Conservative Religious Leaders Issue Declaration Opposing Gay Marriage Rights and Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Conservatives love to play the victim, even when they are engaged in denying the rights of others. A group of  conservative religious leaders have issued the Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience. This declaration says “they oppose laws that would compel them to recognize gay unions or marriages, among other social issues.”

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.”

The document’s language also takes aim at other gay rights laws, including a recently approved law that adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of federally recognized hate crimes and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a bill that would ban workplace discrimination against gay men, lesbians and transgender people.

Social conservatives have argued that such measures would have a chilling effect on religious liberties.

The declaration confuses the issues and clearly shows why we need separation of church and state to defend religious liberties. The point of changing the law to allow marriage equality is to provide gays the same right to marriage that the rest of us enjoy. While gays would legally be allowed to be married, this would not compel any church or religious institution to perform gay marriages, participate in abortions, or any other acts that violate their religious principles.

The principle of separation of church and state, which the religious right often denies, is what protects churches from participating in activities they oppose. In return, churches and other religious bodies not have the right to impose their religious views upon others.

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  1. 1
    Fritz says:

    However, in MA, church-funded adoption services are not allowed to discriminate against same-sex couples seeking to adopt a child (which is why the Catholic church got out of the adoption business in MA).    There are some corner cases like that.

  2. 2
    Captin Sarcastic says:

    This is a silly tactic by the socons. When gays argue that they should not be forced to recognize those icky heterosexual relationships, how will the socons respond, “We were here first!”?

    No one is ever forced on a moral level to recognize anything, and churches are and would be free to discriminate to their hearts content against gay relationships.

    What they seem to really want is not to protect themselves, but to deny rights and protections they enjoy to others.

    If they want equal treatment under the law, and they want to argue against being forced to recognize certan relationships, then the logical response would be that no one should be forced to recognize any relationships.

    But we know that socons are not remotely interested in equal treatment under the law, they want their preferences recognized under the law, and no one elses.

  3. 3
    Eclectic Radical says:

    ‘However, in MA, church-funded adoption services are not allowed to discriminate against same-sex couples seeking to adopt a child (which is why the Catholic church got out of the adoption business in MA).    There are some corner cases like that.’
    The ruling of the Massachusetts court in this matter, if I remember correctly, was that adoption is not a ‘purely religious activity’ in which such discrimination can be allowed… as opposed to marriage, where a church can refuse to marry a couple even though they have the right to get married somewhere else. There is certainly a legitimate argument to be made for ‘adoption rights are not a question of religious faith.’
    I don’t know if every court in the country would agree. I don’t know if I completely agree. I understand the argument, however.
    This actually touches on another issue, however, that of charity vs. public welfare. Religious charities engage in a wide range of faith-based discrimination. Some of this is basically harmless, such as a little bit of proselyitzation that I perfectly think a fair market price for a ‘free’ meal or cot. Some of it is far less harmless, like officiously religious Salvation Army volunteers denying a much needed cot to someone based on personal moral disapproval.
    If we wish to accept the conservative religious argument that such faith-based discrimination is part of protected religious freedom then there must be a non-discriminatory alternative.

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