Friday, November 20, 2009. 145 evangelical, Catholic, and Orthodox Christian leaders have signed the "Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience," in which they declared their shared opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage. Though only hours old, the declaration has already been declared "historic" by those whose job it is to designate historic declarations. Several reasons were cited for the historic designation of the declaration:
- It is divided into sections with important titles, like "Preamble," "Declaration," "Religious Liberty," and "Life."
- Famous people have signed it, including fifteen Catholic bishops, one Orthodox primate (not the monkey kind), and child psychologist James Dobson.
- It refers to more or less historical things like Christian leadership against Roman infanticide, Christian leadership against black slavery, Christian leadership for women's suffrage, and Christian leadership for civil rights for every human being "regardless of race, religion, age or class." (Hmm, I think that they forgot one.)
While some may quibble with the Manhattan Declaration's historical accuracy, no one can dispute its inherent historicness. In addition, the declaration is also noteworthy for its futureness, envisioning a time when religious institutions will be forced to do really, really bad things by "soft despots." The signers vow that they will follow Martin Luther King Jr. in disobeying any law that would require their institutions to "bless immoral sexual partnerships" or "participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act." The day that those soft despots force the nation's churches to engage in embryo-destructive research will be a dark one indeed, and we owe our gratitude to these courageous religious leaders who are willing to face imprisonment or even loss of tax exempt status for resistance to such immoral hypothetical laws.
Thus does the Manhattan Declaration join the lofty ranks of other proud historic-futuristic declarations like the Declaration of Independence, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Emancipation Proclamation (which while not technically a declaration has been awarded the designation of honorary declaration in light of its declarative qualities). Thank you, Christian leaders, for overlooking your petty theological squabbles to unify against our common enemies: desperate women, homosexuals, and all those judges, politicians, and newspeople who facilitate their immoral practices.