by Dave Boehi
Today marks the release of a significant document that Charles Colson says is "one of the most important documents produced by the American church, at least in my lifetime." The Manhattan Declaration, he writes, is a "wake-up call—a call to conscience—for the church. It is also a crystal-clear message to civil authorities that we will not, under any circumstances, stand idly by as our religious freedom comes under assault."
The document, signed by 148 religious leaders, including Dennis Rainey, President of FamilyLife, is a strong, biblical statement that focuses on three issues: the sanctity of human life, the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife, and the rights of conscience and religious liberty. As the Manhattan Declaration website says:
Inasmuch as these truths are foundational to human dignity and the well-being of society, they are inviolable and non-negotiable. Because they are increasingly under assault from powerful forces in our culture, we are compelled today to speak out forcefully in their defense, and to commit ourselves to honoring them fully no matter what pressures are brought upon us and our institutions to abandon or compromise them. We make this commitment not as partisans of any political group but as followers of Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Lord, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Another key statement, from the declaration itself:
". . . 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 marriage or the equivalent or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family."
It's worth reading the entire document, which includes strong sections on each of the three issues discussed. Click here to download The Manhattan Declaration.
It will be interesting to read the reaction over the next few days, because the Manhattan Declaration addresses some of the most controversial issues of our day. My prediction: Plenty of name-calling, hysteric indignation and accusations that Christians are plotting to take away the liberties of everyone who disagrees with them. As one person wrote in a comment on a Washington Post blog post by one of the Manhattan Declaration authors, "The Taliban are thriving here in America. The 'Manhattan Declaration' is their war cry against the freedoms of everyone else."