Over 151 Christian leaders from all sorts of different denominations and organizations have signed a document called the ‘Manhattan Declaration’ which is a call for Christians to stand together on a number of major moral issues that face America. The following three points summarize the major issues addressed by the document :
1. The sanctity of human life
2. The dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife
3. The rights of conscience and religious liberty.
Here’s the final paragraph of the document which reflects these key areas of concern:
“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 and marriage and the family. 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.”
Response: There is a real concern among many Christian leaders that religious freedom in this country is beginning to be challenged by recent legislation. The country seems to be pulling away from its Judeo-Christian moorings and different values are now being touted by many. The purpose of the document is to make it plain that Christian institutions answer to a higher power and will not change with the tide of popular opinion or compromise basic Christian teachings and moral values.
The sanctity of life and God ordained marriage between one man and one woman are issues the church cannot compromise on if it wants to remain faithful to the scriptures and the theological foundations of Christianity. Some more progressive churches and leaders might evolve and change but the following leaders declare that they will remain faithful “in season or out” whether it is popular or not.
The document raises the issue of possible ‘civil disobedience’ which the church has had to face in the past and continues to face in the present. In the first generation, Christianity was at times outlawed by the Romans and many were martyred. Even today, there are lands where it is illegal to preach the Gospel and convert new members to Christ and yet the Gospel continues to be preached and the body of Christ continues to grow in spite of it all.
In some ways Christians in America have been spoiled and for much of our history the culture has been supportive of Christian Values and morality. Now we are living in times when the dominant American culture seems to be pulling away from the very foundational values and morals that made this country great.
It is time to stand up and be counted regardless—that’s what these Christian leaders have decided to do. Here’s a link if you want to sign on to the document. Over 5,000 signatures so far.