Top leaders of the Christian Right plan to issue a fresh manifesto against marriage equality in March. It may be the defining document for the anti-marriage equality forces in the run up to the legal show down at the Supreme Court this summer (not to mention the 2016 presidential elections).
It is certainly an advance in the evolving alliance between conservative Catholics and conservative evangelicals—and a remarkable expression of their fears about the survival of Christendom as they see it.
David Gibson of Religion News Service, who received an advance copy of the manifesto, reports that it “reads like a declaration of war,” and that it claims “that a faithful Christian witness cannot accommodate itself to same-sex marriage.”
What’s more, “it suggests that believers who accept gay marriage are no longer fully Christian.”
The manifesto, entitled “The Two Shall Become One Flesh: Reclaiming Marriage,” has been signed by several dozen Christian Right leaders so far, and will be published in the March issue of the neoconservative magazine First Things, which provided copies to selected reporters.
“If the truth about marriage can be displaced by social and political pressure operating through the law, other truths can be set aside as well,” the signers of the manifesto warn.
This, they assert, can lead “to the coercion and persecution of those who refuse to acknowledge the state’s redefinition of marriage… ”
Evangelical signers of the statement reportedly include megachurch pastor Rick Warren; Timothy George, dean of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University; Mark Galli, editor of the evangelical magazine Christianity Today; and Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Catholic signers include Robert P. George, chairman emeritus of the National Organization for Marriage; longtime NBC News “Vatican analyst,” George Weigel; and prominent anti-marriage equality activist Maggie Gallagher.
In the Declaration, the culture-warring leaders of both the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and of conservative evangelicalism threatened massive civil disobedience if they didn’t get their way.