In November 2009 and with great fanfare, religious right activists unveiled the Manhattan Declaration which called for civil disobedience over issues important to conservative Christians and called for a blurring of the wall of separation of church and state.
Originally signed by 150 leaders of the religious right, promoters believed that the Manhattan Declaration would receive at least 1 million online signatures within a month because of its stance against gay marriage and abortion. That failed to materialize when the count barely surpassed half a million signatures after three years. The Manhattan Declaration website has since removed its signature counter.
Things did not turn out well for religious right activists in the 2012 election. Marriage equality was passed by voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington, and Minnesota voters rejected a constitutional ban on same sex marriage. An Iowa Supreme Court justice who had ruled for marriage equality retained his seat on the judiciary. Anti-abortion candidates such as Todd Akin were defeated. Not surprisingly, supporters of the Declaration's call for civil disobedience over these types of issues are renewing their calls after the Nov. 6 election.
The Family Research Council, a Christian conservative activist group that helped to fuel the Christian values voter effort, held a 74-minute "Election 2012: Aftermath and Aftershocks" webcast the day after the election. Tom McClusky, Senior Vice President, FRC Action, told the Family Research Council's president Tony Perkins that "civil disobedience" will now be necessary for people who refuse to recognize same-sex marriages. The People for the American Way's Right Wing Watch condensed the lengthy Family Research Council webcast to show the "civil disobedience" discussion:
Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, a Catholic group that opposes abortion, issued a statement calling for an "unwavering commitment" to civil disobedience:
The collision course of the Obama Administration with the Catholic Church could have been averted yesterday, but now it is assured instead.
It is therefore time to recommit ourselves to the basics: a clear proclamation of the truth, an uncompromising fidelity to our principles, and an unwavering commitment to civil disobedience.
Many in Church leadership failed to connect the dots between personnel and policy. They prayed and preached against the HHS mandate, but then were silent about the election, and called the police to remove citizens who leafleted the Church parking lot trying to inform voters about where the candidates stood on this issue.
Meanwhile, the national pro-life groups have done outstanding work in this year's election, with initiatives, creativity, and energy as great as I have ever seen, and there is no doubt that the election results would have been far worse without that activity.
The pro-life cause will prevail in America. In the elections of 2014, we will work for a pro-life Senate majority to further blunt the ability of President Obama to damage the cause of life.
Commentator Glenn Beck isn't urging civil disobedience. He's advising his audience to buy farmland and guns, and pull the kids out of public schools.