Tuesday, November 24, 2009

conservative christian leaders tell followers to disobey

WaPo | Conservative Christian leaders unveiled a declaration Friday calling on Christians not to comply with rules and laws forcing them to accept abortion, same-sex marriage and other ideals that go against their religious doctrines.

The declaration urges Christians to practice civil disobedience to defend their convictions, even though some signers of the document backed away from the strong language.

The Catholic Archbishop of Washington, Donald W. Wuerl, was among the first signers of the Manhattan Declaration. He appeared at a news conference in the District on Friday to announce it, even as the Church was considering a city-proposed compromise on its same-sex marriage measure. Church officials say the bill, as it stands, would require faith groups, such as the church-run Catholic Charities, to extend benefits to married same-sex partners, an example of what the declaration's authors see as a violation of religious liberty law.

"We are Orthodox, Catholic, and evangelical Christians who have united at this hour to reaffirm fundamental truths about justice and the common good, and to call upon our fellow citizens, believers and non-believers alike, to join us in defending them," the declaration says. It lists the "fundamental truths" as the "sanctity of human life, the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife, and the rights of conscience and religious liberty."

The declaration is signed by more than 125 Orthodox, Catholic and evangelical leaders. Other leaders at the news conference at the National Press Club included Cardinal Justin Rigali, outgoing chairman of the U.S. Catholic bishops' Committee for Pro-Life Activities; Pentecostal leader Harry Jackson, pastor of a Beltsville church; and evangelical activist Tony Perkins. Other signers include evangelical leader and Watergate-era figure Chuck Colson and academics Timothy George and Robert George.

The leaders are urging the public to sign the online document.