In another example of the political Right adopting protest methods generally associated with the Left, November 20th’s “Manhattan Declaration” by American Christian leaders promises to follow the example of civil disobedience set by Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement:
Writing from an explicitly Christian perspective, and citing Christian writers such as Augustine and Aquinas, King taught that just laws elevate and ennoble human beings because they are rooted in the moral law whose ultimate source is God Himself. Unjust laws degrade human beings. Inasmuch as they can claim no authority beyond sheer human will, they lack any power to bind in conscience. King’s willingness to go to jail, rather than comply with legal injustice, was exemplary and inspiring.
The leaders, including Catholic bishops, evangelical activists, and the primate of the Orthodox Church in America, promise:
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.
At Religion Dispatches, Sarah Posner points out the political context of the document’s timing:
The festivities took place just steps away from where the D.C. City Council was considering gay marriage legislation subject to threats from the Archdiocese of Washington, and where the Senate was poised to break a threatened filibuster of floor debate on its health care bill, which the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called “the worst bill we’ve seen so far on the life issues.”
Continue reading Posner at Religion Dispatches.