Monday, November 30, 2009

Manhattan Declaration

It’s always exciting when Christians stand up for the fundamental truths. So often we are either confused, complacent, or unwilling to speak out on justice and the common good of our communities. But a recent new declaratory statement signed by a large number of Evangelicals, Roman Catholics and East Orthodox Christians has recently appeared on the internet. This is the Manhattan Declaration, a statement taking a detailed position in favor of the sanctity of human life, the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union between one man and one woman, and the importance of the rights of conscience and religious liberty. These are three of the great issues of our time and it is really wonderful to see a comprehensive declaration dealing with these three areas at once. To see the Manhattan Declaration and add your signature in support, go to the following link:


Jordan said...

I'd really like to hear your opinion on a critique of the Manhattan Declaration I've seen. The concern was that point 3 of the declaration (the rights of conscience and religious liberty) is contradicted if the first 2 points (the sanctity of human life and the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife) are pushed into areas of conscience and government. Is that an unnecessary fear?

I guess the question, put shortly, is, "How do we promote the sanctity of human life and the dignity of marriage while simultaneously promoting freedom of conscience and religious liberty?"

Dean McConnell said...


This is a reasonable question, but to be honest, I don't see any conflict in the declarations terms. The Manhattan Declaration states in part:

"Christians confess that God alone is Lord of the conscience. 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. What is true for individuals applies to religious communities as well.

It is ironic that those who today assert a right to kill the unborn, aged and disabled and also a right to engage in immoral sexual practices, and even a right to have relationships integrated around these practices be recognized and blessed by law—such persons claiming these “rights” are very often in the vanguard of those who would trample upon the freedom of others to express their religious and moral commitments to the sanctity of life and to the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife"

These two paragraphs integrate the three parts of the declaration and define what is meant by freedom of conscience to mean not being coerced to adopt a religion and not being forced to act against conscience. No one is being forced to act against a good faith religious belief or forced to believe what they do not by laws against killing the innocent or framing the family in as a conjugal union of one man and one woman who are not close relatives and who are of age.

Dean McConnell said...

Jordan's question is important enough that I am going to work on a blog post of freedom of religion to address the concerns I think are behind it.

marry said...
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