Posted: November 23, 20099:02 pm Eastern
By Drew Zahn Â© 2009 WorldNetDaily
Over 150 Orthodox, Catholic and evangelical Christian leaders have signed the Manhattan Declaration, a pledge in defense of life, religious liberty and traditional marriage, a line in the sand of the culture war warning that Christians will resort to civil disobedience if necessary rather than retreat from these three moral principles.
"The Manhattan Declaration is a wake-up call â€“ a call to conscience â€“ for the church," writes Chuck Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries and co-author of the declaration. "It is also crystal-clear message to civil authorities that we will not, under any circumstances, stand idly by as our religious freedom comes under assault."
According to ManhattanDeclaration.org, over 47,000 others in the last few days have added their signatures to the list of 152 Christian leaders who have committed to the pledge.
The website states that the declaration calls upon all fellow citizens to join in defending "fundamental truths about justice and the common good," namely:
The sanctity of human life
The dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife
The rights of conscience and religious liberty. "Inasmuch as these truths are foundational to human dignity and the wellbeing of society, they are inviolable and nonnegotiable," the website states. "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."
The language of the Manhattan Declaration itself, however, is even more bold:
"We are Christians who have joined together across historic lines of ecclesial differences to affirm our right â€“ and, more importantly, to embrace our obligation â€“ to speak and act in defense of these truths," 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."
At a D.C. press conference last week, Dr. Robert George of Princeton University, one of three leaders who drafted the declaration, affirmed that if laws require Christian doctors and hospitals to perform abortion or euthanasia, if the government demands churches bless homosexual 'marriage' or any other dictates attempt to force Christians to act against their moral convictions, there will be no compromise. Recalling the actions of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. years before, George said there may even be call for Christians to engage in civil disobedience:
"We hope and pray that it does not come to this," George said, "that the impositions on conscience will not require anybody to practice civil disobedience. But if it comes to it, as it came to it for Dr. King on the great issue of racial justice, then we have to be prepared to make sacrifices."
Evangelical leader Chuck Colson, who with Dr. Robert George and Beeson Divinity School Professor Timothy George constituted the document's drafting committee, explained on Fox News network's "Huckabee" the significance of the declaration. Video of his interview with show host and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee can be seen below: http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=116974