Catholics, evangelicals pledge to ignore LGBT and abortion rights laws


Religious right leaders announced Friday that they won’t abide by laws that support gay marriage or abortion. One hundred and twenty-five members of the religious right and leaders from the Catholic church signed the Manhattan Declaration. Only one signer was from Minnesota: Archbishop John Nienstedt (pictured) of the Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.

The Manhattan Declaration is the religious right’s line in the sand: They’re vowing to ignore any laws that contradict their worldview. The document reads:

Therefore, let it be known that we will not comply with any edict that compels us or the institutions we lead to participate in or facilitate abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide, euthanasia, or any other act that violates the principle of the profound, inherent, and equal dignity of every member of the human family.

Further, let it be known that we will not bend to any rule forcing 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, marriage, and the family.

Further, let it be known that we will not be intimidated into silence or acquiescence or the violation of our consciences by any power on earth, be it cultural or political, regardless of the consequences to ourselves.

The Human Rights Campaign immediately lashed out at the signers of the Manhattan Declaration, pointing out that LGBT-rights groups have gone to great pains to make laws that protect both LGBT people and people of faith.

“This declaration simply perpetuates the fallacy that equality and religious liberty are incompatible and that every step toward fairness for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community is another burden on religious people. In reality, non-discrimination laws are working all over this country, where religious freedom is existing side-by-side with equal opportunity,” Harry Knox, director of the Human Rights Campaign’s Religion and Faith Program, said in a statement. “Advocates of LGBT equality have taken great pains in their legislative efforts to ensure that the rights of religious organizations and people under the First Amendment are protected. It is deeply cynical for the authors of this document to paint themselves as victims because they cannot have a free hand to discriminate, including with taxpayer dollars.”