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The Manhattan Declaration and why we didn't sign it

150,000 Americans have already signed the Manhattan Declaration, released last week. But not us.

"We are Orthodox, Catholic, and evangelical Christians who have united at this hour to reaffirm fundamental truths about justice and the common good, and to call upon our fellow citizens, believers and non-believers alike, to join us in defending them. These truths are:

  1. the sanctity of human life

  2. the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife

  3. the rights of conscience and religious liberty."

The loudest voice on my radar in favor of the MD was Big Al Mohler, who is "not usually inclined" to sign petitions or declarations. The ultra-conservatives booed it down, mainly because of the presence of the Catholics and Orthodox or assuming it was a statement about the gospel. Steve Camp called it the "New Downgrade and John MacArthur rejected it as he did the Evangelicals and Catholics Together document. The liberals tended to shy away from it also.

I read it through with my American wife. The reason we didn't sign it is not because we didn't affirm the 3 points, because we did. Nor is it about the ecclesiastic bedfellows with funny hats and robes. In fact, I think it is healthy to not forsake the assembling of ourselves around issues we agree on. It sends a signal that there is one church, bigger than we think and smaller at the same time, which, surprisingly, is true. Our decision not to sign has more to do with not knowing how our vote will be used in the long tail of American politics.

And besides that, I really believe societal change happens from the grassroots, when people make friends and tell stories, more than trying to push papers to politicians. When the church forgets how to make friends and tell stories, they have to resort to less personal, less effective means.

I have 3 stories that come to mind about choices we have made:

[hey - i made a boo-boo here. My 3 stories have disappeared because i downloaded this post into iblogger on my iphone and the extended part didnt make it. when it resent the post, it lost them. I will repost them on a different post, maybe tomorrow.]