In their newest attempt to inject their religious beliefs into public life and stop LGBT rights and abortion rights while they cast themselves as the victims of religious bigotry, Catholic and evangelical religious leaders came together in a confab in New York in September and are having a press conference today in Washington to unveil the document they have produced. According to The New York Times, the document, The Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience, lays out their claim to be victims, outrageously twisting the logic of civil rights and using Martin Luther King:
Citing the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s call to civil disobedience, 145 evangelical, Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian leaders have signed a declaration saying they will not cooperate with laws that they say could be used to compel their institutions to participate in abortions, or to bless or in any way recognize same-sex couples......The document says, “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 antilife act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent.
There is nothing in any current law, or any law being drafted, that says that that any church has to do any of those things. Last time I checked, abortions were not being performed in churches -- thankfully they're still being performed in hospitals and clinics, and not back allies -- and scientific research on stem cells and embryos is happening in laboratories, not at the local parish. As for marriages of gays and lesbians, in every state that has marriage equality Christian churches do not have to perform such marriages, just as they don't have perform marriages of Jews and others who don't adhere to their faiths.
So what it this? Another publicity stunt, another whining announcement to cast themselves as the victims -- and coming together no less, in a desperate last ditch attempt -- to take away people's rights. But as usual, they're not very original: They've stolen Manhattan Project from environmentalists. I think on the show today we'll hammer out The Signorile Declaration. It consists of two words.