Just the Beginning: The Manhattan Declaration

As I hope you know by now, last Friday, 20-some Christian leaders stood before the microphones at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.  Fox News, CNN, ABC News, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and more were there with cameras and microphones.

There, we announced the release of the Manhattan Declaration. And we proclaimed to the church—and put our nation’s leaders on notice—that we would protect the sanctity of life, that we would uphold the sacredness of marriage as a holy union between one man and one woman, and that we would defend religious freedom for all people.

There, in front of all those cameras and lights, Christian leaders lovingly, winsomely, and firmly took a stand. I will never forget the picture.  I stood between Archbishop Wuerl of Washington and Cardinal Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia. I looked over at Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Jim Daly of Focus on the Family, and Ron Sider, president of Evangelicals for Social Action.

To my left was the brilliant Bishop Harry Jackson, a man who has mobilized African American churches in the District to oppose gay “marriage.” And there was Fr. Chad Hatfield, chancellor of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary. I was missing only one man, my dear friend, the late Richard Neuhaus.

It was a foretaste of what we’re all going to see in heaven, when those of us who can truly trust the Bible, who love Christ with all our hearts, minds, and souls, are re-united in the presence of our gracious and loving God.

The response to this declaration has been amazing, and at times overwhelming. Just four days after the press conference, approaching 100,000 people have visited ManhattanDeclaration.org and agreed to sign this historic document.

And that’s what I am going to ask you to do today. Go to ManhattanDeclaration.org. Download the document. Read it. Sign it. And then, just as important, send the link to your friends, your families, your pastor, and your church groups.

Just imagine what could happen if we could say to the world that a million Christians have made this pledge—that we will not compromise the faith, no matter what.  I think that would have an extraordinary impact on American culture.

And just as important, I believe the Manhattan Declaration can help revitalize the church in America. One great weakness of the Church today is its biblical and doctrinal ignorance. This document is, in fact, a form of catechism for the foundational truths of the faith.

Now, opponents of the document have tried to paint it as a political tool—a way to resurrect the religious right. Nothing could be further from the truth.

This document is a clarion call to reach out to the poor and the suffering (which, as I mentioned at the press conference, is what caused me to go into the prisons for the last 34 years). The Manhattan Declaration underscores human rights, and calls on everyone to protect human dignity at every stage of life. The Manhattan Declaration was written for the common good and for justice, not for some political agenda.

It truly is the most important document I have ever put my name on. And now I ask that you put your name to it as well. Go to ManhattanDeclaration.org today.unction fbs_click() {u=location.href.substring(0,location.href.lastIndexOf(‘/’));t=document.title;window.open(‘http://www.facebook.com/sharer.php?u=’+encodeURIComponent(u)+’&t=’+encodeURIComponent(t),’sharer’,’toolbar=0,status=0,width=626,height=436′);return false;}

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