Southern Religion

Christian Right call for civil disobedience [Update]

The Manhattan Declaration

Some 150 Christian leaders, mostly Religious Right protestants and conservative Roman Catholics, issued today a 4,700-word restatement of their opposition to abortion and gay marriage and support for religious freedoms and call for civil disobedience. They call their statement the Manhattan Declaration.

The group concludes with a reference to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and calling for civil disobedience in response to their causes:

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.

Just as this morning’s sunrise is unique to today, it is an “unprecedented coalition,” as the Catholic News Agency asserts. CNS also says:

The Manhattan Declaration is the result of several months of dialogue among Orthodox, Catholic, and evangelical Christian leaders culminating in a gathering of approximately 100 leaders in New York City on September 28, 2009.

Attendees considered an early draft of the “Manhattan Declaration, A Call of Christian Conscience,” but the document was entrusted to a drafting committee that included Dr. Timothy George of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University, Dr. Robert P. George of Princeton University, and renowned Evangelical leader Charles Colson.

The signatories explained that they speak now because in order “to defend principles of justice and the common good that are now under assault.”

Anyone who has closely followed the political battles over health care, gay marriage and abortion will recognize the themes and arguments of the document, all reflected in the associated Web site.

Signatories predictably include 15 Roman Catholic bishops, among them New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan and Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl; Focus on the Family founder James Dobson; National Association of Evangelicals president Leith Anderson; Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; Richard Land, president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; various other seminary leaders, professors and pastors.

More about this Manhattan Declaration later.


With hyperventilating certainty about the future Chuck Colson declares the Manhattan Declaration “one of the most important documents produced by the American church, at least in my lifetime.”

November 20, 2009 - Posted by | Politics, Religion, SBC | , , , , ,

1 Comment

  1. How very brave to stand up for Scripture. This stand may
    call for civil disobedience which could result in prosecution by our government. I pray it will never come
    to gov. prosecution: however, we must draw a line and take
    a stand. Carol Dieffenderfer

    Comment by Carol Dieffenderfer | November 23, 2009

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