Catholic, Evangelical leaders team up to fight abortion, same-sex marriage

By Michelle Boorstein A highly influential group of conservative Christian leaders are releasing a document today that they have been … Continued

By Michelle Boorstein

A highly influential group of conservative Christian leaders are releasing a document today that they have been working on for more than a year, an attempt to unify disparate religious conservatives. Even as political conservatives in the United States are fractured and the Republican Party in a period of soul-searching, you can see some religious conservatives attempting to coalesce, such as Pope Benedict’s recent outreach to conservative Anglicans.

The document, called “The Manhattan Declaration,” is embargoed until noon (when we’ll have it for you) but it calls for Christians to regroup around opposition to abortion (and other “life” issues) and to recognition of same-sex marriage. The document calls for ‘religious liberty’ but people connected with the document say that is a reference to courts and civil authorities who are allowing gay marriage and abortion availability to advance and expand.

The positions aren’t new here; what’s new is the teaming up. On the stage at the National Press Club today will be Catholic leaders Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl and Philadelphia Archbishop Justin Rigali, Pentecostal leader Harry Jackson of Maryland and evangelical activist Tony Perkins. Signers include Chuck Colson and academics Timothy George and Robert George.

People involved with the document cited as evidence of their concern the current standoff between the Washington Catholic archdiocese and the D.C. City Council over a same-sex marriage bill, and the archdiocese’s position that it won’t be able to agree to the bill’s requirements without violating Catholic teaching. They also noted the recent decision by Catholic Charities in Massachusetts (the charity arm of the church) to stop helping place children for adoption rather than comply with the state’s ban on discrimination against same-sex couples.

To some ears, the document is inflammatory at a time when the archdiocese and the city are apparently trying to work out a compromise on the wording of the same-sex marriage bill. It calls for Christians “not to comply” with any law that compels them to participate in abortion or other “anti-life” act, and says not to “bend” to any rule forcing
them to “bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages.” The document also says Christianity sometimes “requires” civil disobedience.”

Sure, this document has been in the works for months — long before the same-sex marriage standoff — and Archbishop Wuerl was not an author. However, he is signing it, and he is choosing to appear at its unveiling. What is he calling Catholics to do? His spokeswoman, Susan Gibbs, today downplayed the intense language, saying Wuerl is not advocating for civil disobedience and that he signed onto the document “because of its general focus.”

Do you buy it? Does this help or inflame negotiations on the D.C. measure? Send us an email.

More to come.

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  • rtaylor3

    What a load of crap. Move to the Vatican if you want to live in a theocracy.

  • coloradodog

    What a lineup:Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl and Philadelphia Archbishop Justin Rigali, Pentecostal leader Harry Jackson of Maryland and evangelical activist Tony Perkins. Did they forget to invite Archbishop Dolan, Bill Donohue, James Dobson, Pat Robertson and Baptist Pastor Fred Phelps?

  • bobbarnes

    More Christian tantrums. Please leave if you don’t know how to play nicely with the other citizens.


    And it has come to pass that the RC church is trying to run this country and make it a theocracy. My family along with many others escaped Europe to get out from under the oppression of the Roman Church and now they’re at it again. Just wait, when they get their way, protestant denominations will not be allowed and the RC Church will impose their will through the use of laws.

  • bpft

    @Colorododog: Don’t you see the irony of labeling them as “hateful” when all you’re doing is name-calling and playing off stereotypes? There are lots of good, celibate priests out there. They’re good people. @Rtaylor3: That’s a mean thing to say. What if someone told you to move to France if you want to live in a secular government?@Bobbarnes: By calling them “tantrums” you’re implying that the Christian position is immature. Instead of resorting to ad hominem attacks, can you contribute to the discourse with reasonable arguments? All you’re doing is promoting the hate.@Mhcnyc: The declaration is a far from establishing a theocracy and religious oppression. Once again, please contribute to the discourse by presenting facts and rational arguments.For once I’d like to see something more than name-calling!

  • mobguy

    I see that the Catholic-haters are out in force. Good, the Manhattan Declaration must be hitting the mark with your left-wing readership. I guess it’s not politically correct to have the same values as our founding fathers. So be it.

  • Counterww

    Well, all the Christian haters are out in force. That venom feels good, huh, guys.Look. It’s obvious. Life exists in fetuses, and they are at the very least potential people- and all of us were there once. How hypocritical to be so hateful about life.The other is also obvious. We are made and created to marry the opposite sex. The parts fit, and they produce kids and a family if we want them. The dynamics are the there for homosexuals, and they should not try to keep pounding the square peg into the round hole.

  • bobbarnes

    MOBGUY,Seems like the Catholic’s have a way of bringing on their own trouble. Fortunately for my I was raised protestant, so I didn’t have a priest teaching me sex….. by example.

  • MCMasotti

    cf. Matthew 5:11

  • mobguy

    Thanks BobBarnes for making my point.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    NTism gone berserk. What’s new?

  • coloradodog

    Well isn’t that just holy. Huckabees teaming up with Donohue Catholics to further their hateful, intolerant, exclusionary agenda of bullying their Leviticus twisted theocracy on the rest of us. I wonder if the evangelicals will also allow their sons to be left alone at CYO with “celibate” priests.

  • coloradodog

    Well, all the gay-haters are out in force.

  • wanatmindy

    To Coloradodog- FYI, I haven’t formed an opinion about the same-sex marriage debate because I HATE anyone. That’s a pretty big charge to hurl at people you don’t personally know. I’m so tired of hearing others being called bigots and haters because they are holding to the tenets of their faith. In listening to those kinds of rants- can we talk about tantrums?! Once again, the Post has sensationlized the wrong issue here. The document represents the beliefs of millions throughout this country, and the Post’s focus should have been that different faith leaders are in union on the issues they addressed. It IS true that sometimes civil disobedience will do what words alone cannot. We can look to our recent history to see when that kind of action served a good end. However, there was no call to take any action of disobedience and the anyone’s emphasis on this dilutes the significance of what happened- and it diverts the debate. I’d imagine that was likely the point.