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A review of the Manhattan Declaration

This commentary is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect that of other authors at Box Turtle Bulletin.

Timothy Kincaid

November 20th, 2009

A group of conservative Christians released today their manifesto of their agreement across lines of faith and tradition. Entitled Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience, this document lays out areas in which the signatories declare commonality of purpose.

Who they are

First, let us say what this document is not. It is not, as the NY Times described it, a situation in which “Christian Leaders Unite on Political Issues“. Indeed, this is but a segment of Christian thought, claiming the mantle of Christian history and tradition but excluding broad segments of the faith.

One need only glance at the signatories to know the nature of the alliance. Present are some who are well known names in the political culture wars who have long striven to impose their religious views by force of law on the unbelievers: Dr. James Dobson, Chuck Colson, Gary Bauer, and Tony Perkins. Some are religious leaders who have been recently shifting their realm of influence away from faith towards secular domination: Ravi Zacharias, Dr. Albert Mohler, and Jonathan Falwell.

But this is not just broadly social conservatives. There is, instead, a concentration of those who focus on “opposing the homosexual agenda”. There are a few religious activists who seem dedicated and committed (obsessed, one might think) to fighting equality for gay people: Ken Hutcherson, Bishop Harry Jackson, and Jim Garlow. And then, inexplicably, some who are not religious leaders at all but social activists whose primary occupation is in seeking the political institutionalizing of inequality to gay people: Maggie Gallagher, Frank Schubert, and William Donohue.

Perhaps the most difficult to explain, and by far the most troubling name present, is The Most Rev. Peter J. Akinola, Primate, Anglican Church of Nigeria.

There is no explanation provided as to what relevance Akinola has on what is a uniquely American collection. But his participation is not accidental. And, as I will discuss momentarily, his is perhaps the key that explains the true nature of this manifesto.

This could be seen as nothing more that “the usual suspects”, a rehashing of the Moral Majority or the Christian Coalition or any other of the loose groupings of religious authoritarians, were it not for one import inclusion. There are nine Catholic Archbishops who signed on to this document.

Ideologically as dissimilar as possible, these two Christian extremes – one whose doctrine is based in tradition, liturgy, and hierarchy, the other whose doctrine is based in reform, spirit-led worship, and direct divine revelation – have set aside ancient hostilities and theological beliefs that doubt the other’s right to be considered “Christian” and have now joined in a common purpose: denying your rights.

But as important as who is present, is who is absent.

Among the signatories I was unable to find any members of the United Church of Christ, Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church (USA), Friends (Quaker), Disciples of Christ, Unitarian Universalists or American Baptists. There was one United Methodist minister.

In short, a whole branch of Christianity, Mainline Christianity, was missing, including many who no doubt would agree with the goals of banning abortion and forbidding same-sex marriage. This exclusion is, I believe, integral to understanding the true purpose of this manifesto.

The agreed upon issues

While this alliance is one that does not reflect the face of Christianity, it also is not a declaration of a new-found position of agreement based on shared Christian teaching and ideology. There is no mention of shared faith in creeds or teachings, no virgin birth, no resurrection, no divine redemption.

Rather, this is a statement of political purpose by an alliance of socially conservative activist who oppose abortion and marriage equality. Indeed, although the document speaks in lofty terms of Christian tradition and religious freedom, the only commitments it makes are to oppose legal abortion (some day down the road) and the immediate attack on the ability of gay people to avail themselves of civil equality.

This is, in short a political alliance. It is a pact and a threat.

What it means

While on the face of it, this manifesto purports to be a rededication to fight two specific political issues, I think that this is but surface dressing for a deeper meaning.

This is not a war over civil marriage definition – nor, indeed, has that ever been the real motivation behind anti-gay marriage drives. Rather, this is a war over religious domination, a fight over who is “really a Christian” and an effort on the part of a long-suffering religious subset to spite those who have long had what they coveted.

Political power in the United States had long been in the hands of what is now called Mainline Christianity. Our presidents have included over a dozen Episcopalians (as is the National Cathedral), about ten Presbyterians, with most of the rest being Methodists, Unitarians, Disciples of Christ, and Quakers.

There has been exactly one Catholic. There have been four Baptists, of whom the two Southern Baptists were Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. There have been no Pentecostals and no members of mega-Churches. In fact, though some Republican presidents have been religious and conservative, there has never been a President of the United States that was both denominationally and ideologically within the fold represented by the signatories of this Manhattan Declaration.

And now they want theirs. And, not content at the rise of their own political power, they will not be happy unless they can diminish those denominations whom they seek to replace.

Note the presence of the second signatory, Peter Akinola? He is the Nigerian Anglican who has been missionizing the United States in an effort to hurt the Episcopal Church. His inclusion is a very clear message sent to the EC that they are a target for the Catholic Church and the evangelical churches who will use whatever political power they may wield in the future to thwart her position in the nation.

This manifesto is, I believe, less a declaration of war on gay people and those with unplanned pregnancies than it is a declaration of war on other Christian faiths.

One absence that seems to confirm this alliance is a denomination that one might have expected to be quick to affirm its commitment to the right to life and protection of the family. But there are no representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons). The exclusion of this church, considered by most conservatives to be “NOT Christian”, suggest that this manifesto has less to do with social goals and more to do with Christian definition.

This manifesto says, in effect, “We are the Christians. We are the ‘heirs of a 2,000-year tradition of proclaiming God’s word’, and we alone will speak for the faith.”

What the manifesto reveals

In addition to highlighting the division in the Christian body, there are also some clues as to future items on the agenda of this newly affirmed political alliance. Here is how I translate some of their declarations.

we note with sadness that pro-abortion ideology prevails today in our governmenttruly Christian answer to problem pregnancies is for all of us to love and care for mother and child alike

Only lip service will be paid to the shared objection to abortion. Little time, money, or political capital will be spent on this already lost goal. However, should opportunity ever swing in their direction, they will stop at nothing short of a full ban on all abortions without any consideration of rape, quality of life, or the life of the mother.

But absent the abortion issue, these allies have but one other shared issue: attacking you and your life.

Around the globe … take steps necessary to halt the spread of preventable diseases like AIDS

The situations in Nigeria and Uganda are not accidental nor unrelated to the efforts of conservative Americans. Although virtually all of the spread of AIDS in Africa is related to heterosexuality, this will be an excuse to pass draconian laws seeking to repress, incarcerate, or execute gay men and women.

In addition to being a slam against the Episcopal Church, the inclusion of Akinola announces that pogroms against gay Africans will have the endorsement of both the Catholic Church and conservative evangelical churches.

We should not expect the calls for criminal prosecution of gay people to be limited to foreign soil. Should such a fervor be fostered internationally, it is unquestionable that this will lend support to efforts to reinstate or bolster oppression here.

It is no longer a matter of curiosity that the Catholic Church has not spoken out against the Kill Gays bill in Uganda. Nor had Dr. Mohler or Dr. Dobson. Nor, indeed, has any signatory of this document.

The impulse to redefine marriage in order to recognize same-sex and multiple partner relationships … there are those who are disposed towards homosexual and polyamorous conduct and relationships … Some who enter into same-sex and polyamorous relationships no doubt regard their unions as truly marital … the assumption that the legal status of one set of marriage relationships affects no other would not only argue for same sex partnerships; it could be asserted with equal validity for polyamorous partnerships, polygamous households, even adult brothers, sisters, or brothers and sisters living in incestuous relationships

The Manhattan document does not in any place refer to same-sex relationships without simultaneously mentioning multiple-party relationships. This will no doubt translate to a new commitment on the part of the signatories to try and tie the two together in their political campaigns.

Frankly, I wish them godspeed in that decision. Americans have, I believe, moved beyond the point in which gay couples are viewed as identical to polygamists.

as Christ was willing, out of love, to give Himself up for the church in a complete sacrifice, we are willing, lovingly, to make whatever sacrifices are required of us for the sake of the inestimable treasure that is marriage.

This probably tells us nothing but the extent to which these people are self-righteous and truly deeply smarmy. They are willing, lovingly, to sacrifice your life and freedom and equality, not their own. Oh how loving. Oh how Christ-like.

Because we honor justice and the common good, we will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family.

There are, as we all know, no requirements for any churches or ministers to act contrary to their faith. We have long since debunked their claims of oppression and shown them to be nothing more than a retraction of special privilege when the religious groups in question wanted to use taxpayer dollars to discriminate against gay taxpayers. There are no instances in their recitation in which religious groups were forced to compromise in any areas of faith in the administration of their own funds or time.

That is of no consequence. Liars lie. We expect the morally bankrupt to behave without integrity.

But what I think we can anticipate, based on their conclusion, is a concerted effort at political stuntery. A dedication to dishonesty. And an ongoing campaign of lies.

As a Christian, it distresses me to see the name of my faith and the mantle of its history usurped by those who have no respect for its greater principles but instead gleefully glom onto its darker bloody history. Rather than exalt in the liberties that have evolved from Christian thought, they seek to equate the faith with its most prejudicial, superstitious, exclusionary and dictatorial moments.

But perhaps something good may come of this.

It is possible that out of this declaration of war, the moderate and liberal branches of the faith may find common cause, if nothing else in defense of their own good name. Perhaps they will decide that they have a purpose and meaning in modern America and will let go of residual guilt and angst and take up the mantle of protector of the oppressed and champion of justice and mercy.

Let us hope and pray that they do.

Comments

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a. mcewen
November 20th, 2009 | LINK

Someone alerted me to Akinola and I’m working on a post about it. I’m going to give a link to this excellent piece that you have written.

johnathan
November 20th, 2009 | LINK

Some of the names of these people:
His Grace, The Right Reverend Bishop Basil Essey
The Right Reverend Bishop of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America (Wichita, Kan.)

“His Grace”? From one queen to another, bitch, please.

* * * * *

On a more important note, after reading this disgusting manifesto in its entirety:

I find it interesting the writers include a reference to John 10:10, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” yet focus solely on the issues of abortion, euthenasia, suicide, and assisted suicide. What about the death penalty? Does the issue of having life to the full not exist for criminals? Personally, I still am unsure where I stand on this issue, but for people who have a direct channel to God him/herself, must take “…have life, and have it to the full” to the extreme, as they do with _every other interpretation_ of biblical scripture.

johnathan
November 20th, 2009 | LINK

For those unsure as to my reference of “disgusting manifesto,” it is the actual Manhattan Manifesto, not the opinion written here. Thank you, once again for a lovely opinion piece, and if possible, I would like to attach a link to this as well from my blog.

Richard W. Fitch
November 20th, 2009 | LINK

It is only logical that Akinola should be a part of this. His successor as bishop of Nigeria has already been elected and will assume duties as Primate when Akinola retires in March 2010. That will give PA more time to meddle in the affairs of the EC-USA Province under the guise of tending to the dioceses whose bishops he created in direct disregard for the precepts of the World-Wide Anglican Communion. Rowan Williams, ostensibly the current head of the Anglican church, has made no clear cut effort to prevent the ill conceived machinations of PB and other third world primates. Hopefully, EC-USA will make its own stand, even if it precipitates an absolute schism, and hold to the principles of justice which it claims to espouse.

cowboy
November 20th, 2009 | LINK

…there are no representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons). The exclusion of this church, considered by most conservatives to be “NOT Christian”, suggest that this manifesto has less to do with social goals and more to do with Christian definition.

I agree.

I doubt there was even an invitation for Mormon President/Prophet Thomas S. Monson to add his signature.

But did the Catholic Bishops have tacit approval from the Vatican to sign this manifesto? Would the Pope sign such a document?

Bene D
November 20th, 2009 | LINK

There is another foreigner who signed this.

Dr. J.I. Packer, a British/Canadian theologian who left the Anglican Church to join the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone of America.

Would Regent College give tacit approval?

Chuck Colsen was very critical of Packer’s ecumenical views, which is one more reason to believe politics makes for strange bedfellows.

Thank you Timothy, this is IRD tactics, and it’s ugly stuff.

Lynn David
November 21st, 2009 | LINK

No one from Exodus?

I wonder if they’d be tolerant of a religion which did not hold to their strict construction of sexual morality and allow that to be written into law (as concerns marriage for instance).

John Doucette
November 21st, 2009 | LINK

Three comments actually:

One, how could Jesus give himself up for the Church when the Church came after his death?

Two: if these people are pro-life, how can they support the death penalty?

Three: the ICC (International Criminal Court) is planning a conference in Uganda next year. This item needs to be conveyed widely to let the ICC know that because of Uganda’s current effort to pass a draconian bill against gays (including the death penalty) the ICC should move its conference elsewhere. Otherwise, it will appear as support for Uganda’s planned policy toward genocide for a portion of its own population.

BCCanuck
November 21st, 2009 | LINK

Timothy Kincaid wrote:

“Rather, this is a war over religious domination, a fight over who is ‘really a Christian’ and an effort on the part of a long-suffering religious subset to spite those who have long had what they coveted.”

Exactly. Others have seen through the facade and come to the same conclusion:

http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/2009/11/culture-wars.html

As Adrian Worsfold writes:

“The funders of this right wing evangelical effort are clasping their hands with glee. They couldn’t give a toss about Anglicanism or any other body. What they want is the means to influence and this is one such means. But their money, the far political right assisting the tactics of the far theological right, and the outcome of pursuing anti-human activities and gaining silence from religious leaders, is exactly what they want. The loonies are running the asylum.”

Maurice Lacunza
November 21st, 2009 | LINK

That was an excellent article. Kincaid, you covered several good points which raises a few alarms. The manifesto Whacko (Manhattan Declaration) said,

“as Christ was willing, out of love, to give Himself up for the church in a complete sacrifice, we are willing, lovingly, to make whatever sacrifices are required of us for the sake of the inestimable treasure that is marriage.”

Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t Christ …actually sacrifice himself? Yes. Did he actually put up any resistance? NO. Did he call on his Father in Heaven to rescue him? NO.

If today’s militant Christians want to be Christ-like, wouldn’t they consider it a badge of honor to live THEIR OWN LIVES (work out your OWN salvation with fear and trembling) in accordance with their personal (not societal) beliefs? The ultimate sacrifice would be for a Christian to give up his LIFE before denying Christ. S/He would be willing go into the Colleseum and have their own head chopped off. Or perhaps be thrown in the lion’s den. Sacrifice would be to give up something you have- for the only benefit to help lift up someone else’s station in life. Parents are willing to trade their life for that of a child. Rescue workers sacrifice their well being for the sake of the rescued. Sacrifice involves a serious adjustment of the heart and mind for the greater good of family, society and in Christs case, the salvation of the entire human race.

Sacrifice is a big word. Christ gave himself up as a substitute for others. He suffered in the place of another. He was a stand in- a conciliatory offering of one for the many, i.e., a propitiation.

It is ill informed and foolish to compare the sacrifice of Christ, a man whom we believe to die in the place of all mankind, with the superficiality of cultural and current events. Christ came to break the power of sin, in the INDIVIDUALS who choose to embrace it. This isn’t a group offer; this is for individuals. Thus to impose this belief on all of a society misses the message of individual choice.

Jesus said the time has come to worship the father in SPIRIT and in truth. He did not come here for the sake of a SOCIAL CONTRACT in which we all live happily everafter.Christ did not come to set up a new world government with biblically approved morals and values.

Read this if you read nothing else:

He did not sacrifice his life for a family policy that exalts SEXUAL ORIENTATION above spiritual orientation. The fringe Christians are really fixated on physical world traits such as sexuality. Pity that they do not see it. Remember Jesus said we worship in spirit and truth. He said, the Law is passed away. If that is true, i.e., if we believe Jesus, then why do the Christian fringe insist on ancient laws and rules that are no longer valid? It seems hypocritical to me.

Kincaid, your article really put the fear of God in me. I realize that their are a lot more radical Christians than I was willing to acknowledge. Further, these people really do not understand the message of love. They are in love with the IDEA and POWER of Christ, but actually Christ himself. Do continue your coverage of this dark manifesto please.

I usually post my thoughts with the name Maajour. However this article requires me to stand tall on what I think and believe. Thus I am putting my real name, for accountability to myself and as a sacrifice for what I believe. I could face retaliation for my comments. That is the sacrifice I am willing to make to express my freedom to speak.

Sarah
November 21st, 2009 | LINK

Really great analysis. Thank you.

I take issue with the statement that this is a war over who is a real Christian. The difference between Evangelical Christians and Progressive Christians is that Progressives are truly ecumenical and catholic (small c) in recognizing everyone’s place at the table, welcoming all Christians no matter what their church. They desire to heal the church community and find common ground with all loving Christians. The real difference is love. The authors of the Manhattan Declaration are motivated in their politics by hatred and fear, not love. Ecumenical Christians are motivated by love, and have no desire to exclude anyone, Christian and non-Christians alike.

marilynmansonhalloween » Blog Archive » Manhattan Declaration Box Turtle
November 21st, 2009 | LINK

[…] Box Turtle Bulletin » A review of the Manhattan Declaration […]

John
November 21st, 2009 | LINK

Instead of referring to this Manifesto as the “Manhattan Manifesto,” we should call it the “Akinola Manifesto” to highlight this foreign-led interference in American political affairs. Most Americans don’t like being manipulated by foreign actors.

Besides, this Manifesto was released in Washington, DC, not Manhattan, NY.

Must read: Box Turtle on Christian’s new manifesto – ‘a war over religious domination’
November 21st, 2009 | LINK

[…] the superb blog Box Turtle Bulletin, Timothy Kincaid offers an in-depth analysis and explanation of the document, which he calls “a statement of political purpose by an alliance of socially […]

Emily K
November 22nd, 2009 | LINK

In response to Tim’s list of presidential affiliations, I was under the impression that W. Bush was a born-again evangelical Christian. He certainly talked like one and had enough of them around the White House.

Phillip Weyers
November 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Surely even those we do not agree with ,has the right of freedom of association ?
These Christians may exclude or include from their personal religion/faith/group
whom so ever they may choose !!!
But what they believe does not become the law of the land or my laws ??
Or does my gayness deny them a right ??
how ?

Christopher™
November 23rd, 2009 | LINK

In addition to mainline Christians, it’s also notable to recognize other known evangelical figures who did *not* attach themselves to this document:

Rick Warren
Joel Osteen
Joyce Meyer
Franklin Graham
Chuck Smith, Sr.

Although none of the above names are exactly pro-gay, they have in the past attached their names to various “protect marriage” organizations, but they are noticeably absent here. Were they simply not asked? Or are they not interested in going down this path?

I will say that I find it very surprising that Pat Robertson is not on the list of signatories. I can’t imagine he wasn’t asked.

Ephilei
November 23rd, 2009 | LINK

So? Christians are very good at putting thoughts in writing and so good at putting the same thoughts into action. My personality tendency is to get upset at the slightest move by people who disagree with me, but this document doesn’t bother me. I don’t think it means a darned thing.

Regan DuCasse
November 23rd, 2009 | LINK

I’m pretty far removed from the last time I attended Bible study or did anything Christian affirming.
However, the most avowed people of faith, engaging in anti gay politics in particular ignore or violate altogether the most fundamental directive that Christ ever gave regarding temporal life.

To love others as you’d be loved.

There are variations of this throughout many cultures.
And even as I bring up WHY it’s the most important and what results from it, even that ideological and philosophical aspect isn’t discussed. I get ridiculed for bringing it up.
Even if I say that such a directive ensures empathy and empathy does the same for the most ethical of decisions and actions.
Yet, rather than say there is agreement there, the statement is ignored. Even to do so gives weight to just how little sacrifice these folks are willing to make. They won’t even sacrifice thoughts, traditions ideas that are not so time HONORED as they claim.
One shouldn’t have to go into major details of the Bible, one shouldn’t have to reach SO far back into human history as the Bible’s only reference to discuss a contentious issue that’s still so relevant, but the group of people hasn’t really changed throughout human history. Gay people are gay people, no matter where or when…but the game has certainly changed for faith communities which have evolved, reformed, altered and lost or gained power and influence over time. At least there is security in knowing that there is a kind of predictability with regards to gay folks, and visibility and exchange of experience too, I would have expected would foment honesty, truth and progress.

We have the last one hundred years to inform us just who has been on the receiving end of Bible or faith based injustice, bigotry and abuse.

We have our own eyes and ears, any one of us old enough to remember the segregationists and THEIR rationalization for their actions, with their Bibles firmly in hand at state houses.

I see NO CAUTION in pressing such political agendas, even based on such history few can dispute, as can be done with the Bible.

And why such INTENSE focus on homosexuals and homosexuality? Abortion and polygamy are merely RIDERS, these are smoke and mirrors that hide just how much energy, money and special attention that gay people engender for them.
Their budget for anti gay policies has exceeded that of their own charities or educational facilities.
Gay people shouldn’t have to put so much spending into defending themselves, yet these self same ‘culture defenders’ have pointed fingers at gay people for doing so.

So, I look at all this concentration of blame, distrust, calumny and violence against gay people and wonder:
why GAY people?

Why ALWAYS are gay people mixed into every aspect of human failure, and credited not with any success or contribution?
Why no acknowledgment that gay people are not excluded from the consequences of any social failures?

I couldn’t engage them in ANYTHING or admit where gay AND straight agree on certain things civilized and wholesome cultures respect.
All the while the indictment that gay people DON’T agree or won’t, kept getting repeated.

So, literally there is nothing that can be impressed on people committed more to bullshit, than living in cooperative peace.
And it’s more unfortunate that they do this at the exclusion of common sense and common goals.
They see no common goals and respect coming from gay folks.
And I have to wonder how that’s possible, when they see it’s possible from all manner of OTHER people, even non believers in this country…as long as they aren’t gay.

I sent Jim and Tim the essay that Maggie Gallagher wrote on NOM’s website defending the Manhattan Declaration.

I have defended the fundamental directives of Christ, more than Maggie has. She’s more afraid of actually HAVING to think about the moral consequences of actually doing so.
Because if she and her co horts WERE as committed to such a commandment, then that would humanize gay people more than they are comfortable with, and what they want the public comfortable with.

That would mean actually committing to the mission statement of this country and protecting and supporting equality, another variation of that directive.
Much easier to conjecture what gay people will do, rather than actually let equal treatment under the law create empirical evidence of how wrong they all are.
It’s already happening where equality has manifested. And they are digging in and calling it something else.

Most people don’t fear god, God is intangible, but fearing gay people is easy and it works to the advantage of the Declaration.

I ironically, I found a beautiful holy card in a church that was the set for a film I worked in.
It depicts Christ, as a Latino peasant, wearing a cloth that is striped like a serape. He’s dark skinned, with long hair, no beard and with a gold nimbus around his head. He could also be Native American.
It’s a wonderful image. It reminds me that Christ could be any color, man or woman, gay or straight, anyone of us.

And I’m offended to my core, that these people have remade God and Christ into the image of stone face lying bigots. Hijacked the message of equal justice and equal treatment and protection to be defined as ‘just us’
as if they invented God, so therefore own whatever ‘he’ has created, including gay people and their image.

I will challenge each one of these people on the commitment to that profound directive each time and check them for trying to welch out of it.
If they want to own all of this, they have to own the consequences of fu*king up too.
As far as I’m concerned, gay folks got here first, not the religion in whatever way they can and do choose to interpret it. They can only go so far in ENFORCING it or having that done FOR them. So the gay folks stay…and these phonies can go!
Thanks for letting me vent.

Charles
November 23rd, 2009 | LINK

I agree with this writer that the Gay community does not require clergy to perform gay weddings. That is not the main concern of the Manhattan Declaration however. What about the photographer (like the one in New Mexico), florist, DJ or caterer who refuses to provide services for a gay wedding? The marriage counselor in California who lost his job because he refused to counsel a gay couple? The doctor in California who refused to perform artifical insemination for a lesbian couple? (The California Supreme Court ruled that religion does not trump medical practice). The store manager in Massachusetts who after being told 4 times by a fellow employee of her upcoming lesbian wedding, tells her that he does not agree, and loses his job? Catholic charities in Massachusetts shutting down instead of being forced to place children for adoptoin with gay couples. I signed the online Declaration because we as Christians are tired of being told the drop our beliefs in God in favor of a morally corrupt lifestyle. (My own brother was gay, but that did not change my view of the gay community). City laws are subject to State laws. State laws are subject to Federal laws, and man’s laws are subject to God’s laws. No law passed by men will make me ignore my Creator or His laws. It is that simple.

Jason D
November 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Charles, did you actually research any of those cases?

“The store manager in Massachusetts who after being told 4 times by a fellow employee of her upcoming lesbian wedding, tells her that he does not agree, and loses his job?”

This is factually innaccurate. he didn’t say he didn’t agree, he called her a deviant and immoral. He was fired for being hostile and disrespectful to another employee. As managment, he should’ve known better.

“Catholic charities in Massachusetts shutting down instead of being forced to place children for adoptoin with gay couples.”

Also factually inaccurate. Catholic charities had ALREADY been placing children with gay couples. The board of directors didn’t have a problem with it. The Archbishop, however, did. The board quit in protest, and Catholic charities closed of it’s own free will.
Are you aware that there is a Mormon adoption agency in Massachusetts? Are you aware of the FACT that they DO NOT place children with gay couples and it’s perfectly legal? Wanna know why? Because they’re not accepting public money. Catholic charities was using public money, and instead of giving up public money or CONTINUING to place children with gay couples, they decided to take their toys and go home.

Now, I’ve already caught you TWICE spreading misinformation. You’ll find that won’t wash on this website. See, we’re watching the same issues, only we don’t have someone like FOX news or World Net Daily filtering out facts.

John
November 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Charles,

You say your brother “was” gay. Is he dead?

Ben in Oakland
November 24th, 2009 | LINK

Charles: to continue on that line that Jason started.

The catholic social services violated state law concerning contracts, child welfare, and non-discrimination on the basis of religious belief.And if you want to talk aobut a morally corrupt lifestyle, let’s talk about the catholic Chgurch and its willingness to protect and defend some thousands of priests who were diddling children. Or the pope sitting in Castel Gandolfo, wearing his prada loafers, enjoying his art collection and eating with a golden fork while children in the Phillipines are being sold into sexual slavery by their catholic parents to avoid starvation becuase they don’t have a golden fork. My morally corrupt gay brother supported one such child for many years just to prevent that happening.

The wedding photographer in New Mexico violated a law that said that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is illegal. The same law that protects blacks, whites, and even Christians. Just because it is your religious belief and it is about gay people, doesn’t make it right. As a wedding photographer myself, I can tell you there are plenty of people whose weddings I do not want to shoot, I would be very foolish to tell them why. you just say you’re booked. Not that i would do so for illegal reasons– I would even shoot a mormon wedding– but because I flat out don’t like them, or think they will be trouble, or difficult.

As for man’s laws subject to god’s laws. Maybe in Iran, not this country. And thank God for that, he said ironically.

As a Jew, I totally reject the christian story. But i suspect that wouldn’t bother you in the slightest.
But let me say I’m gay and reject this tiny part of conservative Christian theology, and ask to be treated like all the other people you believe are going to be sent to hell to burn forever, then you get on your religious high horse.

I suggest you read this: http://www.exgaywatch.com/wp/2009/11/xgw-digest-november-7-2009/#comments

then we can talk about moral corruption.

Cleveland Evans
November 24th, 2009 | LINK

Thank you, but I must make a sad correction. There seem to actually be three members of the Presbyterian Church (USA) among the signers of this document: Carmen Fowler, John A. Huffman Jr., and Parker T. Williamson. They are certainly on the “far right” of the PCUSA denomination theologically, but as far as I know they are all still members in good standing of my denomination.

Timothy Kincaid
November 24th, 2009 | LINK

Charles,

The problem with arguing from anecdote is that you must report the anecdotes accurately.

What about the photographer (like the one in New Mexico)… who refuses to provide services for a gay wedding?

New Mexico does not have marriage equality. It does not even have civil unions. So to say that marriage equality leads to this situation is, frankly, extremely illogical and suggests that the claimant is either dishonest or, ummm, intellectually challenged.

The marriage counselor in California who lost his job because he refused to counsel a gay couple?

I don’t recall this, and I live in California. Do you have a source reference?

The doctor in California who refused to perform artifical insemination for a lesbian couple? (The California Supreme Court ruled that religion does not trump medical practice).

What does this have to do with marriage?

The store manager in Massachusetts who after being told 4 times by a fellow employee of her upcoming lesbian wedding, tells her that he does not agree, and loses his job?

Employers have no obligation to keep employees that tell others that they “don’t agree” with their mixed race marriage (ie “it’s perversion”) or with mixed faith marriage or any other attack on the marriage of another employee. Being “a Christian” does not give one the right to be an abusive ass.

Catholic charities in Massachusetts shutting down instead of being forced to place children for adoptoin with gay couples.

Nope. They quit offering adoption placement when they found out that the state would not fund them unless they were open to all taxpayers, not just the ones they like.

As stated above, the Mormons still do exclusionary adoption. They just don’t expect the taxpayers to fund it.

I signed the online Declaration because we as Christians are tired of being told the drop our beliefs in God in favor of a morally corrupt lifestyle.

That’s not true. You signed because you dislike “the homosexual lifestyle” and want to impose your religious views on those who don’t follow them voluntarily.

(My own brother was gay, but that did not change my view of the gay community)

Clearly not. And it is based on your “view” that you come here with hostility and a litany of grievances. You think your little list of six or so instances in which the facts can be distorted to show you as a victim gives you the right to harm gay people and their lives.

It doesn’t. And you know it. You are just looking for excuses to justify the hatred you have in your heart.

But rather than seek excuses for the evil lurking within, I suggest you repent and ask God to fill you with love. And then you need to repent to the gay community and seek to reverse the damage that you have done to God’s children in his name.

Timothy Kincaid
November 24th, 2009 | LINK

Cleveland,

Thanks for the correction. I was uncertain that the members of the Presbyterian Lay Committee were within the PCUSA. But a closer look reveals that they are.

I find it interesting that they identified as such, making it clear that their alliances are outside the PCUSA and with those who seek to impose strict theology on their brothers by force of law.

manaen
December 2nd, 2009 | LINK

RE:
John Doucette, November 21st, 2009
“…how could Jesus give himself up for the Church when the Church came after his death?”
.
——————–
.
As Latter-day Saint, I was surprised by this question because (a) Christ established the Church anciently and (b) He restored it and He is our head now, speaking through prophets and apostles He has called again in our time.
.
KJV – Ephesians 4:
10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
11 And *he* gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
.
See mormon.org for more info.

richard Sherlock
December 3rd, 2009 | LINK

Note to those like Timothy commentators. The “Churches” you cite who have no signers are memebers of the nation council of bankrupt churches.
They are fast becoming more more familiar with Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code that they ever were with Chapter 11 of Luke or Romans. Those of us who signed proudly as LDS did so because we know the Declaration is as true as 2+2=4. I am proud to call people like Chuck Colson and Robert George allies. The case against gay marriage is not per se a religious case and neither is the case against abortion. The case is made by religious people but so is the case against capital punishment, war, slavery and african american civil rights. It was Reverend Martin Luther King not lawyer King or Professor King at the on-line Journal Square Two(Square Two.org) with peer reviewed articles I and others have made rich arguments about gay marriage and I am in print a lot on other such issues, e.g. abortion. Quit just venting Make an argument. So much of what I have seen just above is playing loose with the facts or worse and displays no talent for making a rigorous argument reason and empirical. If this is the best you can do those of on my side have nothing to worry about

Timothy Kincaid
December 4th, 2009 | LINK

richard Sherlock,

That’s fascinating, Richard.

I did find an article in the Wall Street Journal (not part of the “liberal media”) about bankrupt churches. The example they site is St. Andrew Anglican Church in Easton, MD. Ironically, St. Andrews is not part of the Episcopal Church but is instead part of the anti-gay breakaway Anglicans (who are signers of the document).

The rector of St. Andrew, Bishop Johnson, attracted like-minded conservatives who disliked Episcopal innovations, such as ordaining female priests.

In fact, their one claim to fame is that they invited Bishop Akinola in 2007. Their church was on the block and they were in Chapter 11 by the end of 2008.

I guess they were not good stewards of the Lord’s talents. That, or homophobia isn’t a booming business in Maryland.

The WSJ also mentioned that evangelical churches which are not affiliated with denominations were hit hard. But there just was no mention of any of the churches that I noted above.

So I guess it is you, Richard, that is “playing loose with the facts or worse”.

Priya Lynn
December 4th, 2009 | LINK

Richard said “The case against gay marriage is not per se a religious case”.

I agree – its primarily a case of bigotry. Religion is merely the excuse most people like you use to “justify” this bigotry.

Riohard said “If this is the best you can do those of on my side have nothing to worry about”.

You have nothing to worry about in any event. Equal marriage for same sex couples will become the law of the land and people like you will continue to spout your anti-gay hatred and perform your various religious acts just as you always have in the past – no problem.

Priya Lynn
December 4th, 2009 | LINK

Richard said “The case is made by religious people but so is the case against capital punishment, war, slavery and african american civil rights.”.

The case for capital punishment, war, slavery, and against black civil rights was also made by religious people. As is the case with those issues, once gays attain equal rights people like you will falsely claim that it was solely due to the desire of religious people to do the right thing.

Gary
December 14th, 2009 | LINK

All I can say is shame on all of you, particularly you Tim. You defend your position or the position of others and yet in voicing your opinion/position it seems that you are attempting to force your views just as those you criticize. I certainly wouldn’t sign the Manifesto in question either.

Is everyone that goes to church a Christian or a believer in God? NO! No more than standing in a garage makes you a car. Who knows the mind of God? Are you His personal spokesman on earth? It seems to me that you are saying what itching ears want to hear, instead of the truth. I’m not into the politics of religion as you seem to be. I’m about God…you? The problem with many of today’s religious/secular leaders is they are more flawed than those they are trying to lead.

Love of course is the Way, but unity built upon obedience is critical – tempered with faith.

There are believers from across the spectrum that are doing the will of the Father that will experience eternal life. Jesus is our Lord and our God – we are to walk in his footsteps. We are to be imitators of God! His are able to hear His voice.

Tim, instead of stirring up dissention, would it not be much more powerful to pray for those that are deceived and prompt others to do the same?

All that you said above which I believe to be insightful, but inflammatory and flawed could have been simply stated – Manifestos are dangerous and should be avoided.

One last comment: using your logic then, the adulterous woman we read about in the Bible, would not be told “go and sin no more”, rather it’s ok we don’t want to offend.

Consider:

First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 2 Peter 3:3

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 2 Timothy 4:3

Timothy Kincaid
December 14th, 2009 | LINK

Gary,

Yes. I believe that many of the signers of the Manhattan Declaration have rejected sound doctrine.

When mainstream churches talk about God’s direction in their congregation, how they see the Spirit moving towards inclusion, towards loving and caring, towards joy in Christ, they scoff. They dismiss the Holy Spirit’s power to draw and deny God’s divine direction.

Rather, they hold only to old dry teachings, musty misunderstanding, and rigid interpretations. And anyone who disagrees isn’t a “real Christian”, like they are. No, God can’t be sharing His joy with those kind of people. So they scoff.

They see the world and fear it. Change is too sudden, the world is complex, and they are no longer safe in their tiny town with tiny conventions and where no one lives outside their rules and expectations.

So they strike out in fear. Scared that gay people – or, really, anyone unlike themselves – are threatening, they demand inequality. They insist on discrimination. They cry out for bigotry.

Yet they know it is wrong. The Holy Spirit moves towards love, not mistreatment. Christ calls us to treat our neighbor as ourselves, not as an evil to be destroyed.

And this leaves them in confusion. Do they reject their animus and biases and embrace God’s exuberant welcome? Or do they reject God and embrace anti-gay activism?

And so they turn to preachers willing to tell them what they want to hear. Their itching ears seek excuses for their inhumanity to others. The promote those who say, “love the sinner” but call for harsh treatment. They cling to every word of those who tell them that when Christ called them to care for others He surely didn’t mean to include those who are Enemies Of Christ (a title given to gay people).

They seek out and listen to those who tell them that love is hate, that welcome is rejection, that the kingdom of God is elected men, that freedom is rigidity. And if anyone suggests otherwise, they scoff. They have found what their itching ears want to hear.

Joann Prinzivalli
January 9th, 2010 | LINK

I have drafted a Christian response to the Manhattan Declaration, which I uploaded to my blog at http://www.trans-cendence.blogspot.com

I am disappointed that so many have been duped by the insidious yet seductive writing of Princeton professor Robert P. George, who, among other things, is the board chair of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), a group whose objective is to deny legal recognition of civil rights to minority groups.

The entire structure of the Manhattan Declaration fails. It is not Christian but is Christianist. It ignores the beautiful scripture-based doctrine that we are ensouled at birth when we take our first breath, the doctrine on which the symbolism of the Sacrament of Baptism is based. It completely ignores the culture of death represented by capital punishment and war, while elevating the status of the blueprint and the foundation to the status of the competed and inhabited house.

It ignores the messages of 1 Samuel 18, Isaiah 56, Matthew 19:12, and Acts 8.

It ignores the religious freedom of anyone other than those whose beliefs coincide with those of the author, or are fully compatible in the areas addressed by the document. While it acknowledges the sincerity of those who disagree, it is clear that we disagree at our peril, since the author makes it clear that the persecution will continue.

A Manhattan Declaration Reunion in Rome: Conservative Catholic-Protestant Alliance Strengthens | Political Research Associates
November 26th, 2014 | LINK

[…] When the Manhattan Declaration was first published in 2009, many social justice advocates especially expressed concern about the inclusion of a call for civil disobedience. Timothy Kincaid, writing for the Box Turtle Bulletin, noted: […]

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