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Christian leaders unite against Gay political issues
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Christian leaders unite against Gay political issues

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Staff Writer

Citing the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s call to civil disobedience, more than 150 Christian leaders - a majority of which are conservative evangelicals and traditional Roman Catholics - issued a joint declaration on November 20 reaffirming their opposition to Gay marriage.

The 4,700-word document, called "The Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience," states the organization's disdain for Gay issues, but also says they will not cooperate with laws that they say, could be used to compel their institutions to "participate in abortions, or to bless or in an way recognize same-sex couples."

"We pledge to each other, and to our fellow believers, that no power on earth, be it cultural or political, will intimidate us into silence or acquiescence," the document reads.

The declaration, released to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on November 20, states that opening a legal door for Gay marriage would do the same for "polyamorous partnerships, polygamous households, even adult brothers, sisters, or brothers and sisters living in incestuous relationships."

The document was written by prominent evangelical Charles Colson; Robert P. George, a professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University, who is Catholic; and the Rev. Timothy George, dean of Beeson Divinity School, an evangelical interdenominational school on the campus of Samford University, in Birmingham, Alabama.

The manifesto is seen as an effort to rejuvenate the political alliance of conservative Catholics and evangelicals who want to signal to the Obama administration and to Congress that they are still a formidable force that will not compromise on abortion, stem-cell research or Gay marriage.

The signers include nine Roman Catholic archbishops and the primate of the Orthodox Church in America; Focus on the Family founder James Dobson; National Association of Evangelicals president Leith Anderson; seminary leaders, professors and pastors who hope to influence current debates over health care reform, the same-sex marriage bill in Washington, D.C., and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The document also calls on younger Christians who have become involved in issues such as climate change and global poverty, as well as whose who are accepting of homosexuality, saying they need reminding that abortion, homosexuality and religious freedom are still principal issues.

Gay rights advocates say the document is "fear-mongering." The First Amendment and conscience clauses that allow medical professionals and hospitals to opt out of performing certain procedures, and religious exemptions written into same-sex marriage bills, protect religious organizations. The only points of contention could involve groups that provide social services to the public. Such organizations could be obligated to provide social services to Gay people or provide spousal benefits to married Gay employees - laws that conservative evangelicals say they will not follow.

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