Friday, August 31, 2012

Three Year Old Things I Just Learned About - The Manhattan Declaration

The 'too long, did not read' version of the Manhattan Declaration is that it is a manifesto of sorts, penned and signed by the most radical of radical Christians where they vow to uphold the true meaning of God's word as they have so perfectly figured it out in their heads.  This, more or less, means hating gays and abortion, because Jesus talked at length about both of those things.  It's a rather amazing combination of revisionist Christian history and overt bigotry, so much so that I figured I'd ridicule it with little point or purpose here.

Christians are heirs of a 2,000-year tradition of proclaiming God's word, seeking justice in our societies, resisting tyranny, and reaching out with compassion to the poor, oppressed and suffering.

Because that's exactly what the Family Research Council does (Tony Perkins is among the signees).  So much poor helping.  The National Organization for Marriage too.

It was Christians who combated the evil of slavery.


While the whole scope of Christian moral concern, including a special concern for the poor and vulnerable, claims our attention, we are especially troubled that in our nation today the lives of the unborn, the disabled, and the elderly are severely threatened; that the institution of marriage, already buffeted by promiscuity, infidelity and divorce, is in jeopardy of being redefined to accommodate fashionable ideologies; that freedom of religion and the rights of conscience are gravely jeopardized by those who would use the instruments of coercion to compel persons of faith to compromise their deepest convictions.

Ah...that's what this is about.

Because the sanctity of human life, the dignity of marriage as a union of husband and wife, and the freedom of conscience and religion are foundational principles of justice and the common good, we are compelled by our Christian faith to speak and act in their defense. In this declaration we affirm: 
  1. the profound, inherent, and equal dignity of every human being as a creature fashioned in the very image of God, possessing inherent rights of equal dignity and life; 
  2. marriage as a conjugal union of man and woman, ordained by God from the creation, and historically understood by believers and non-believers alike, to be the most basic institution in society and; 
  3. religious liberty, which is grounded in the character of God, the example of Christ, and the inherent freedom and dignity of human beings created in the divine image.
    The religious right sure has a funny definition of 'dignity.'  Tony Perkins apparently thinks that treating all people with dignity and respect involves calling LGBT individuals "hateful, vile, and spiteful," saying that they have an "emptiness within them,"comparing gay people to pedophiles and terrorists, doling out pamphlets that reference widely discredited researcher Paul Cameron, and positing lies about how LGBT make inferior parents and pose a threat to children.

    We pledge to each other, and to our fellow believers, that no power on earth, be it cultural or political, will intimidate us into silence or acquiescence. It is our duty to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in its fullness, both in season and out of season. May God help us not to fail in that duty.

    So let me get this straight.  When Obama tells judges not to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act, that's acting in reckless disregard for the law.  When a bunch of right wing fundies vow to do the same thing, it's upholding God's word.  Okay.

    The President says that he wants to reduce the "need" for abortion—a commendable goal. But he has also pledged to make abortion more easily and widely available by eliminating laws prohibiting government funding, requiring waiting periods for women seeking abortions, and parental notification for abortions performed on minors.

    There probably wouldn't be so many abortions if the United States didn't have some of the worst Sex Ed. laws among developed nations.  Exchanging aborted babies for unwanted babies is a solution to nothing.

    At the other end of life, an increasingly powerful movement to promote assisted suicide and "voluntary" euthanasia threatens the lives of vulnerable elderly and disabled persons.

    Threatening the life of people who don't want their life?  What a horrible thing.  At what point does keeping those that have little ability to do anything alive with machines become cruel?  I don't know, but I think there is a point where we get there.

    A truly prophetic Christian witness will insistently call on those who have been entrusted with temporal power to fulfill the first responsibility of government: to protect the weak and vulnerable against violent attack, and to do so with no favoritism, partiality, or discrimination.


    In Scripture, the creation of man and woman, and their one-flesh union as husband and wife, is the crowning achievement of God's creation.

    Actually the Bible says lots of other things about marriage...

    Perhaps the most telling—and alarming—indicator is the out-of-wedlock birth rate. Less than fifty years ago, it was under 5 percent. Today it is over 40 percent.

    About making abortions illegal and castrating sex education...

    We acknowledge that there are those who are disposed towards homosexual and polyamorous conduct and relationships, just as there are those who are disposed towards other forms of immoral conduct.

    I like that they're already past the (false) slippery slope 'gay marriage will lead to polygamy' argument and are already assuming that polygamy and polyamory are rampant problems.

    We have compassion for those so disposed; we respect them as human beings possessing profound, inherent, and equal dignity; and we pay tribute to the men and women who strive, often with little assistance, to resist the temptation to yield to desires that they, no less than we, regard as wayward.

    So the lying is treating people with dignity?

    We further acknowledge that there are sincere people who disagree with us, and with the teaching of the Bible and Christian tradition, on questions of sexual morality and the nature of marriage. Some who enter into same-sex and polyamorous relationships no doubt regard their unions as truly marital. They fail to understand, however, that marriage is made possible by the sexual complementarity of man and woman, and that the comprehensive, multi-level sharing of life that marriage is includes bodily unity of the sort that unites husband and wife biologically as a reproductive unit.

    People may disagree with us...but fuck em, they're wrong!

    No one has a civil right to have a non-marital relationship treated as a marriage.

    Uh, so no one can marry then?

    The common good of civil society is damaged when the law itself, in its critical pedagogical function, becomes a tool for eroding a sound understanding of marriage on which the flourishing of the marriage culture in any society vitally depends.

    Sound understanding of marriage?  Really?!


    I decided to address this section as a whole.  Americans would rather vote for literally any other minority than atheists.  That includes gays and Muslims, two of the most oft mistreated, misunderstood, and hated minorities.  Go fuck yourself if you think your religious liberty is being eroded.  Contrary to what fundies might tell you, you do have the right to pray in school, you just don't have the right to have it sanctioned by the school or any other governmental agency.  Of course, this begs the question of why any self-respecting Christian would give even an iota of a shit, since Jesus preferred people pray in private.

    We see it in the use of anti- discrimination statutes to force religious institutions, businesses, and service providers of various sorts to comply with activities they judge to be deeply immoral or go out of business.

    Oh the Christian proclivity for lying, how fun.  Let's make one thing clear, these agencies go out of business of their own accord.  Why?  Because it is more important to not have to obey non-discrimination ordinances than it is to help children, the poor, or the elderly.  They would rather help no one, than help LGBT people.  The best example is Catholic Charities in various states.  They were told that they either had to comply with the law, or stop receiving federal money.  Did CC choose to help all children?  Did they choose to operate as a private agency?  No, they said 'fuck the kids,' and shut their doors.

    New hate-crime laws in America raise the specter of the same practice here.

    Oh those horrible hate crime laws, the ones that the religious right was bitching about right up until they were applicable to the FRC gunman.  For or against, pick a side hypocrites.

    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.

    Well that's...creepy.  Remember folks, it's okay to disobey the long as God has your back.

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