On Nov. 20, the historic Manhattan Declaration was unveiled, just what my distraught spirit had been yearning. I became its 218,525th signer.
The Manhattan Declaration is a momentous 4,700-word manifesto authored by Chuck Colson, Dr. Robert George and Dr. Timothy George, with input from many Orthodox, Catholic and evangelical leaders. Colson calls it "one of the most important [documents] in my lifetime."
The Manhattan Declaration draws a line in the sand on the three paramount issues of our time: the sanctity of human life, the sanctity of marriage as the holy and conjugal union of husband and wife, and the rights of religious liberty and conscience.
Its bottom line is this, as the last paragraph states:
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.
Manhattan Declaration drafters are inviting all like-minded believers to sign on, but the potential ramifications for doing so are sobering.
As Dr. James Dobson explained on his Nov. 23 Focus on the Family radio program, insofar as his signing of the Manhattan Declaration pertained to passage of socialized health care with publicly funded abortion:
I don't say this glibly at all. … Shirley and I will not be able to comply. That is absolutely untenable to us, because it would make us participants in the killing of babies, and we can't and we won't do that. Now I don't know where all of this is leading or what the implications of it are, but if we have to pay ruinous fines, or have to go to prison, or even if we have to leave this beloved country and spend the rest of our lives in exile, that's what we are prepared to do.
This must be the mettle of Manhattan Declaration signers.
Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and pro-aborts may have thought their biggest obstacle to publicly funded abortions in socialized health care were Catholic bishops.
They were wrong.
Now, by signing the Manhattan Declaration, a growing number of resolute pro-lifeAmericans say they are willing to endure sanctions, imprisonment and even expatriation to defy involvement with abortion in any way, either with their tax dollars or by compulsory participation in preborn child killing.
As Dobson stated on that same program, if our values are "not preserved at this moment of destiny, this nation and most others in the Western world will fold, and freedom itself will go down with it."
To date approximately 250,000 have signed the Manhattan Declaration. These include 168 religious leaders, many whose names you will recognize:
* 18 Roman Catholic bishops: Aquila, Baker, Chaput, Cordileone, DiMarzio, Dolan, Kurtz, Maida, Malone, Morlino, Myers, Naumann, Nienstedt, Olmsted, Rigali, Sheridan, Wuerl, Zubik
* 9 bishops from other denominations: Akinola (Anglican), Bates (Charismatic Episcopal), Duncan (Anglican), Essey (Eastern Orthodox), Jonah (Eastern Orthodox), Kolini (Anglican), McKinney (Church of God), Minns (Anglican), Paffhausen (Eastern Orthodox)
* 11 editors and publishers of publications including Christianity Today, First Things, Ignatius Press, The Catholic Response, Touchstone, World Magazine
* 22 chancellors and presidents of these colleges, seminaries and universities: American Orthodox Institute, Calvin Theological Seminary, Cornerstone University, Covenant College, Covenant Theological Seminary, Crossroads Bible Institute, Dallas Theological Seminary, Fuller Theological Seminary, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Houston Baptist University, Moody Bible Institute, Oklahoma Wesleyan University, Patrick Henry College, Reformed Theological Seminary, St. Vincent College, St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Southern Evangelical Seminary, Trinity International University, Union University, Wheaton College
* 46 leaders of various ministries including Randy Alcorn (Eternal Perspective Ministries), Kay Arthur (Precept Ministries International), Gary Bauer (Campaign for Working Families), Jim Daly (Focus on the Family), Marjorie Dannenfelser (Susan B. Anthony List), James Dobson (Focus on the Family), William Donohue (Catholic League), Stuart Epperson (Salem Communications), Jonathan Falwell (Thomas Road Baptist Church), William Federer (Amerisearch Inc.), Maggie Gallagher (National Organization for Marriage), Harry Jackson Jr. (Hope Christian Church), Jerry Jenkins (co-author of the "Left Behind" book series), Richard Land (The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC), Josh McDowell, (Josh McDowell Ministries), Tony Perkins (Family Research Council), Dennis Rainey (FamilyLife), Alan Sears (Alliance Defense Fund), Joni Eareckson Tada (Joni and Friends), Ravi Zacharias (Ravi Zacharias International Ministries)
In my mind, signing the Manhattan Declaration is the closest I'll come to understanding the thoughts and feelings of those signing the Declaration of Independence. Those men were willing to pay the ultimate price to stand against tyranny.
With the liberal push to increase acceptance and involvement with abortion and homosexual marriage via socialized health care and "hate crimes" prosecution, it's our turn.
Sign the Manhattan Declaration at www.ManhattanDeclaration.org.