Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Manhattan Declaration

So, Chuck Colson, James Dobson and his ilk have come out with something called the "Manhattan Declaration." Basically, it is a manifesto of intent for Christians to take a stand on various issues which they feel to be of special import, and calls for the faithful believers everywhere to sign on to it. The issues it outlines are really no surprise: Sanctity of life, sanctity of marriage, and freedom of religion. But its interpretation of them is what I have an issue with. These old men really do have it wrong.

Sanctity of life? We all know what that means to the likes of Colson and Dobson. They mean opposition to abortion. And this is built around the ridiculous and unscientific position that conception, and not the formation of a fetus' brain, defines the point at which an individual life begins. This, as determined by a ninteenth century declaration by Pope Leo XIII (1886) which reversed many earlier Church positions that "ensoulment" happened long after conception. You'd think we might take a more sensible approach than that.

Look, I'm not afraid to say it: Opposition to abortion is un-Christian. Science supports the spiritual view that the "soul" (for want of a better word) enters the body at a point long after conception takes place, and the cerebrum has fully formed in the fetus -- something which dosen't happen until 4.5 months in. Scripture supports the view of an Old Testament God which outright slaughtered post-born children, and says nothing blatant about abortion at all since abortion was simply unheard of in Biblical times. Anyone who says that God says life begins at conception is just plain wrong. Life-at-conception is a doctrine of HUMAN origin. Clergy and congregation alike therefore need to knock it the hell off about this one.

Sanctity of marriage? Again, we know what they mean by this: Opposition to homosexuality. I mean, really, gay marriage is simply a flashpoint. Given the means, they would find a legal excuse to ban homosexuality altogether and reinstate all sodomy laws. However, realistically, they cannot do this, so they entrench at the next best fallback line. But they've lost an entire generation of young people over this. Stubborn insistence over this one is guaranteed suicide for Christianity in America. Not that I'll cry crocodile tears over that, but in the meantime, the right of pursuit of happiness is denied a segment of our population, and that pisses me off. I'm not exactly willing to wait two or three decades for some stupid old men to die off before this is fixed.

As I pointed out in an earlier blog post, sanctity of marriage has basically already been shot with common divorce and even more common promiscuity. In that post, I think I forgot to mention Carrie Prejean, who became the most famous Miss Congeneality in the world when she took a stand against gay marriage in the Miss America Pageant. This artificially-boobed and butt-less stick figure then turned out to have made a sex video beforehand, as if this could have made her any more of a conservative hypocrite than willingly participating in a sexuality glorification contest in the first place. (I'm actually shocked this cliche fake-blond even came as close as second place. Will somebody please find someone other than J. Lo to have a REAL ass in Hollywood?) I'll give credit to the Manhattan Declaration for calling out popular culture on this point and saying that the media needs to stop glamorizing sexuality and extramarital affairs -- but come on. Let's be realistic, here. This effort is a lot like Mickey Mouse trying to bail out the overwhelming flood of his spell gone awry in "The Sourcerer's Apprentice" segment of the movie, 'Fantasia.' There's just no way that Christianity can stem out the tsunami flood of sexual freedom in America with its tiny bucket of "sexual purity." And "promise rings" just make the teenage girls who wear them a greater target. (Another five atheists come about for each one of them that gets pregnant, too. And they DO!) This fight was lost way back when Mae West first said on the silver screen, "Come up and see me sometime."

Let the gays have their nuclear family, seeing as how Christians are incapeable of sustaining one.

Lastly, the Manhattan Declaration champions freedom of religion. They rightly state that all citizens have a right to be free of religious coersion. I give them full credit for finally admitting what we secularists have been telling them since the dawn of America. But their interpretation of this idea gets a little twisted, as they say how private hospitals which receive tax subsidies should somehow be allowed to have employees, paid with those tax dollars, be able to deny other taxpaying citizens abortion referrals or "morning after" drugs. Their idea of a "private hospital" is also somewhat twisted, in that they feel that a Christian hospital is about proselytizing or promoting a religious agenda instead of caring for the sick! This, when those paying for said care, out of pocket or through private insurers, come from ALL faiths (including the lack thereof).

It's wrong to admit that citizens have a right to be free of religious coersion on the one hand, and then fight for the ability to religiously coerce on the other. Such hypocrisy has no place in any aspect of America, least of all in medical care. Religious freedom means that no creed gets favoritism. Recent developments have caused some favoritism which was previously given to Christianity to be taken away as government increasingly awakens to this fact. But this removal of undue and unearned privileges should not be construed as an attack upon the Christian faith. It is simply telling Christianity, which has been hogging the couch for generations, to finally stop it, move over, and make room for everybody.

The authors and signatories of the Manhattan Declaration would do well to remember that.

Eric

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