“Religious Liberty” My Ass! – The Manhattan Declaration

Facebook0Twitter0Google+0Reddit0tumblrEmail

Sorry, I do know better than to write when I’m angry, but I’m angry and I’m writing, so here goes.

The concept of “religious liberty,” as continually used by those on the extreme right to defend their archaic discrimination, is complete trash. It’s a farce to think that these people—or any people—can use a belief or set of beliefs to get their own interpretation of the laws. We are one nation, not those who follow the laws and those who interpret them however appeases their beliefs.

“Religious liberty,” my ass, I say!

Today, a whole big group of Catholics, Orthodox, and Evangelical Christians produced The Manhattan Declaration (read the full document and see the signers at G-A-Y). It is the most petty, sophomoric, and offensive attack on human rights I have ever read. I mean, if you thought last week’s Catholic threat to pull out of DC charity services (CNN report) if same-sex marriage is legalized was bad, this blows that out of the water. Basically, all these delusional Christian leaders gave the finger to women’s rights and LGBT rights. In the name of “justice,” they demand not just privilege, but in fact, special privilege. Here is the offensive concluding paragraph:

Through the centuries, Christianity has taught that civil disobedience is not only permitted, but sometimes required. There is no more eloquent defense of the rights and duties of religious conscience than the one offered by Martin Luther King, Jr., in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail. 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.

Because we honor justice and the common good, 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. We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God’s.

And Dr. King started a-rolling in his grave.

All that they are saying is that their ignorant beliefs are more important than any law. If they can’t do their “good works” in their preferred discriminatory way, they won’t do it at all! The truth comes out!

If this isn’t evidence that religious groups use charity work to gain power over society, I don’t know what is. They decide what we get to do with our bodies, and if we don’t like it, then they won’t do shit for our society. All or nothing. Their way or the highway.

“Religious liberty,” my ass!

I’m all about religious freedom. I think religious freedom is the bee’s knees. I think anybody should be able to believe anything. But that freedom does not get to trump the progress of our society or the rights of all people as determined by the representative governing body.

Part of me kind of hopes these groups hold true to their promise. Sure, it’d be a huge problem at first if hospitals and other services we depended on vanished, but I’d rather worry about replacing them with new services than cater to this crap. You don’t want to obey the law? Then you don’t get to paint yourselves as all good! Because guess what? If you’re this petty, you’re not.

A doctor doesn’t want to perform an abortion? Then get the hell out of the way so that a real doctor can take care of the patient. A doctor wants to deprive an individual of the right to die? Then get the hell out of the way so that a real doctor can help end the terminal patient’s suffering. You don’t want to marry all couples? Then you don’t get to marry anybody! Heck yeah, let’s start holding these groups to standards! Either eat your cake like everybody else or you don’t get cake!

I’m sorry Christian groups, but you don’t live in your own universe, regardless of what you believe belongs to Caesar or God. You can either grow up and play along with the rest of society or get out of the business of trying.

Frankly, we’d be better off.

Charity work is great. Blackmail isn’t. If you can’t do one without the other, you don’t have a whole lot of honor to begin with.

“Religious liberty,” my ass!

Facebook0Twitter0Google+0Reddit0tumblrEmail
Back to Top | Scroll down for Comments!

There are 7 Comments to "“Religious Liberty” My Ass! – The Manhattan Declaration"

  • Gerty says:

    We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God’s.

    Um, no you won’t. You’re tax exempt.

    Religious groups have tried to use this argument of civil rights infringing on their religious liberty in many previous isses. Legally, those have ultimately failed.  I guess their version of “justice” does not take into account legal precedence.

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Zack Ford, Zack Ford. Zack Ford said: ZackFord Blogs – "Religious Liberty" My Ass! – The Manhattan Declaration – http://is.gd/4ZRSt – #lgbt #atheism #p2 [...]

  • Jen Galbraith says:

    I had a completely different take on the last paragraph than you did.  I took it to mean that if the government mandated that everyone do X, because they do not believe in X, they would say ‘no’.  Say the government mandated prayer before meals, would you do it?  Probably not, as it does not adhere to your perspective of life.  I see no problem with a doctor refusing to perform abortions, as long as they provide a list of doctors that are willing to perform the procedure.  I see no problem with a pastor refusing to marry a same sex couple, provided they provide a list of clergymen that do not share the same perspective.
    I am all for abortion to be legal, I am all for same sex marriage rights that are no different from the marital benefits that I enjoy with my husband.  Just as you are adamant that Christian values not be shoved down your throat, Christians do have the right to not have other values shoved down theirs.  Individual moral compasses are just that… individual.  I want the right to live the moral life that I truly believe is right and think that everyone should have that freedom, even when their morals differ from mine.
    Society isn’t going to change overnight.  It takes time for public perception to change.  At one time mixed race marriage was illegal, and then frowned upon, and now fairly accepted (with rare exception like the JP that recently refused to marry a couple based on racial issues).  I’m sure that at one point, many churches refused to marry inter-race couples and now that happens far less frequently, and makes headlines when it does happen.  In 50 years, I would anticipate the same transition regarding same sex marriages, as society changes and grows.
     

  • ZackFord says:

    Jen, I think we interpret the last paragraph in exactly the same way. The inherent demand in the declaration is that provisions be made to excuse, as it were, individuals from having to comply. So, we’re talking conscience clauses that allow doctors to refuse to perform certain treatments. Another example would be that a church group that receives federal funding for its charities would demand to have an exemption to continue to discriminate based on sexual orientation, and not just for its marriages but employees and such too.

    When Loving v. Virginia was handed down, there was no exception for religious organizations. Interracial marriage became legal and that was that. (And while we’re talking about it, let’s not forget that in 1958, 94% of Americans who were polled said they were opposed to interracial marriage. Good thing they were never allowed to vote on it.) I see no new reason to cater to beliefs now.

    Doctors who won’t perform their full duties shouldn’t be doctors. Churches that wish to discriminate in marriages shouldn’t get to offer legally recognized marriages. The Alabama JP was forced to resign and still faces a federal lawsuit. When you assume a state responsibility, you shouldn’t get to pick and choose, but that’s what they are demanding.

  • Jen Galbraith says:

    As a doctor, I’d be royally pissed if the government told me that I HAD to do things that was well outside my personal medical ethics.  There are a lot of things that legally I CAN do, but choose not to.  I legally can prescribe narcotics to a patient, and have a DEA number that further allows me that privilidge, but I refuse to do so, as I don’t believe in that type of treatment in the eye care setting.  If a patient came in to me with that degree of pain and requesting narcotics, I would refuse and happily provide them with alternative resources, say a pain management clinic.  Should I turn in my license because I will not prescribe narcotics, something well within the scope and legality of optometric practice?

  • ZackFord says:

    But see, I see a big distinction there. You don’t prescribe narcotics as a professional opinion, not as a religious opinion. I would never support laws about how doctors have to do their jobs, but I also don’t support exceptions for religious objections to fulfilling responsibilities.

  • Kristoffer says:

    I agree with you Zack as for the perspective and take of the last paragraph, I’ll break it down a bit.

    The language used is significant for a few reasons, but more importantly its the conglomerate nature of the language that needs to be examined.

    ” 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”
    First institutions: the Catholic Church has nearly 2 million various institutions in the US, of which 400 of them are hospital groups (Sacred Heart for example). From charities to schools, churches to hospitals, to half-way houses and homeless shelters, they have a consortium of social inference and influence. Not to mention that there are other Christian organizations in the US with the same ideology when it comes to women’s rights and the GBLT community. This declaration alone will give other Christian groups a doorway to argue against these social issues.

    But of those institutions and connections medical research is a key venue. Since they won’t research in Stem Cell research that will cause embryonic destruction that research money will go to other areas not as promising. They want to ignore women’s rights and with their large foot print in the US they can willfully do so. But it gets worse, because the key wording is this “or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family”

    This means that they will speak their mind and condemn the acceptance of women’s rights or that of the GBLT community, will actively use hate-speech in the guise of morality and continue to “educate” people in anti-gay and anti-woman ideology. Even if it’s slander and libel.

    Hence the position that Zack and I have on interpretation of that paragraph. It is one thing, Jen, to say “you’re entitled to your beliefs and as I am mine” its another to say “I’m entitled to my beliefs, but your beliefs just aren’t good enough and so we’re going to tell you what to believe and if you don’t like too bad” which is what the Catholics are trying to do here. They seem confused about whether or not this is about forcing them to marry GBLT people or supporting abortion, because we don’t care if they support it or not, we only care if they get in the way of other people doing those things. And that is exactly what they’re trying to do here.

Write a Comment