The Manhattan Declaration
Well, this is the trajectory of the modern Christian right. Its leaders have signed this declaration, further entwining religion and politics, and further entrenching the culture wars in the useless “us against them” language that has proved so ineffective for so long.
I prefer the Nicene Creed, myself.
But we’d have to be naive or worse to think that either the religious right or the most extreme secularists on the left have any intention of letting go of this fight anytime soon. It pays dividends to be at war, even if only the participants of that war reap the benefits and everyone else is a casualty of some sort. Peacemakers would find a way to compromise, not because compromise has any inherent value in and of itself, but because there are times when fighting a war endlessly does more damage than good. In fact, I’d say almost all wars fit that description.
The Christian right should back off the gay marriage fight and focus more on pro-life issues – and not merely abortion, but also the death penalty and war. The left isn’t nearly as organized in these matters, and will likely suffer defeat simply by having one fewer cause to take up arms against.
Both sides are reactionary. There is much in popular culture that is negative or downright hostile toward Christianity, and not merely conservative Christianity but religion in general and the faithful as a population. Similarly, religious organizations are trying far too hard to limit the rights of others and simply backing down on the gay marriage front could go a long ways to quieting the anti-religious fervor on the left. Handled properly, religious liberty isn’t at stake, but if this war goes on too long it could become an issue.
This is not to say that either side should give up its principles, only that they should prioritize, and look to long-term strategies. I think married gay people could even become strong conservative allies in the future, but not until this current climate of anti-gay rhetoric and policy comes to an end. Look to the UK, which is at once embracing a much more religious conservatism in its new brand of Red Toryism and a much more positive attitude toward gays. It can be done, and it should be done. Marriage is a force for good in a civilization, and that force for good counts when the people in question are gay or straight.