I am apparently not alone in my ability to make it through the day -- not to say week, month, and year -- without the light that the LAT shines on the world around me. Nor is the decline in readership unique to the Times, nor even to the fate of print journalism in this internet age. For more and more people are growing weary of what I have rather uncharitably called the pom-pom media, cheerleading for any and all social experiments -- regardless of how reckless -- as long as they carry the leftist trademark.
And so there are these days several reasons -- economic and political -- for news outlets like the Times to be fretful, but the November 28th editorial suggests there are psychological reasons as well, as some of the political strategies to which many leftists seem to think they have proprietary rights are being deployed by more traditional movements which are finally beginning to respond to the massive effort to redefine cultural, moral, and social reality that has been underway for decades.
Anyway, here it is. Try to imagine the Times getting on such a high horse about a proclamation urging civil disobedience in promotion of any of the causes fashionable in Malibu.
….Last week, a group of Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox leaders released a “declaration” reminding fellow believers that "Christianity has taught that civil disobedience is not only permitted, but sometimes required." Then, after a specious invocation of [Martin Luther] King, the 152 signers hurl this anathema at those who would enact laws protecting abortion or extending the rights of civil (not religious) marriage to same-sex couples:Go here to sign the Manhattan Declaration. Read its carefully written and quite sober defense of traditional moral and social realities.
"Because we honor justice and the common good, we will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force 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 and immorality. . . . We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar's. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God's."
…Strong words, but also irresponsible and dangerous ones. The strange land described in this statement is one in which a sinister secularist government is determined to force Christians to betray their principles about abortion or the belief that "holy matrimony" is "an institution ordained by God." The idea that same-sex civil marriage will undermine religious marriage is a canard Californians will remember from the campaign for Proposition 8, as is the declaration's complaint that Christian leaders are being prevented from expressing their "religious and moral commitments to the sanctity of life and to the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife."
…This apocalyptic argument for lawbreaking is disingenuous, but it is also dangerous. Did the Roman Catholic bishops who signed the manifesto consider how their endorsement of lawbreaking in a higher cause might embolden the antiabortion terrorists they claim to condemn? Did they stop to think that, by reserving the right to resist laws they don't like, they forfeit the authority to intervene in the enactment of those laws, as they have done in the congressional debate over healthcare reform? They need to be reminded that this is a nation of laws, not of men -- even holy men.
Hat Tip: California Catholic Daily.