, an insurance company, without consent.
“Without each individual’s express consent, such an invasion of privacy is unconstitutional and immoral,” Land added. “It would be unlawful search and seizure and the equivalent of being required to testify against yourself in a court of law. Clearly, this is the harbinger of the far more invasive questions presented by emerging technologies concerning the human-machine divide that will arise in the near future. Once the body snatchers have crossed the human-machine divide, it’s merely baby steps to actually requiring microchips such as these.”
Land will speak on ethical questions such as these, in an address titled, “Who and What Is a Human Being: The Bible’s Answer,” at two upcoming SES events. First, Land will address this subject at a day-long seminar this weekend. This event, “God, Sex & Gender,” will present the philosophical, biblical and pragmatic reasons for maintaining conservative and scriptural views of human sexuality, with the goal of equipping Christians to defend their faith in successful and compelling ways on these issues.
The day will start with an SES open house and conclude with a tag-team debate regarding a proper understanding of love. The “God, Sex & Gender” event is set for Saturday, Aug. 5 on the SES campus, 3000 Tilley Morris Road, Matthews, N.C.
The afternoon will feature speakers such as SES Academic Dean Dr. J. Thomas Bridges, SES alumna Nora Hale, SES adjunct professor and national radio host Dr. Michael Brown and SES adjunct professor, alumnus, author and radio and television host Dr. Frank Turek.
The “God, Sex & Gender” debate “Must Love & Tolerance Equal Affirmation?” is set for 5:15-6:45 p.m., when Brown and Turek will dialog with the Rev. April Johnson, Minister of Spiritual Formation at Wedgewood Church, and Rev. Ladale Benson, PRN Chaplain at Carolina Healthcare Systems, regarding the nature of love. To register for “God, Sex & Gender” or for more information, click here.
Prior to the start of “God, Sex & Gender,” SES will host a free Summer Open House from 9:30 a.m. to noon Aug. 5. Attendees can learn more about the many ways SES helps equip Christians to proclaim and defend the Gospel. Open house attendees will also receive free admission to “God, Sex & Gender.” Register for the open house here.
Then, Land will also give his address, “Who and What Is a Human Being,” at SES’s 24th annual National Conference on Christian Apologetics this fall. One of the largest events of its kind, the two-day conference will welcome the nation’s top apologists, scholars and thinkers, who will delve into headline-making topics on Oct. 13-14 at Calvary Church in Charlotte, N.C. Also at the conference, the American Family Association (AFA) will debut its new documentary film, “The God Who Speaks.”
“Residents of the Charlotte and surrounding areas may not realize that one of the premier apologetics conferences is practically in their back yard,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “Southern Evangelical Seminary’s National Conference on Christian Apologetics will offer the timely theme of ‘Pursuing a Faith That Thinks.’ Attendees are sure to come away with a much better understanding of how to give a reasonable defense of the Christian faith. We’re honored that this excellent conference will also be the site of the debut of American Family Studios’ new documentary, ‘The God Who Speaks.’ The conference is a must-attend event for Christians who want their faith to shine bright in a dark world.”
AFA describes “The God Who Speaks” as a powerful feature-length documentary that explores the evidence of the Bible’s inspiration and authority through some of the most highly respected voices within evangelicalism. The film answers some common objections and observes the effects of denying biblical authority, as well as intends to reveal the trustworthiness of the Bible’s claims. A tool to use for decades to come, “The God Who Speaks” will help many of today’s biblically illiterate Christians defend their faith in a culture that is often hostile to Christianity.
Register for the National Conference on Christian Apologetics here. The early bird deadline ends tomorrow, Aug. 1, at midnight.
For information on SES or to set up an interview, contact Beth Harrison, 610-584-1096, ext. 104, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com or Deborah Hamilton, 215.815.7716, 610.584.1096, ext. 102.