(Centennial Fellow) Over 55% of Colorado adults support the concept of same sex marriage according to a new survey conducted by SmartVoice, Inc. The survey was conducted after Colorado governor John Hickenlooper signed Colorado Senate Bill 11 into law on March 21, 2013 permitting same sex civil unions.
The views about same sex marriage within the adult population in Colorado have changed considerably in the recent past. Proponents of same sex marriage in Colorado, although emboldened with changing popular opinion and a new civil unions law, still face a state constitutional provision that prohibits same sex marriage in Colorado. Colorado Amendment 43 was a referendum approved by Colorado voters in 2006 that modified the Colorado constitution to define marriage as only a union between one man and one woman. It passed with 53% of the vote.
Civil unions are generally seen as a first step toward legalizing same sex marriage yet are different in scope in that, unlike same sex marriage, civil unions may not be recognized across state lines. Further, civil unions do not typically permit that one party may sponsor the other (if they are non-American) for immigration. In addition, civil unions are not presently recognized by the federal government, therefore the IRS does not recognize joint-tax filing status for civil union couples. The General Accounting Office in 1997 released a list of 1,049 benefits accorded to heterosexual marriages. These benefits range from federal benefits, such as survivor benefits through Social Security, sick leave to care for an ailing partner, tax breaks, veterans benefits and insurance breaks. Other benefits include family discounts, obtaining family insurance through an employer, hospital spouse visits, and making medical decisions when the partner is unable to do so. Civil unions provide many such benefits, but not all of them.
The SmartVoice survey also revealed that over 55% of respondents have family or close friends that are gay or lesbian. A recent study from the Williams Institute, a think-tank devoted to LGBT research at UCLA, estimated that 9 million Americans (over 3% percent of the US population) say they identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Bisexuals constituted almost half of that group. Other surveys have put the number of gays and lesbians at less than 2% of the general population.
Interestingly, the SmartVoice survey indicated that 66% of Colorado adults want the citizenry to decide the fate of same sex marriage at the ballot box, while 17% want the courts to decide, and 16% want the state legislature to decide. When asked the question whether the state or federal government should determine approval of same sex marriage, Colorado respondents preferred the state over the federal government by a margin of 52% to 48%. Emotions may be running ahead of logic in that it is the federal government, e.g., IRS provisions, Social Security benefits, etc. where the economic and legal consequences have the greatest impact.
This is confirmed in the SmartVoice survey where 56% of survey respondents did not know that "approving same sex marriage may reduce tax revenues and increase tax outlays as a result." Clearly, if same sex marriage became the law of the land, the burden on Social Security benefits alone would escalate due to the spousal benefits that are available at retirement age to heterosexual marriages.
The SmartVoice survey also indicated that women favor same sex marriage over men by 62% to 38%. In addition, 66% of respondents were currently married and over 66% had at least a college degree.
The survey was conducted by Smart Voice on April 2, 2013 using a statewide sample of 304 respondents who also subscribed to a landline phone. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, approximately 38% of households are wireless only and 60% of adults between 25 and 30 years old are wireless only households. The SmartVoice survey indicated that 90% of survey respondents were over 30 years old, suggesting some under-representation of the under 30 demographic is possible due to the wireless only phenomenon. Further, other industry surveys indicate that the under 30 age cohort is more favorable to same sex marriage than the over 30 age cohort.
There are six U.S. states that allow civil unions between same sex couples (but not marriage) which are Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey and Rhode Island. There are nine U.S. states (Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, and Washington) that allow same sex marriage, in addition to the District of Columbia. Same sex marriages in these states, however, are not recognized by the federal government due to the Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA. There are now 38 U.S. states that have banned same-sex marriage, either through legislation or constitutional amendments.
The US Supreme Court is expected to announce its important decisions on DOMA and Proposition 8 (the California law passed by voters in support of traditional marriage) in a few months. Pundits predict that the Supreme Court will not rule as sweepingly as it did with its landmark Roe v. Wade abortion decision in 1973, thereby giving the country an opportunity to fully debate the same-sex marriage issue before judges decide it for them. It is clear that the nation is divided on this issue and many of the arguments have been emotional.
A growing number of people now support same sex marriage solely because they know a friend or family member who is gay, Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) being a prominent recent example. This is also confirmed in the SmartVoice survey with 56% of Colorado adults supporting same sex marriage and 57% of Colorado adults who have a close friend or family member who is gay or lesbian. There are others who believe that same sex behavior should be recognized as a civil right through marriage. Despite the ardent support from young adults, women, and those that are emotionally concerned about gay/lesbian friends and family, the national (and Colorado) debate should include the long term consequences of a socioeconomic and moral policy that could overturn thousands of years of tradition throughout the world, and may impact children, taxpayers, and society in unintended ways before this issue can be settled.
(Centennial Fellow) Much has been made of late over the issue of homosexual marriage, its embers stoked by the Colorado Legislatures affirmation of Civil Unions, and more recently by the U.S. Supreme Court’s tentative wading into the issue over a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act. Proponents of marriage redefinition have taxonomized the issue as being a civil right; a bit of terminological license, to be sure, but it seems to have had the desired effect, as public opinion appears to be gravitating rapidly in favor such a social readjustment.
Of course, part of the fallout from detonating the civil rights warhead over the issue is that dissent is declared anathema, as censured as pro-segregationist bluster, or advocacy of repealing a woman’s right to vote, or an anti-Semitic rant not delivered in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Or as Mark Steyn puts it, like much of the liberal agenda it is not so much about winning as ruling any debate out of bounds.
Nevertheless, the debate ought to be had, and should center on three questions.
The first is to ask what, precisely, is the government’s justifiable role and interest concerning marriage? The fashionable temptation among libertarians is to absolve government altogether of the responsibility, and to make marriage, of whatever strain, a purely non-governmental affair. There is a certain laissez faire appeal to that position; but before heading down that road, it should be determined whether or not the state does bear an interest in the institution.
First, let’s recognize that whether or not the two parties appearing to receive a marriage license are in love is of no concern to the state, nor should be. Does any couple, gay or straight, really require the government to affirm their interpersonal relationship? So what is the interest of the state? Well, the criteria established over the centuries to meet the requirements of a marriage license suggest strongly that it is all about the continuation of the civilization – two people of complementary sexes; not closely related; and just the two. That’s it. Each criterion directed towards the optimum environment for producing and raising the next generation of our society.
But wait, exceptions surface; cannot two men, or two women adequately raise a child? Certainly, under certain circumstances, as can a single mom or dad, or grandparents, or many other combinations. But law is necessarily about generalities, not specifics. Can some 14 year olds drive better than some 21 year olds? Yes, but the law cannot be tailored towards the individual, so an age of 16 is established. Likewise, a single mother might do a heroic job at raising her children; but the accumulated wealth of human experience instructs that this is not the ideal situation – a child responds best to the complementary influence of both a mother and a father, who should not be so closely related as to produce genetic abnormalities, and for whom a break-up should not be too easy. Hence, the laws defining marriage.
What about elderly or infertile couples? Should they be prohibited from obtaining a marriage license? Not unless we wish to include fertility testing as one of the base requirements. Keeping with the general nature of law in a free society such couples fall within the established definition, again provided they are not closely related.
Secondly, some consideration must be brought to the concept of marriage in any case as a “right”. Every right has a corresponding duty attached to it; if one has the right to be married, then someone else must bear the duty of marrying him or her. Does an ugly person with a disagreeable personality have the “right” to be married? If so, should that person not be able to sue in court if denied their right due to rejection by the object of their nuptial desires?
Finally, the more immediate political concern involves the question of whether such issues should be left to the temporal moods of nine individuals, or to the lowest feasible political level. DOMA, it should be remembered, was instituted simply to protect one state from the dictates of another.
The entire discussion should take place under the aegis that it can do so without desiring any interference in the freedom of homosexuals. The desire to resist egalitarian efforts to allow government the ability to redefine a fundamental societal institution is not – and should not be – exclusive of the desire to protect the true fundamental rights of gay persons, nor should the debate be placed off limits.
('76 Contributor) The battle over what constitutes a legally sanctioned and socially accepted marriage is deeply dividing several groups across America. It is primarily a contest between those holding a Judeo-Christian worldview and those adhering to a secularist worldview. It is a struggle with divisions along politics, age, race, and gender.
Thirty-two U.S. states have held popular votes on whether or not to preserve marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Approximately 65 million Americans (including the recent North Carolina vote) have voted regarding the definition of marriage with over 60% holding the traditional view that marriage should be between one man and one woman. (1)
Here is a documented review of the biblical, physical, sociological, and economic arguments supporting traditional marriage.
The biblical argument
There is a teleological argument, derived from the Bible, that states the nature and purpose of things can be observed in design. This is true with respect to sexuality and reproduction in humanity as well as the animal kingdom. Note that the Bible teaches that His creatures reproduce after their own kind (Genesis 1:24). God created mankind in His own image (Imago Dei) as man and woman (Genesis 1:27). Marriage is part of God's original order (Genesis 2:18) and that a man will cleave to his female wife (Mark 10:5-9). Men and women manifest physical distinctives which properties are exclusively designed for reproduction. The Bible also teaches that men and women, although created equal, have been given different responsibilities and have soul and spirit distinctives (Genesis 3:16, 1 Corinthians 8, and 1 Peter 3:7).
The distinction between the exogenous (external and physical) differences and the endogenous (internal and non-physical) differences of men and women is corroborated from an unlikely source, the transgendered individual. Transgenders often claim the motivation for their gender change surgery is that they are the "opposite gender inside." (2) The evidence for physical, emotional, and spiritual differences between men and women is irrefutable. The Bible teaches that it is these very differences that make men and women uniquely and ideally designed for reproduction and child rearing. "An overwhelming body of social science research shows that children do best when raised by their own biological mother and father who are committed to one another in a lifelong marriage. Research specifically on children of homosexuals has major methodological problems, but does show specific differences." (3)
Humanity is endowed by the Creator with opposite gender attraction which finds expression through love but also reproduction. Current estimates are that only 3% of the human population is homosexual, a significantly small percentage of the population holding a disproportionate impact on public policy. (4)
The physical argument
Offspring, without exception, follow the pattern of their parentage, that is, they are created from their own kind. Opposite genders are required for reproduction and the perpetuation of the species. Homosexuality is a behaviorally determined, not a genetically determined phenomenon. "The research does not show that anyone is born gay, and suggests instead that homosexuality results from a complex mix of developmental factors." (5) Further, asserting that homosexuality is genetic is self-refuting as, if it were genetic, they could not reproduce themselves because a male and female is required (although atheistic scientists are pursuing bio-engineering, e.g., to mask the male-female requirement for reproduction, in that they would use harvested eggs from female fetuses and artificial wombs, to enable gay parents to simulate the pregnancy experience of heterosexual couples.)
The teleology argument is represented in the male and female physical properties of humanity. Homosexuals will be hard pressed to reproduce biologically and to multiply in the population because of the teleological constraints. All they can do is use behavioral agents to effectuate more homosexuality in the population. This is why secularists attempt to use institutional agents (media indoctrination, public education, judiciary, etc.) to accomplish what they have not been able to achieve at the ballot box. Clearly, this strategy is working as polling indicates that the strongest cohort in support of the homosexual agenda is the youth segment of the population (which is also the most susceptible to the indoctrination of the aforementioned institutions.) The teleological argument of humanity's design (differing male and female reproductive properties) is, in effect, the evidence for a "straight gene" in stark contrast to the lack of evidence for a "gay gene." Men can not reproduce themselves. Women can not reproduce themselves. Men and women (sperm and egg) together are required for reproduction. This biological information was designed. Homosexuality is not designed. It is behavioral.
This behavior may be multitudinous in causation. (6) In his 1980 work Overcoming Homosexuality, Robert Kronemeyer stated: "With rare exceptions, homosexuality is neither inherited nor the result of some glandular disturbance or the scrambling of genes or chromosomes. Homosexuals are made, not born 'that way.' I firmly believe that homosexuality is a learned response to early painful experiences and that it can be unlearned. For those homosexuals who are unhappy with their life and find effective therapy, it is curable. (7)
Finally, homosexual advocacy groups cite the argument for civil rights as support for their position despite the fact that the civil rights movement was predicated upon physical differences (race and gender) rather than the psychological differences of homosexuality. Many civil rights advocates of the 1960's have expressed opposition to the idea that homosexuality is a civil rights issue.
The sociological and economic argument
There is a substantial body of evidence suggesting that traditional marriage contributes higher value to society than does same sex marriage. Same sex marriage would open the floodgates of new federal entitlements where approximately 1,100 federal benefits would become available to same sex spouses thereby creating additional financial burdens to society. (8) This would come at a time when existing federal entitlement programs face an exigent need for reform due to the magnitude of unfunded liabilities.
Divorce represents a high cost to society with respect to the impact on children. The number one cause of divorce worldwide is sexual infidelity (followed by infertility). (9) Heterosexual couples fare better on both fronts relative to their homosexual counterparts. A study on short-term same-sex registered partnerships in Norway and Sweden found that divorce rates were higher for same-sex couples than opposite-sex marriages, and that unions of lesbians are considerably less stable, or more dynamic, than unions of gay men. (10) The data is incomplete with respect to the US due to the relatively short history of same sex marriages in America. However, a 2001 National Center for Health Statistics study on marriage and divorce statistics reported that 66 percent of first heterosexual marriages last ten years or longer while
the 2003-2004 Gay/Lesbian Consumer Online Census indicated dramatically different results when surveying the lifestyles of 7,862 homosexuals. Of those involved in a "current relationship," only 15 percent describe their current relationship as having lasted twelve years or longer, with five percent lasting more than twenty years. (11) Studies also indicate that while three-quarters or more of married couples remain faithful to each other, homosexual couples typically engage in a shocking degree of promiscuity. The same study found that "committed" homosexual couples have an average of eight sexual partners (outside of the relationship) per year. (12) A 2010 New York Times article illustrated that gay marriage is really just cohabitation with documentation. (13)
There exists a slippery slope argument with respect to same sex marriage. Proponents of same sex marriage have begun articulating the merits of a relationship based upon volitional love. That is, if one person loves another, they should be able to enjoy the societal approbation of marriage. The problem with this argument is that a parent who loves their child, a grandparent who loves their grandchild, a man who loves multiple women, or an owner who loves their pet are all prohibited from constitutional marriage in the US. This same prohibition regarding other forms of volitional love has been imposed despite religious objections from both Mormons and Muslims, both of whom have supported polygamy. Once same sex marriage is approved, how can one logically defend against other forms of relational "love" that is equally sincere as same sex couples?
Where do we go from here?
It is clear that a majority of Americans strongly oppose the proposition of same sex marriage when presented at the ballot box. Statistics also show that approximately 3% of the population are homosexual. The afflatus that drives this movement is secular in origin and goes beyond the affected 3% of the population. It arises from those who seek an enlargement of the state, who are opposed to the traditional Judeo-Christian worldview (which has dominated western civilization for centuries) and who are committed to secularizing the institutions that shape our society (the media, education, judiciary, and the political administration of entitlements which increases demand for state sponsored solutions.)
The longer that secular interests exert controlling influence in these institutions, e.g., the government monopoly schools which are dominated by the teacher's public union, the higher the probability that indoctrinated groups will support the cause of same sex marriage. It is the physical and non-physical properties of one man and one woman, joined together to raise the next generation, that is most likely to produce the abundant culture which we have enjoyed to date. Indifference alone to the arguments of same sex marriage represents no defense against an organized strategy of propagandists with ulterior motives.
The imperative that the individual becomes informed and engaged on this issue is clearly paramount if we are to preserve traditional marriage and the Judeo-Christian way of life which has made America the "shining city on a hill."
3. Top 10 Myths about Homosexuality. Family Research Council. p.30
5. Top 10 Myths about Homosexuality. Family Research Council. p.4
6. Homosexuality: the use of scientific research in the church's moral debate. p.53 (Downing Grove,IL IVP Academic) Stanton L. Jones, Mark A. Yarhouse
7. Overcoming Homosexuality p. 7 (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1980) Robert Kronemeyer
('76 Editor) The Manhattan Declaration on sanctity of life, dignity of marriage, and religious liberty was faulted by my colleague Kevin Miller at the Vanguard Forum on Feb. 5 for insufficiently addressing such issues as the divorce culture and the idolatry of the state. I agree with Kevin that those issues must be honestly confronted, especially since Christians have been passively and actively complicit in the worsening of both for at least a century now. But I am proud to be a signer of the Manhattan Declaration, imperfections and all, since on balance it does the Republic and the Church far more good than harm. Believers agree, as former Sen. Bruce Cairns quoted from Prov. 14:34 at Vanguard, that "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people." So isn't a proper balance in rendering to God and to Caesar (Matthew 22:21, the explicit aim of the Manhattan Declaration) one condition for strengthening America's righteousness? Again, we can agree that it is -- hardly a sufficient condition, as Kevin correctly warns, but surely a necessary one. Americans in general, Christian and otherwise, grossly over-render to Caesar at present. It's this mistake alone that the manifesto seeks to warn against and begin correcting, as best I can see. For the many other mistakes and omissions of which we believers are guilty, another manifesto may well be needed -- a Vanguard Declaration, perhaps -- but that is no reason to withhold our support from the worthy and urgent aims of the Manhattan Declaration. Are Manhattan's drafters and signers guilty of the hypocrisy and false pretense which Jesus condemns as like "whited sepulchres" (Matt. 23:27), or the inverted priorities which he likens to overlooking the log in one's own eye while criticizing the sawdust in another's (Matt. 7:3)? Not at all. The declaration does express repentance for Christians' complicity with rampant divorce. In giving relatively more attention to the threat of judicially-imposed same-sex marriage, it merely addresses the proximate danger of Caesar's next arrogant overreach. Everyone who values the family as society's core institution for stability and health can only applaud. I agree with Kevin Miller's expanded agenda for Christian self-correction and resulting social betterment -- virtue fostered non-coercively by changing hearts, starting with our own -- but I don't see this as an either/or with the Manhattan agenda. Rather it's a both/and. Jesus again: "These ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone" (Matt. 23:23). Finally, let's apply the Lord's own "By their fruits ye shall know them" test (Matt. 7:20). Will the ever-widening support and discussion of the Manhattan Declaration (now with 420,000 signers ) tend to trouble and cleanse the conscience of Christians, stir us up to repentance and good works and walking the talk -- or will it only serve as an excuse for smugness, complacency, and pharisaical superiority? I'm confident of the former result. Naming the name of Christ, daring to engage with him, starts one on a process of living up to his standard more and more fully. So with Nicodemus, Zaccheus, Matthew, and Peter, the divorced woman at the well and the weeping woman at the feast. "Going public" for the faith, even before we may be fully ready or presentable, takes on a positive logic of its own. And as for the concern voiced at Vanguard by a rigorous Reformation Protestant who asked if the Catholic understanding of the gospel (deficient in his view) may not defeat the whole Manhattan Declaration project, I will go with what Jesus told John: "He that is not against us is for us" (Luke 9:50). Even allowing that he seems to have said the opposite in Luke 11:23, we can take the "by their fruits" test as a tiebreaker -- for to repeat, no one has shown me how the Manhattan Declaration is going to do harm. One way or the other, what matters, said Paul, is that "Christ is preached" (Phil. 1:18). Amen say I. Have you signed the Manhattan Declaration? You can do so here. Want to know more about Kevin Miller, his Vanguard Forum once a month in suburban Denver, and his National Freedom Initiative for "freedom nationally, virtue locally"? You sign onto all that as well, as I have done, by clicking here.
('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 GeorgeDr. Timothy GeorgeChuck Colson
'76 Contributor) "The Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience," released last month, impressed me as a profound statement by a large number of Christian leaders taking a stand for the foundations of civilization, the family, and the sanctity of human life. People of faith have to work together to preserve and protect the fundamental principles of morality from those who seek to destroy them. This declaration brings together numerous Catholic bishops, Orthodox clergy, and Evangelical leaders -- and as an evangelical Christian I will gladly partner with other types of Christians on the common concepts that form the backbone of Christianity. Here are the opening lines from ManhattanDeclaration.org:
Christians, when they have lived up to the highest ideals of their faith, have defended the weak and vulnerable and worked tirelessly to protect and strengthen vital institutions of civil society, beginning with the family. 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.
Inasmuch as these truths are foundational to human dignity and the well-being of society, they are inviolable and non-negotiable. Because they are increasingly under assault from powerful forces in our culture, we are compelled today to speak out forcefully in their defense, and to commit ourselves to honoring them fully no matter what pressures are brought upon us and our institutions to abandon or compromise them. We make this commitment not as partisans of any political group but as followers of Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Lord, who is the Way, the Truth, and theLife. Even now the whispers of “hate speech,” “ignorance,” “bigotry,” “intolerance,” and “insensitivity” await those who now champion the sanctity of life or who fail to cheerlead homosexuality and sexual deviancy. Some have even gone so far as to label the Manhattan Declaration “hateful” or a call for civil disobedience. They are wrong. The manifesto is not about judging or excusing. If anything, it is in fact a rather benign, formal declaration of what a great many believe. It is also a clear warning shot across the bow of the U.S.S. liberal agenda that Christians will not compromise their fundamental religious beliefs no matter what the state may attempt to dictate.
Those seeking to mock, disparage, and even persecute any of us who fail to march lockstep with the agenda of secular humanism need to understand that a line has been drawn in the sand and a wide spectrum of the Christian community is joining together in a common cause to proclaim God’s truth, as they understand it, as outlined in the Bible. These are clear cut and unambiguous issues for Bible-believing people of faith and compromise is not an option when it comes to these basic principles.
The suspension of judgment and the concept that there is no true right or wrong is a devious lie and one that often fools even otherwise educated and intelligent people. If you are willing to suspend judgment and the concept of right and wrong, then you will eventually accept anything. The “if-it-feels-good-do-it” mindset produces only heartache and disaster in the end. It is the wise man who rejects such childlike idiocy and expects adults to think and act like adults. With maturity should come responsibility, self-restraint, discernment, and wisdom. It stands in stark contrast to an ideology of dependency, irresponsibility, the inability to practice self-restraint and accept the consequences of one’s actions, and the continued childlike dependency on others to fix one’s own mistakes.
Popular culture may sneer at such ideas as morals and values, sexual restraint, and personal responsibility, at patriotism and good citizenship, and at honesty, decency, and respect. Those are the failings of secularists and liberals. They should not be of Christians and conservatives. Part and parcel of both Christianity and conservatism is the simple concept that actions have consequences. The concept of the prohibition of sin was not to somehow squash your “fun” but to warn one about the repercussions of certain actions. It was to protect us, not to be “mean” to us.
There may come a time when a declaration like this is labeled “hate speech” or contrary to the public good and banned from dissemination. One may think that is far-fetched but we currently stand at the edge of the abyss when it comes to thought-control, censorship, and even the persecution of those that don’t march lock step with the powers-that-be and the dictates of a corrupt, popular culture.
As our society and culture embraces decadence and earnestly seeks to fulfill the Prophet Isaiah’s warning that “good shall be called evil, and evil good” it is increasingly important for people of faith to stand up and be counted. It is time to draw a stark distinction between those who have sold out to situational morality and don’t believe in right or wrong, only “different.” Eleven of the twelve disciples achieved martyrdom by refusing to heed those who sought to silence them. It is incumbent upon Christians to stand up for what is right, no matter the cost. It is an essential element of the faith, and at the core of the teachings of Christ. To not call sin “sin” is to be dishonest and contrary to the teachings of the gospels.
The last paragraph of the Declaration reads: ”Because we honor justice and the common good, 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; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family. We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God’s.”
There is something noble and honorable about standing for truth, as uncomfortable or inconvenient that may be for some on occasion. You can join the over 300,000 people of faith who have followed the example and lead of the initial 170 leaders of the Christian community who presented the world with the Manhattan Declaration. Dare to take a stand. Join what has gone far beyond a mere statement in defense of faith and principle, and is now becoming a movement of people of conscience taking a stand for the whole world to see.
Start the New Year by recommitting yourself to what is right and true. The Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience can be read in its entirity at www.ManhattanDeclaration.org. I signed this powerful declaration and so should you. I like the spectrum and caliber of the signers and am proud to join my smallest of voices with theirs.The goal is for one million Christians to sign the declaration. Will you join me in doing so?
For more information on the thinking behind the Manhattan Declaration I would suggest the article by Dr. Timothy George, Dean of the Beeson Divinity School of Samford University, senior editor of Christianity Today, and one of the original architects of The Manhattan Declaration: The Manhattan Declaration: A Growing, Grassroots Movement of the Spirit (http://www.colsoncenter.org/the-center/columns/call-response)
David Huntwork is a conservative activist and freelance columnist in Northern Colorado where he lives with his wife and three young daughters. He is the author of the book No Apologies: In Defense of Common Sense and the Conservative Ideology which can be purchased at http://stores.lulu.com/store.php?fAcctID=3576295.Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions at DaveHuntwork@juno.com. You may also view his bio and past columns at: http://DavidHuntwork.tripod.com.
('76 Editor) Americans from the major Christian faiths, seeing an imminent move by the civil power against God-given elements of a sustainable and free society, are putting their names to a resistance manifesto known as the Manhattan Declaration.
Catholic, Orthodox, and Evangelical leaders developed the declaration in recent weeks and released it on Nov. 20. It spells out why the biblically faithful citizen cannot consent to laws and policies that destroy innocent human life, redefine marriage as something other than the union of one man and one woman, or trample religious liberty. And it envisions the potential need for civil disobedience to such laws.
The Manhattan Declaration in full, some 4700 words, is here. A summary is here. The online signature page for adding one's name, as more than 197,000 individuals have already done, is here. I signed in a gesture of wholehearted agreement and active support. Will you?