Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Manhattan Declaration

In the three years of shrieking here on the Catbird Seat, I've endeavored not to be a "bandwagon blogger". Instead, I've purposely delayed comment in order to provide a more thought through response. I wanted this principle to especially apply to the recently released Manhattan Declaration, recently made public on November 20th. This declaration, released by a significant number of leading Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican and Evangelical leaders and luminaries speaks directly to watershed issues, seminal to the historic Christian faith, namely:

  • Life
  • Marriage
  • Religious Liberty

In the issue of life, the signatories give immediate and primary recognition to the truth that Life is created and sustained by the hand of the Almighty. Additionally, it gives credence to the position of Christ Jesus is the giver of abundant life. The document speaks to what John Paul II referred to as the "Culture of Death" the institution of abortion, post-natal or palliative euthanasia, and embryonic stem cell research.

Though the language of the life statement is firmly rooted in historic, orthodox Christian thought, the Declaration adopted a more global view in speaking to the horrors of our "modern" world to include Genocide, Ethnic Cleansing, Human Trafficking/the trafficking of girls and young women, racial oppression and discrimination.

In the issue of marriage, the signatories absolutely repudiated both the ideas of polyamory/polygamy, and homosexual coupling as viable, healthy human relationships. Heterosexual, monogamous relationships between a single male and female partner are seen as having been created, ordained and blessed by the Almighty. The institution is further endorsed in the New Testament writings of Saint Paul.

Signatories to the document have a clear understanding that marriage is a covenantal relationship between a Holy God, a man and a woman. Clearly, how can the Holy One establish a covenantal relationship between two or more individuals enmeshed in behavior that is clearly proscribed by scripture? While the document also recognizes that there are individuals who are clearly bent towards homosexual behavior, they're no more stigmatized than others bent towards other sinful practice. Those in disagreement with this Declaration will be prepared to scream bigotry and squeal intolerance at the top of their voices, they'll be screaming into the faces of the Godhead.

The third component, speaking towards Religious Liberty, speaks the loudest. In fact, the spirit of the section could be encapsulated in the language lifted below:
"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."

In some of its strongest language, the Declaration loudly condemns the efforts of some in power to dismantle the Christian idea of "Freedom of Conscience". Loss of this freedom is nothing short of searing, naked tyranny.

This document will be repudiated by some of the strangest bedfellows. No surprise here, but the Declaration likely will be loudly and vociferously repudiated by bodies such as the Episcopal Church, UCC, UMC, MCC, ADL, ACLU, Barry Lynn, et al as being intolerant, bigoted and insensitive. Jack Chick, Independent Fundamental Baptists, KJV-Onlyists and some in benighted pentecostalism/mountain folk religionists will loudly condemn the Declaration and its signatories as a "papist plot" cobbled together by "agents" of Rome. Amazing. after two thousand years, opposition to truth still has a way of bring together the most unlikely.

Now, my two cents...

The Manhattan Declaration may well take its place with the Barmen Declaration in the story of orthodox Christianity as a declaration of resistance against emergent, atheistic socialism. And as was the case with some of the Barmen signatories, their well may be those who in these latter days, receive a martyr's crown as a consequence to having their names attached to this historic document.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i understand.