Southern Religion

‘Dangerous’ Declaration, says the LA Times

It is a dangerous declaration full of fake facts and supported by a worthless petition. The Manhattan Declaration is irresponsible, argues the Los Angeles Times:

This apocalyptic argument for lawbreaking is disingenuous, but it is also dangerous. Did the Roman Catholic bishops who signed the manifesto consider how their endorsement of lawbreaking in a higher cause might embolden the antiabortion terrorists they claim to condemn? Did they stop to think that, by reserving the right to resist laws they don’t like, they forfeit the authority to intervene in the enactment of those laws, as they have done in the congressional debate over healthcare reform? They need to be reminded that this is a nation of laws, not of men — even holy men.

Read the entire piece here.


November 29, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Religion | , , , , , | 2 Comments

The much-signed (?) Manhattan Declaration

Just a week after the Manhattan Declaration was unveiled it has some large number of unverified signatures, Lillian Kwon of the Christian Post reports.

Without mentioning signature verification.

If the petition gatherer cannot somehow verify that there is one, unique, real human being standing behind each signature (and not the same human being behind several signatures), such petitions are meaningless.

The Manhattan Declaration‘s signature-collection process filters for robots.

But apparently does no other identity verification. Not even a verification email to the address you give them.

Just bumps the counter.

Which means people can sign several times under bogus names, and that a suitably unethical person can sign for you.


November 28, 2009 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , | Comments Off on The much-signed (?) Manhattan Declaration

Manhattan Misdeclaration

Robert Parham of blisters the Manhattan Declaration signers for misrepresentation and misappropriation of historic themes:

Talk about historical revisionism and theological misdirection. Many of these signatories are the spiritual heirs of the Christian slaveholders. They come from the faith tradition that opposed the civil rights movement, abandoned public schools for private Christian schools, demonized government funding for the poor and disadvantaged. Their theological soul-mates are the ones who said AIDS was a gay disease and refused to address the issue for 20 years. As for the rights and equality of women, for heaven’s sake, the Southern Baptist signatories believe women should be homemakers, helpmates to their husbands who are the breadwinners. Southern Baptist fundamentalists believe women are unworthy of ordination.

November 24, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Religion, SBC | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Christian Right call for civil disobedience [Update]

The Manhattan Declaration

Some 150 Christian leaders, mostly Religious Right protestants and conservative Roman Catholics, issued today a 4,700-word restatement of their opposition to abortion and gay marriage and support for religious freedoms and call for civil disobedience. They call their statement the Manhattan Declaration.

The group concludes with a reference to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and calling for civil disobedience in response to their causes:

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. We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God’s.

Just as this morning’s sunrise is unique to today, it is an “unprecedented coalition,” as the Catholic News Agency asserts. CNS also says:

The Manhattan Declaration is the result of several months of dialogue among Orthodox, Catholic, and evangelical Christian leaders culminating in a gathering of approximately 100 leaders in New York City on September 28, 2009.

Attendees considered an early draft of the “Manhattan Declaration, A Call of Christian Conscience,” but the document was entrusted to a drafting committee that included Dr. Timothy George of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University, Dr. Robert P. George of Princeton University, and renowned Evangelical leader Charles Colson.

The signatories explained that they speak now because in order “to defend principles of justice and the common good that are now under assault.”

Anyone who has closely followed the political battles over health care, gay marriage and abortion will recognize the themes and arguments of the document, all reflected in the associated Web site.

Signatories predictably include 15 Roman Catholic bishops, among them New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan and Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl; Focus on the Family founder James Dobson; National Association of Evangelicals president Leith Anderson; Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; Richard Land, president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; various other seminary leaders, professors and pastors.

More about this Manhattan Declaration later.


With hyperventilating certainty about the future Chuck Colson declares the Manhattan Declaration “one of the most important documents produced by the American church, at least in my lifetime.”

November 20, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Religion, SBC | , , , , , | 1 Comment

‘Good the Mormons! Shame on [Catholics]’

Eduardo Peñalver, Cornell Law School professor who teaches a course on Catholic social thought and the law, writes for dotCommweal:

The Mormon Church throws its support behind a Salt Lake City law prohibiting discrimination against homosexuals in housing and employment (HT Andrew Sullivan)
. . .

Meanwhile, the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. threatens to stop providing services for the homeless in response to a pending DC move to permit gay marriage, apparently (according to reports) because the law might prevent the Church from discriminating against homosexual couples in the provision of employee benefits.
. . .

Good for the Mormons! Shame on us.

His piece briefly dissects the Catholic church’s legal arguments on behalf of itself in D.C. and finds nothing of value.
Read it here.

November 14, 2009 Posted by | Catholic, Law | , , , | Comments Off on ‘Good the Mormons! Shame on [Catholics]’

So much heat, so little light over D.C. Catholic standoff

Still researching our own assessment, we find ourselves in agreement with tmatt at GetReligion:

Read the top of this A1 Washington Post report about the collision between the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington and government officials here in the District of Columbia. Now ask this question: Is the heart of this story (a) civil rights for a new protected class of gays and lesbians, (b) religious liberty in America or (c) both?

The answer, of course, is “both.”

And more, with unanswered questions galore, even for those of us who have been following the story.

November 12, 2009 Posted by | Catholic, Law | , , | Comments Off on So much heat, so little light over D.C. Catholic standoff

How hungry the homeless for the holidays in D.C.?

The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, DC has threatened to withdraw its social services from the District of Columbia (DC) absent change in the proposed same-sex marriage law. This amid criticism (1, 2, 3, 4, 5), applause(1, 2) and some | neutrality.

The impact would be considerable, as the Washington Post reports:

Catholic Charities, the church’s social services arm, is one of dozens of nonprofit organizations that partner with the District. It serves 68,000 people in the city, including the one-third of Washington’s homeless people who go to city-owned shelters managed by the church. City leaders said the church is not the dominant provider of any particular social service, but the church pointed out that it supplements funding for city programs with $10 million from its own coffers.

After the DC City Council’s Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary narrowed the exemption for religious freedom under the bill legalizing marriage between same-sex couples, the archdiocese issued a press release which says:

Under the bill, religious organizations do not have to participate in the “solemnization or celebration” of a same-sex marriage ceremony. An earlier version of the bill also exempted them from “the promotion of marriage that is in violation of the entity’s religious beliefs.” The revised language significantly narrows that exemption to the “promotion of marriage through religious programs, counseling, courses, or retreats.”
As a result, religious organizations and individuals are at risk of legal action for refusing to promote and support same-sex marriages in a host of settings where it would compromise their religious beliefs. This includes employee benefits, adoption services and even the use of a church hall for non-wedding events for same-sex married couples. Religious organizations such as Catholic Charities could be denied licenses or certification by the government, denied the right to offer adoption and foster care services, or no longer be able to partner with the city to provide social services for the needy.

City Councilman David A. Catania said he would rather end the city’s relationship with Catholic charities than give in to the Church’s demands.

Thus far it appears the D.C. City Council agrees with Atrios:

Good. Someone else who [cares] can run them with federal tax dollars.

November 12, 2009 Posted by | Catholic, Economy, Law, Politics | , , , , | Comments Off on How hungry the homeless for the holidays in D.C.?

Civil unions being studied by Presbyterians

Bruce Reyes-Chow for Moderator

A Special Committee to Study Issues of Civil Union and Christian Marriage has been appointed by the Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow, Moderator of the 218th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

The committee will study and offer policy recommendations regarding:

  • The history of the laws governing marriage and civil union, including current policy
  • How the theology and practice of marriage have developed in the Reformed and broader Christian tradition.
  • The relationship between civil union and Christian marriage.
  • The effects of current laws on same-gender partners and their children.
  • The place of covenanted same-gender partnerships in the Christian community.

The resulting report will be made to the 219th General Assembly (2010) next summer in Minneapolis.

The Presbyterian Church (USA) still defines Christian marriage as between “a man and a woman,” while at the same time recognizing and calling for legal codification of equal rights for families of same-gender partners.

February 4, 2009 Posted by | Cultural, Politics, Religion | , , , , | Comments Off on Civil unions being studied by Presbyterians

The gay marriage debate cranks up in Wyoming

Focus on the Family Action is making telephone calls to drum up support for a measure would let Wyoming voters decide whether to amend the state constitution to specify that the state won’t recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.

January 22, 2009 Posted by | Politics | , , , | Comments Off on The gay marriage debate cranks up in Wyoming