Conservative Catholics and Evangelical Protestants Unite to Battle Same-Sex Marriage
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Feb 19, 2015 at 09:55:06 AM EST
A group of conservative Catholics and evangelical Protestants are gearing up for the culture war battle of the century. A new manifesto - to be revealed in the March edition of the conservative publication First Things -- is meant to set the tone for the upcoming decision on same-sex marriage by the U.S. Supreme Court, and perhaps the 2016 presidential election as well.

The document maintains that same-sex marriage is "a graver threat" to the social order than "easy acceptance of divorce" or "widespread cohabitation." "We must say, as clearly as possible, that same-sex unions, even when sanctioned by the state, are not marriages," the document stated. "Christians who wish to remain faithful to the Scriptures and Christian tradition cannot embrace this falsification of reality, irrespective of its status in law."

With temperate rhetoric tossed aside, and a new mean-spirited attack on the gay community being launched, language in the new document makes signees like the Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest Calif., and Robert George, professor at Princeton University and vice-chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedoms, sound like the second coming of the late Rev. Fred Phelps.

"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," say the nearly 50 signers of the statement, Religion News Service's David Gibson recently reported. "And that displacement can lead, in due course, to the coercion and persecution of those who refuse to acknowledge the state's redefinition of marriage, which is beyond the state's competence," they say.

According to Gibson, the new document, titled, "The Two Shall Become One Flesh: Reclaiming Marriage" -- which "comes from the group Evangelicals and Catholics Together, a coalition formed in 1994 under the aegis of former Nixon aide Charles Colson, an evangelical, and the Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, a Catholic priest" -- appears to be a "declaration of war."

Amongst the signers of the statement that has taken nearly two years to come to fruition, are megachurch pastor Rick Warren, longtime gay marriage foe Maggie Gallagher, prominent conservative Catholic intellectuals George Weigel and Robert George, Timothy George, a Southern Baptist and dean of Samford University's Beeson Divinity School; Mark Galli, editor of the evangelical magazine Christianity Today; and J.I. Packer of Regent University.

As of early February of this year, lgbtqnation.com points out, "same-sex marriage is legal in 37 states (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming), in the District of Columbia, and in the cities of St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo. Legal challenges are pending in the remaining states." And there will be a monumental Supreme Court decision sometime in June of this year.

Longtime journalist Frederick Clarkson noted that "Some of these leaders have been threatening civil disobedience over abortion, marriage equality, and religious liberty since at least the publication of the 2009 Manhattan Declaration. 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."

According to Clarkson, a senior fellow for religious liberty at Political Research Associates, "the published quotes from 'The Two Shall Become One Flesh: Reclaiming Marriage' suggests a group of leaders on the eve of a major battle they are about to lose -- trying to rally themselves and their followers for the rest of the war."

While "They remind themselves of their professed 'obligation to speak the truth in love,' and express regret for 'injustices against those who experience same-sex attraction,' .... their words also drip with scorn for those who do not share their views."

In the past, several of the signees have indicated that they would embrace civil disobedience and they expressed a willingness to go the jail for their beliefs.




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They need to talk with anthropologists.  Their definition of marriage is not only very limited in religious scope, but also quite recent (and very uncommon) in human history.

Marriage may be a cultural universal (exists in all cultures), but the form it takes can vary quite widely.  If I attend a church that accepts same-sex marriage (and I do as well), what business is it of theirs?  Better yet, why not leave marriage a legal institution, and then have religious ceremonies kept separate?  I know atheist couples who would not want their marriages done in a church... and banning that is a tiny step from the sort of things those groups want.  Atheists also have a right to get married, don't they?  If they kept and enforced their definition of marriage on society, a LOT of people would loose some (if not most or all) of their rights.  (Someone should also ask them about women who cannot bear children - I've read and heard people like that say that a marriage to a woman like that is not valid.)

Oh, and someone also needs to tell them that they do not have the right to tell others who is Christian and who isn't and who may or may not claim the title.  I know a few people who insist that they're Christian and who support same-sex marriage.  The ones I know are kinder, more sensitive to the needs of others, and most important they LISTEN, when compared to the types that try to impose their beliefs on others.  Indeed, you could say that they're far more "Christ-like" than any of the militant ones.


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