(’76 Editor) As a signer of the Manhattan Declaration on religious liberty, sanctity of life, and dignity of marriage, issued in November 2009, I received the following update from organizers Robert George, Timothy George, and Charles Colson. If you have not already signed, I urge you to click the link and do so at once.
Dear Colleague: Thank you for your support of the Manhattan Declaration. It is off to an amazing start – over 370,000 signers and growing. And it is indeed historic: Evangelicals, Catholics, Anglicans, and Eastern Orthodox Christians uniting to give common witness to the sanctity of human life, the dignity of marriage, and religious liberty for all persons.
But we need your help: our goal is one million signatures. The marketing pros tell us we will never get to a million signatures without expensive advertising. But we want to prove them wrong. And we can: just think if each person who has signed the Declaration were to get just two others to sign. That would be one million people standing arm in arm in defense of the most vital moral truths in our society.
Remember, too, we are not just collecting signatures; we seek a movement of people defending the truth in the public square. We are already witnessing signs of this: Christians in Mobile, Alabama called us 13 days before Christmas to tell us they were planning a large ecumenical gathering for the 23rd of December. I (Chuck Colson) agreed to speak. At 6:00 AM on December 23, 2,000 citizens, led by clergy from all over the city, gathered in a packed hall in the Convention Center for a rousing rally. Seldom have I seen so much excitement in one room – and all of this was accomplished just by word of mouth with only 11 days to organize! Just ten days ago, Cardinal Rigali of Philadelphia, Archbishop Wuerl of Washington, DC, Archbishop Dolan of New York and Archbishop Kurtz of Louisville reached out to all of their brother Catholic bishops asking them to spread this document throughout their dioceses and encourage their clergy and faithful to study it and join as signatories.
The Archbishop of Detroit has planned a grassroots effort throughout his archdiocese. The Bishop of Phoenix has already organized a grassroots effort there.
We are also receiving many reports of evangelical gatherings in a number of areas – and many evangelical pastors referring to the Manhattan Declaration in their sermons.
This bold and exciting movement needs to reach 100 or 200 cities in America. Why not? Can you help? We are urging you to encourage your pastors and community leaders to do what these other cities are doing. Organize ecumenical meetings organized around the Manhattan Declaration; get other concerned citizens to join the effort. Get on the internet or phone and ask friends to join you. If you let us know you want to organize something we can help link you up with others in your area.
As with any grassroots movement, the strength and energy has to come from the people. We have no staff and limited budget. We’re people who care passionately and deeply about life, marriage, and liberty. So here’s what we are asking you to do.
** Pray fervently. Great movements of faith have always spread on the wings of prayer.
** Know the issues. If you study this Declaration – and a study guide is available on our website – then you can winsomely explain and defend it to your neighbors and friends. The document itself makes a great apologetic defense for these moral truths.
** Look for resources on this website as we’re able to post them, and search the websites of the Christian organizations that offer resources in these three areas. You can see the names of the various leaders who have signed the Declaration and then visit their websites.
** Of utmost importance, get your own church involved. As pastors preach, the movement will spread. Prayer meetings and Bible studies on the Declaration are being conducted in many churches, which is a great step.
**Make full use of Facebook, Twitter, and all the devices available today for social networking. Or just go to gatherings in your own community and speak out on this issue. Cultures are changed over the backyard fence, the barbeque grill, and in hair salons – always from the bottom up. Do everything you can possibly do to educate others.
**Organize local gatherings like the one in Mobile. If you want an audio or video of Chuck Colson’s talk at the event, you will be able to see it on the website in the next few days. You can also read a firsthand report on how they did this.
**If you are a pastor or ministry leader let us know if you would like to be added to the Additional Signers list on the website.
Just think what might happen in our land if one million courageous Christians declared their uncompromising allegiance to Jesus Christ and to biblical faithfulness on some of the most urgent moral issues of our day.
May God give us the strength to do what He is so clearly calling us to do. From our perspective, this is a cause worth giving every last ounce of effort and energy we have.
Dr. Robert George
Dr. Timothy George