Tuesday, December 8, 2009

In Which the Manhattan Declaration Signees Celebrate Their Own Incredible Bravery and Awesomeness

The Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience is a manifesto written and signed by Orthodox, Catholic, and evangelical Christian leaders to reaffirm certain "truths" they have deemed to be "inviolable and non-negotiable."

During a time in which the US has waged multiple wars, nationwide unemployment rates are in the double digits, and food stamp usage among American families is at an all time high, these self-anointed Christian leaders have taken this moment in our nation's history to "speak out forcefully" against abortion and same-sex marriage.

When times are tough for the living, it's time to protect the lives of those who are not yet born. And to restrict gay rights of course.

But, departing for a moment from the substance, the real overarching theme here seems to be something else. Something much more important. Of the signees, the Slacktivist writes:

"Their own awesomeness is a topic the authors address with relentless relish. Everything else in the document is merely a foil for this central subject. The threat of The Gay is grave, ominous and potentially world-altering, they warn, repeatedly, before reassuring us that their heroic resolve and moral superiority will save the day....

The whole thing is like that -- like a bad parody of the St. Crispin's Day speech from Henry V. Except of course that Henry was outnumbered. Here instead we have a group of powerful elites, men at the center of political, cultural, academic and ecclesiastical privilege bemoaning their oppression at the hands of the homosexuals and religious minorities they claim run the world. They are overlords posing as underdogs. (It's hard out there for a pope.)"

This dramatic pseudo-victimhood, of course, is Maggie Gallagher and Brian Brown's forte. Not surprisingly, both National Organization for [Heterosexual] Marriage (NOM) leaders are signees. Whether they're creating campy overly-dramatic "Gathering Storm" ads, inventing the Poor Carrie Prejean narrative, or breathlessly branding themselves victims of Homosexualist McCarthyism, NOM's running story arc is that those who believe marriage must include a mommy and a daddy are being persecuted by the Mean and Incredibly Powerful Homosexual Mob and that they are so very goshdarn brave for standing up to it!

Aside from the self-aggrandizement and over-infatuation with its own faux-martyrdom, the worst feature of the Manhattan Declaration is that it falls into that unfortunate fundamentalist tendency to use "god" to justify oppression, rather than to transcend it.

Shorter them:

1) We know what the "non-negotiable" truth is;

2) The truth is, abortion is wrong and marriage is only for one man and one woman; and

3) If our legal system recognizes other "truths," our own religious freedom is being trampled upon.

4) And p.s. have we mentioned how awesome and brave we are for publicly stating these truths?

Later on this week, we will look at the Manhattan Declaration in a little more detail. Today, I thought we needed to devote our full attentions to basking in the aura of the awesome Christian awesomeness that is emanating from this document.

Please, try to contain yourselves.

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