For your consideration: The Manhattan Declaration

manhattandeclarationFive years ago, a large and varied group of religious leaders agreed on a few things. Just the basics: life, marriage, liberty – plus the fact that all three are under varying degrees of attack. Result: the Manhattan Declaration. The last line ought to be enough to pique your curiosity about the rest of it.

 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.

(One of the three principal drafters of the document was the late Charles Colson, about whom I wrote briefly upon his death in 2012.)

The Manhattan Declaration web site has a link to the document itself – truly, worth a look – along with a list of the original signatories, and an invitation to add your own name. Be warned: this is a countercultural document.

Because the sanctity of human life, the dignity of marriage as a union of husband and wife, and the freedom of religion are foundational principles of justice and the common good, we affirm:

  • 1. The profound, inherent, and equal dignity of every human life
  • 2. Marriage as a union of one man and one woman
  • 3. Religious liberty and the inherent freedom of human beings

If you’re rushed, just take a few minutes to go to the web site and check the list of the original signers. It’s an encouraging list in its size and variety.

Half a million people have signed on to the Declaration in the past five years. I hope it continues to inspire and encourage people – and churches! – for years to come.


Chuck Colson, RIP

Chuck Colson died today at the age of 80.  I owe him thanks,  and so does anyone else who holds dear religious freedom and the right to life.

When I first heard of him, he was a villain of the Watergate scandal. I was a teenager at that time, in the early stages of political activism, and Watergate’s figures were clearly divided in my view between the Good Guys & the Bad Guys. Colson was decidedly and unapologetically one of the Bad Guys, seeming to deserve the media characterization of him as a “hatchet man” for Nixon. He wound up in prison for a brief time, where he experienced deep and fundamental conversion of heart. Like many people, I was skeptical that a “Bad Guy” could change.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. I was humbled to realize how mistaken I could be. He wore himself out in life-affirming ministries, most famously prison ministry. He was instrumental in publishing the 2009 Manhattan Declaration, “a call to Christian conscience.” He was a champion of ecumenical progress.

May he rest in peace.