A New Christian Coalition?
Late last week, representatives from leading evangelical political advocacy groups unveiled "The Manhattan Declaration," a call for Christian unity on issues of life, marriage, and religious liberty. The coalition of advocacy groups and ministries cut across Christian traditions but did not include many leaders from what some consider the Christian Right's old guard.
Chuck Colson, who led the declaration's creation, called it "a wake-up call—a call to conscience—for the church" and a "crystal-clear message to civil authorities that we will not, under any circumstances, stand idly by as our religious freedom comes under assault."
The declaration, which now has over 20,000 signatures, begins with a reminder of the church's non-cooperation with injustice, tyranny, and oppression. It then states that today, this non-cooperation must include the protection of life, marriage, and religious liberty.
Colson told Christianity Today that these issues "are foundational to a Christian perspective and society. It was important for us to ground all of our moral concerns in the three foundational truths."
"We argue that there is a hierarchy of issues," Colson told The New York Times, "A lot of the younger evangelicals say they're all alike. We're hoping to educate them that these are the three most important issues."
The Manhattan Declaration is noteworthy for both the leaders who signed it and those who did not.
The declaration has received national attention because, in addition to many American evangelical leaders, its signatories include nine Catholic archbishops, the president of the Catholic League, the primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, and the primate of the Orthodox Church in America.