Christian Leaders Sign "Manhattan Declaration"
Special Report - November 23, 2009
Over 125 Catholic, Orthodox and evangelical Christian leaders have signed a landmark declaration pledging their united commitment to stand for and defend three foundational Biblical principles (the sanctity of human life, marriage, and religious liberty) in the face of mounting attacks. The “Manhattan Declaration” was released at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on November 20. The 4,732-word statement was drafted by Dr. Robert George of Princeton University, Dr. Timothy George of Samford University, and Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship Ministries. It is described as a “clarion call to Christians to adhere to their convictions,” but it is also addressed to the President, Congress and civil authorities, with the promise “that the signers will notunder any circumstanceabandon their Christian consciences.”
The declaration begins by recognizing the rich history of Christian engagement in every aspect of society, particularly in defending the vulnerable and protecting the innocent. It also notes the mounting attacks on the sanctity of human life, the institutions of marriage and family, and religious freedom. It states, in part: “We are Christians who have joined together across historic lines of ecclesial differences to affirm our rightand, more importantly, to embrace our obligationto speak and act in defense of these truths. We pledge to each other, and to our fellow believers, that no power on earth, be it cultural or political, will intimidate us into silence or acquiescence."
The declaration affirms the following three specific “foundational principles of justice and the common good”:
- “The profound, inherent, and equal dignity of every human being as a creature fashioned in the very image of God, possessing inherent rights of equal dignity and life;”
- “Marriage as a conjugal union of man and woman, ordained by God from the creation, and historically understood by believers and non-believers alike, to be the most basic institution in society” and;
- “Religious liberty, which is grounded in the character of God, the example of Christ, and the inherent freedom and dignity of human beings created in the divine image.”
On the issue of the sanctity of human life, the declaration pledges to “be united and untiring in our efforts to roll back the license to kill that began with the abandonment of the unborn to abortion.” On the defense of marriage, the declaration notes that Christians are driven out of love, not “animus” toward homosexuals, and promises to “labor ceaselessly to preserve the legal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman and to rebuild the marriage culture.” Finally, it ends by emphasizing that the signers “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.”
The “Manhattan Declaration” is signed by a total of 149 individuals, including: Josh McDowell (Christian apologist, author), Dr. James Dobson (founder, Focus on the Family), Dinesh D’Souza (author, speaker), Dr. William C. Donahue (Catholic League), Kay Arthur (Precept Ministries), Dr. Richard Land (Religious and Ethics Commission, Southern Baptist Convention), Marvin Olasky (editor, World magazine), Stuart Epperson (founder, CEO Salem Communications), Dr. Daniel Akin (Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest), Alex McFarland (president, Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte), Donald William Wuerl (Archbishop of Washington, Diocese of Washington, D.C.), Dennis Rainey (Family Life), Ravi Zacharias (Ravi Zacharias International) and Leith Anderson (National Association of Evangelicals), among others.
To download a copy of the Manhattan Declaration or to sign the declaration, go here.
Copyright © 2009. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.