Last Friday I was privileged to stand with Chuck Colson, Jim Daly, Robert George, Archbishop Wuerl, Tony Perkins, Alan Sears, Cardinal Rigali, and over 20 others to represent the first 150 signers of a document called The Manhattan Declaration.
Why the name? The group met a few weeks ago in Manhattan where we read a draft of the document. It was there we concluded that we had to bridge the huge historic chasms separating the major branches of the Christian faith. The famed Chuck Colson along with co-initiators issued a call to all Christians that we must remain true to our core convictions, based upon the scriptures. The group also came together to let the secular community know that increasingly Christians from Catholic, Evangelical, and Orthodox traditions will work together and speak with one voice.
A critical line of the declaration states, “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.” In our estimation this means that civil disobedience may well be a part of the stony path we must tread. The document lays out the group’s views on the value of human life, the concept and role of the family, and religious liberties.
Christianity is not merely a set of doctrines or beliefs; it lives out the ideals set forth in the Bible. This compels us as Christians to commit now, more than ever, to reaffirm the biblical truths that support the common good in our land. We must stand against any pressure that is brought to bear against our Christian ideals in these areas: the definition of marriage, the sanctity of life, and religious liberty. I have sought to paraphrase the documents' major summary statements below, along with an exhortation for Christians everywhere to join us as signers.
The Definition of Marriage
Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.