First, some various posts on the Manhattan Declaration:
- The Manhattan Declaration: Is It Worth Signing?
- Manhattan Declaration
- I Respectfully Decline
- Al Mohler on Why He Signed The Manhattan Declaration
- Scripture Zealot
- Ken Silva – Apprising Ministries
- Why Conservatives Shouldn’t Make Manifestos
- I wish I could back the Manhattan Declaration
- The Manhattan Declaration and Evangelical Co-Belligerence
- To sign or not to sign
- What the Manhattan Declaration does not tell you
- The mainly male Manhattan Declaration
- No Compromise on the Gospel
- A Parable on the Manhattan Declaration
- Alistair Begg
- The Providence Declaration
- More Thoughts on the Manhattan Declaration
- Manhattan Declaration, very briefly
- Jon Cardwell
- Brian McLaren
- Ronald W. Di Giacomo
- Other signers and non-signers from TurretinFan
- The Manhattan Transfer: Why I Can’t sign the Manhattan Declaration
- Should we sign the Manhattan Declaration
- The fatuous foolishness of the Manhattan Declaration
- Feeding on Christ – More on the Manhattan Declaration
- Moriel Ministries – Our Regretful Inability to Sign
- A Response to the Manhattan Declaration
- A Criticism of the Manhattan Declaration I Agree with
- R.C. Sproul on the Manhattan Declaration
- What Does it Declare?
Essentially, it is this:
- the sanctity of human life
- the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife
- the rights of conscience and religious liberty.
I find it politically motivated and useless. First, you can guess about the motivations. Second, it is useless because the Scriptures already cover this. If you take a hard line (not necessarily even fundamentalist) view of Scripture, then what they have said will be ‘self-evident’ but if you do not, then no declarations or petitions or edicts will matter. By issuing this ‘edict’ I feel that they are drawing a line on morality. Morality is only ‘this.’ The nation’s moral issues are only ‘these.’ Further, I believe that the focus, especially on marriage, is only about preventing homosexual marriage with lip service given to the issues which matter to traditional values.
Marriages predate Christianity, and the examples of the Jewish Patriarchs leave us open to ridicule when we mention ‘Traditional Marriage.’ Traditionally, marriages were little more than property transfers, finding this even in the Hebrew Scriptures. And what do we say of the majority of Christian history with cultures who have used arranged marriages, which again, account for little more than property transfers. Note, I do not believe that the bible promotes this idea, but instead sees marriage as a ‘profound mystery’ which symbolizes the love of God and humanity; however, traditionally, marriage has not fallen under the purview of the Christian religion. We cannot assume, then, to judge marriage by our religion.
The issue, as I see it, is that we currently have two marriages. One civil, one religious. All religious marriages are recognized by the State (except polygamy, of course) but not all civil marriages are recognized by religious institutions. Example: A marriage after a divorce is not recognized by many churches. Marriages between religious affiliations (Say, Catholic and Judaism) may not be recognized by one religious group or another. I find it odd that several groups which have signed this document would normally, in their conservative wings, not recognize marriages between their group and another.
Yet, this Declaration wants to impose a very loosely defined and agreed upon marriage ideal upon a political system. They speak about religious liberty and the rights of the conscience. I assume that this means only the Christian religion and the Christian conscience, as long as you agree with them. What if the religious liberty of one ‘Christian’ group is to allow for and affirm gay marriage? Or polygamy? There are groups who claim Christianity and one of these ideas. Now, under this Declaration, you are supposed to allow for religious liberty, but what of the above mentioned folks? Does this Declaration then assign ‘Christian’ and dictate to whom religious liberty applies? I quote,
Immunity from religious coercion is the cornerstone of an unconstrained conscience. No one should be compelled to embrace any religion against his will, nor should persons of faith be forbidden to worship God according to the dictates of conscience or to express freely and publicly their deeply held religious convictions.
Well said, but they then would require, seemingly, that those who wish to hold liberty of religion be of the same religion(s) as those of the signers of this document. Indeed, they speak well of a ‘civil society’ and ‘rule of law’ and yet even in this document they call for repeal of civil rights, and a destruction of the fragile line between Church and State. For them, the State would protect their religious views, and deny others their own.
They are correct in that something must be done to protect religious groups from being forced – unless a life is at stake – to do work against their conscience. They are correct in more than just this stance.
Their focus is centered on preventing gay marriage, politically/legally I assume. But what about supporting and defending marriage between one man and one woman? Our Sunday Schools have classes for children, women, and men, but what of families? And where is the public outcry over divorce, shotgun weddings, and actually building a good marriage? Or the proper relationship of a husband and a wife. Yes, this Declaration covers some of this, but where is the great emphasis on the beam that is in our own eye? Namely, the destruction or ‘traditional’ marriage.
The sanctity of human life is of the utmost importance to me, yet, how many of these religious groups support the death penalty? Or believe that health care reform is evil? Or support abortion in the cases of rape, incest, or etc…?
Further, I personally agree with many of the positions that are found in this document, but the application, the focus, the ignoring of other moral issues besides those which are likely to appear in political elections as wedge issues, and in the end, and the goal which appears more overtly political than religious, I cannot sign it nor recommend and call for others to sign it.
On a side note, I find it odd that they quote the Epistle of Diognetus but forget the tenth chapter… I believe that the Gospel would better be served if more time was spent preaching Christ than writing these types of documents, especially since we do have a whole book about these things. I reckon that’s the end of my soapbox.