Manhattan Declaration on the Ropes

For those who don’t know, the Manhattan Declaration was a document drawn up in 2009 that drew several different denominations of Christianity together to agree on the people they’ll happily love to death and propose disobeying any law that they don’t agree with.

From Wikipedia (hence all the links I don’t feel like removing):

The Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience is a manifesto issued by Orthodox, Catholic, and EvangelicalChristian leaders[1][2][3] to affirm support of “the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, and religious liberty“.[4] It was drafted on October 20, 2009 and released November 20, 2009, having been signed by more than 150 American religious leaders.[5] On the issue of marriage, the declaration objects not only to same-sex marriage but also to the general erosion of the “marriage culture” with the spectre of divorce, greater acceptance of infidelity and the uncoupling of marriage from childbearing.[6]

On one hand, manifesto away. Write anything you want. Go ahead and whine on endlessly about how people don’t just follow your religious tenets like you wish they would and talk about how very sad it is that people don’t have the marriages you want. That’s your prerogative, and I have no problem mocking your heinous and petty ideas.

Unfortunately, these are not back woods preachers coming out of their bunkers long enough to call college students sluts. We’re talking some real heavyweight names like Tony Perkins, James Dobson, Al Mohler, and my favorite kiddy rape assistant/financial fraudster, Timmy Cardinal Dolan. These are people who spend their time and effort and use the weight of this document to legislate their fantasies on the rest of us.

So it is with great pleasure that I see that people are asking that their names be removed from this document. From their Facebook page:

This morning I’m returning phone calls to some who wish to have their name removed from the Declaration. It’s quite deflating. It seems a handful of signers don’t wish to be affiliated with an ecumenical movement. How they missed that part when they first signed is anyone’s guess.

At Manhattan Declaration, we don’t color over the distinctive characteristics of any Christian tradition; rather, we seek to be united despite those differences, in faith in Jesus Christ, to accomplish a mission we can all agree is of the utmost importance.

There’s a number of things wrong with this statement. The first is that it’s not an “ecumenical” movement. I suppose if you stretch the definition to mean “includes some parts of the three major branches of Christianity,” then you could make it out to be that, but it’s an American document including only churches that agree with them already. That makes any joke that starts, “A priest, a minister, and a rabbi…” into an ecumenical joke (Orthodox priests are also called “priests”). It’s like if I threw a party and people refused to show up because my parties always involve yelling at people and occasionally hitting them (note: my parties never involve those things), then I said that “everyone” showed up at my terrible party. And, of course, “everyone” didn’t show up at my party, only awful people who get off on yelling at other people showed up at my party.

Which sort of brings me to my second point, which is that these people don’t want off the list because it’s “ecumenical”. Does he really think the problem is that they really want to be part of this, but can’t bring themselves to be a signatory on a document with a guy who believes in transubstantiation? They want off the Declaration because they don’t want to be on the guest list for a party that’s all about making people’s lives miserable. Whether it’s because they got over their hangups or realize that it looks really bad, I don’t much care, because it still makes the document less powerful, politically. Though I will agree with the sentence, “How they missed that part when they first signed is anyone’s guess.”

Third, how remarkably screwed up is this guy’s priorities that the stuff outlined in the Manhattan Declaration is of “utmost importance”?

When you’ve never suffered a day in your life, I’m sure it does seem to you like the kind of thing god would be most concerned about.


The diehards with big names like the ones I mentioned above will never ask for themselves to be taken off it, but the fewer headline chasers involved, the more it looks like just the usual suspects boarding the bus for Crazytown together.


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