A group of prominent Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical Christian leaders will release a historic 4,700-word document Friday that addresses the sanctity of life, traditional marriage and religious liberty.
The document, known as the Manhattan Declaration, issues a clarion call to Christians to adhere to their convictions and informs civil authorities that the signers will not – under any circumstance – abandon their Christian consciences.
"We are Christians who have joined together across historic lines of ecclesial differences to affirm our right – and, more importantly, to embrace our obligation – to speak and act in defense of these truths,” reads a portion of the declaration, which to date has been signed by over 125 Christian leaders. “We pledge to each other, and to our fellow believers, that no power on earth, be it cultural or political, will intimidate us into silence or acquiescence."
Drafted by Dr. Robert George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University; Dr. Timothy George, professor at Samford University's Beeson Divinity School; and Chuck Colson, founder The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview; the document claims its signers “recognize the duty to comply with laws whether we happen to like them or not,” but also affirmed that they would not comply if the laws were “gravely unjust or require those subject to them to do something unjust or otherwise immoral."
“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,” the declaration states.
“[N]or will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriage or the equivalent or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family," it adds.
On his radio show Wednesday, Colson called the Manhattan Declaration “probably the most important document I’ve ever signed.”
“I believe it is time for the Church in this country to stand up for religious freedom,” said the prominent evangelical leader on BreakPoint.
“The Church needs to understand the urgency of the hour and do its duty,” he added.
The full text of the document will be made public at noon Friday at a press conference featuring a number of the signers, including Donald William Wuerl, Archbishop of the Catholic Diocese of Washington; Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council; Jim Daly, president and CEO of Focus on the Family; and the three authors of the document.
Some time after the press conference, the document will also be made available on the website ManhattanDeclaration.org.