It is unreasonable to believe that people in every nation love the country they live in, or that they would not likely emigrate to another country for obvious reasons such as escaping tyrannical dictators, depressed living conditions, less-than-hospitable geographical locations, or religious persecution. Americans are fortunate they have the freedom of, and from, religion thanks to the Founding Fathers who knew too well that left unchecked, religious leaders would persecute non-believers and impose harsh biblical laws on the entire population and make America an inhospitable country that citizens hated. There is a relatively large contingent of disgruntled citizens who seriously hate this country with a passion, and yet instead of fleeing America for their concept of Utopia, are Hell-bent on transforming America into a land Europeans emigrating to America sought to escape.
The election of an African American man as President in 2008 was absolutely intolerable for the great majority of racist evangelical Christians who, within a few months of Barack Obama’s inauguration, met and concocted a declaration that they would not rest until all Americans submitted to theocrats and decried the Constitution as obsolete and embraced the Christian bible as the law of the land. The document, the Manhattan Declaration, was written by evangelical leader Charles Colson who served prison time for his part in the Watergate scandal, Princeton law professor Robert P. George, and Beeson Divinity School dean Timothy George. The declaration reveals the authors and signatories’ intent to bring their biblical morality to bear on the government and society through religious tyranny founded on their bastardized Christianity and biblical morality laws. The declaration is contrary to the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal rights, freedom from religious imposition, and the Declaration of Independence’s pursuit of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that evangelicals believe are abominations.
Whether one just peruses the Manhattan Declaration, or studies it carefully, it is crystal clear its devotees hate everything about America, its people, the Constitution, liberty, free will, and equality for all. The declaration informs the level of hate evangelicals and the conservative Christians have for all aspects of American society including single parents, promiscuity, divorce, education, entertainment, government, science, laws, gays, and of course, Americans unwilling to bend to Christian domination. In fact, buried in the document is the statement that, “Immunity from religious coercion is the cornerstone of an unconstrained conscience. No one should be compelled to embrace any religion against his will,” and yet that is precisely what the thesis of the declaration informs is its intent.
Where the declaration exposes is the true nature of the religious right’s lie they are persecuted and victims because they are forbidden from imposing religion on the nation is the line; “nor should persons of faith be forbidden to worship God or express freely and publicly their deeply held religious convictions.” No-one in America is forbidden from worshipping god and the religious right knows it, but their definition of worship and public expression of their religious convictions means forcing them on the entire population; when they cannot, they claim their religious and moral commitments are trampled on. This sentiment permeates the declaration that is really nothing more than a manifesto advocating a Christian form of Sharia Law on the nation.
A great portion of the manifesto is devoted to “religious liberty” and “free exercise of religion” that was the basis of Arizona’s failed legal right to discriminate legislation and more recently; Hobby Lobby’s case before the Supreme Court. The goal of both Arizona Republicans, Hobby Lobby, and religious right movement in general is abolishing the 14th Amendment and laws against discrimination the “righteous” regard as tyranny, trampling their religious freedom, and prohibiting ”free exercise” to impose their religious will on the nation. According to the religious right declaration, “the use of anti-discrimination statutes force religious institutions, businesses, and service providers of various sorts to comply with activities they judge to be deeply immoral,” informing their true goal is imposing their Christian morality on as many Americans as possible by convoluting free exercise of religion with prohibiting Americans from engaging in ”activities they judge to be deeply immoral.” According to the manifesto’s long list of activities evangelical fundamentalists find deeply immoral, there is no aspect of American law, politics, government, society, or culture that escapes their definition of deeply immoral. Particularly the nation’s laws; including the United States Constitution.
The manifesto claims that “In recent decades a growing body of case law has paralleled the decline in respect for religious values in the media, academy, and political leadership. We view this as an ominous development.” What they view as ominous is the U.S. Constitution and its prohibition of religion imposing on Americans whether it is through the media, academia, or government and that is precisely what the manifesto’s thesis engenders; religious values, Christian religious values, its morality, and biblical laws forced on all aspects of society and culture. In fact, the Manhattan Declaration is an expression of Christian Dominionist’s intent and goal of dominating all aspects of American society.
It is a travesty that so many Americans, especially those on the left, dismiss the religious rights’ threat to their freedoms that goes far beyond forcing women to become perpetual birth machines or tormenting gays, because there is no aspect of society Christian tyrants will not target for their wrath; and it will be wrathful. There is a reason the religious right began decrying loss of religious freedom and that the President was waging a war on Christianity within a year of his inauguration; it coincided with the release of the Manhattan Declaration conservative Christians used to take advantage of racial animus toward the President. It also coincided with a well-executed claim the President was a Muslim and “the abortion president” that Republicans promoted through their silence and the preponderance of legislation targeting women’s reproductive rights.
The Manhattan Declaration is the thirty year culmination of the religious right’s entrance into the political arena thanks to Republican demigod Ronald Reagan, and although religious extremists in the Dominionism movement have been methodical in working behind the scenes to impose a Christian theocracy, there has never been anything resembling the blatant attempt to rule by bible that few Americans recognize as a credible threat. There was little outrage, or outright terror, at the Supreme Court’s recent ruling destroying the Separation of Church and State and Establishment of Religion when the Court’s Christian conservatives asserted sectarian prayers at government meetings was not only constitutional, but represented the “traditional ties between religion and government that date back to the nation’s earliest days.”
There is precious little any American can do to halt the march toward theocracy after the Supreme Court’s recent ruling, or the impending decision in the Hobby Lobby case giving free rein to any evangelical to ignore any law or statute if they claim it violates their “free exercise of religion.” There is nothing as dangerous as religion left unchecked, and according to the Manhattan Declaration there is no aspect of American society or culture that evangelical Christians will not attack with the same religious fervor of Europe’s Inquisition, Salem witch trials, or Taliban’s religious tyranny. If any American thinks for a minute they will not be targeted by the Christian right, they only need peruse the Manhattan Declaration and shudder because it reveals they hate everything about American society and culture that is not steeped in Old Testament dogmata. Most Americans are aware of how non-compliance was dealt with in the bible and if they are not, look at how the Taliban dealt with violations of Islamic law and substitute Islamic with conservative Christian.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.