Some month or two ago now, I signed the Manhattan Declaration – a document which was originally aimed at the US Government, but which now seems to have taken on international status as a proclamation of the belief of the Leaders and Faithful of Christian Churches everywhere in :
+ the Sanctity of Human Life;
+ the Dignity of Marriage as the Conjugal Union of Husband & Wife;
+ the Rights of Conscience and Religious Liberty.
If you believe in these fundamental concepts – and every Catholic obviously ought to – then I do encourage you to sign the Declaration – which you can do here. (If you wish to, you can also look at the list of Religious Leaders who signed the Declaration originally; and it is notable that almost the entire Catholic Hierarchy of the US are featured, as well as a staggering selection of other Christian leaders)
Now : I was already proposing to post on this sometime in the next day or two anyway; but then, this morning, I saw this on His Hermeneuticalness’ blog; the proposal of Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats, that not only should children in State Schools be taught that same-sex relationships are 'normal and harmless', but that Faith Schools should be compelled to teach the same thing - regardless of the beliefs and teachings of the faith in question.
I think it must be apparent that this is exactly the sort of thing which the Manhattan Declaration is set up to counter . . . and here it is, now appearing in the UK, as well as the US.
‘For evil to triumph it is only necessary for good men to do nothing’; and although Edmund Burke almost certainly didn't say it, it is still absolutely true. These things are being put forward as ‘normal and harmless’; but those are not the words which the Church would use . . . the Church would rather things were called by their right names; indeed, the Church would rather ‘call a spade a b***** shovel’, if it will prevent people confusing innocent silliness with mortal sin.
Nick Clegg is, I believe, a generally decent man, and I can only assume that, as someone suggested, this is a bid for the ‘Pink Vote’ – the votes of the Gay & Lesbian community.
As Mr Clegg claims not to believe in God, there is clearly no point trying to make him see the error of his ways theologically; but perhaps he would like to consider a pragmatic argument based upon simple electoral mathematics.
I don’t know exactly how big the ‘Pink Vote’ is in the UK, so how many votes he might gain by this scheme : but I am quite certain that the total of the ‘Catholic Vote’, and the ‘Anglican Vote’, and the ‘Methodist / Baptist / URC Vote’, and the ‘Orthodox Vote’, and the ‘Muslim Vote’, and all the other ‘Faith Votes’, will greatly outnumber it . . . and those are the votes he will lose for his party if he does not withdraw this idea.
I have many Gay friends; and one of the most notable things about almost all of them is their enormous tolerance of almost all aspects of personal opinion. I am sure that even if they applaud the concept of this being taught in State Schools, they would be horrified to think that people with deep-seated religious convictions could be forced to teach it, against their consciences and the tenets of their religions, in Faith Schools.
Please, let me urge you not only to sign the Manhattan Declaration, to show your opposition to this sort of thing, and your support for real Human Rights, on a global level; let me also urge my Readers in the UK to notify your Liberal Democrat MP / Candidate that s/he will not receive your vote unless this idea is quashed totally. (If you want, you can also contact the Party Headquarters by email, and let them know what you think of this idea . . . and if every Catholic in England did so, I suspect it would die very quickly.)