1.At the textual level, the answer is no. You only have to compare the text of ECT with the text of the Manhattan Declaration to see the difference.
2.There is, however, a subtextual argument. Did the framers have an ulterior, interfaith agenda?
To my knowledge, Robert George is an observant Catholic, so I assume he’s ecumenical to the extent that the Vatican is ecumenical.
I don’t know that this amounts to an agenda on his part. I assume his primary contribution to the document lay in drafting the sanctity-of-life provisions. He’s a bioethicist. That’s his field.
To my knowledge, Timothy George and Chuck Colson are fairly aggressive ecumenists. So it’s quite possible–maybe probable–that they used this document as a pretext to further their ecumenical aims.
3.In that respect, the document suffers from a conflicting agenda. And that, in my opinion, is one of its principal weaknesses.
4.At the same time, we need to draw a rudimentary, but often overlooked, distinction between the intent of the framers and the intent of the signatories.
Objections to the Manhattan Declaration frequently parallel debates within the religious right every election cycle.
The assumption seems to be that signing the document constitutes a wholesale endorsement of the document. But that’s rather naïve.
It’s like saying a registered Republican must swear by every plank in the party platform. But of course, that’s not how it works in real life. A voter can be quite selective.
Signatories may have different intentions than framers. Likewise, one signatory may have different intentions than another signatory.
A signatory isn't bound by the intentions of the framers. This is not a contract. Likewise, the same document may be put to more than one use.
Of course, a document may be so flawed or skewed that it’s fairly useless. In my opinion, the Manhattan Declaration is too muddled and obsequious to be very useful. It’s at cross-purposes with itself. In that respect, the framers, if they did have an ulterior agenda, unwittingly sabotaged their own efforts.
5.Two final points:
i) It’s not enough to simply attack the document. One should also present an alternative. And that needs to be done by contributors who are at least as prominent as the contributors to the Manhattan Declaration.
ii) Of course, there’s also the question of whether issuing a piece of paper is the most efficient use of our time. Perhaps we need fewer words and more deeds.
For example, signatories to the Manhattan Declaration include representatives of the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox denominations. Yet both those institutions are long on words, but short on actions–starting with church discipline.