Recently there was a declaration signed by prominent Evangelical Christians, it is called the Manhattan Declaration.
In sum, this declaration is basically a "line in the sand" stating that these Christians will never preach in favor of gay marriage, never bless a gay marriage nor be forced to perform an abortion. After reading this declaration, while biblically sound, it is very limited and narrow in scope and almost pointless. However, I think it is designed to be so limited as to not criticize the Bush administration's many wrongs and direct blame and suspicion to the current far-left Obama administration. While the Obama administration is to be suspected, I'm not sold that these two issues are enough to warrant this type of declaration. What I don't fully understand is why was the Bush Administration's suspect Christianity ignored among this group. Time and time again, it was ignored or they became apologists for them. Then again, it may not be that complex, just partisan politics as usual. It is sad these "leaders" are just mere shills for the GOP.
This is an expected position from us christians. However, the timing is at issue. President Obama recently signed the Matthew Shepard Act, which is more hate crimes legislation. This time around though, assaults / violent acts against homosexuals just because they are homosexuals is now illegal. As if assault wasnt bad enough, the misguided reasoning behind these hate crime laws is lost on most evangelicals. In fact, in most of the "Values Voters" guides that come around every election cycle, there is support from evangelicals for hate crimes laws targeting crime against minorities of color but making an exception for gays. Hate crime legislation to me is showing a type of favoritism to certain victims -- also preached against in the New Testament as the sin of partiality.
Still, many evangelicals fear that the next step could be that they be hauled into jail for preaching against gays or refusing to do gay marriages. I doubt this because the christian church only does the ceremonius part of the wedding with no State authority. Refusing to perform the ceremony will not bring anything but limited public repudiation, if that. Now, possibly a christian magistrate / justice of the peace could be fined or something for refusing to do a gay marriage in a state that allowed it. It could be a similar response to the justice in LA who refused to do an interracial marriage. But, all of that brings the question of why do we need State sanction to do marriage? It should be a private religious matter, with the State nowhere involved -- as it used to be.
An assault is an assault. A violent crime is just that. Who cares what the reason is? It could be that someone looked at you funny, has something you want, or you had words with that person while intoxicated and you want to settle the score violently. Prosecute the crime for whatever reason because it is a crime but please, no further penalties for who the victim is.
I think this declaration is OK but, I'm much more radical than these "Declarers" are willing to be. I say we put forward a declaration against "No Fault" Divorce. I say that because Divorce is by far the most direct and blatant attack on Biblical marriage. Unfortunately, it is given lip service by most evangelicals these days, likely because so many have had divorces.
Evangelicals fear that since the leftist Obama has put this hate crimes law in place, they will be targeted for anti-gay preaching. I doubt that. They would be attacked much more for preaching against the sinful actions of the US government here and overseas, remember Jeremiah Wright?
The declaration states they will not be forced to perform abortions: But, we already are forced to PAY for abortions. Remember Planned Parenthood? Our tax dollars -- which are taken from us by threat of force -- pay for abortions here in the US. Further, funding to Planned Parenthood was INCREASED under the blessed W. Bush Administration, with Bush's blessing. This is another slight that is willfully ignored. Will any of these evangelicals call for their congregations to to stop paying their income taxes because they are being used to fund Planned Parenthood? I doubt it.
Also missing in this pro-life stance is the calling out of pre-emptive, immoral wars, such as the Iraq War which have unjustly killed thousands. Many of these evangelicals have tried desperately to forget (and get the general public to forget) their militant support for Bush and this unjust war. Also missing is a statement to end the calls for murderous sanctions against the Iranian people. Again, you won't hear about this from this crowd. In fact, you wont hear any real criticism of US foreign policy and the many wars that have been fought and killed millions of innocents.
Or maybe a declaration against State worship? Why have an American flag in the church and singing songs praising the military while in church? This is very close to idolatry, in my opinion. Too close for comfort.
Christians have long been on the wrong side of the State. But today in America, they have been drawn more into the lust for state power rather than evangelizing the simple truth of Jesus Christ. They are now fighting more to keep tax benefits from "undesirables" -- (today it's gays) rather than calling for the end of income taxation -- legalized stealing.
So, my take on this Declaration is that it's basically the "evangelical christian" swipe at Obama being in charge of the federal monster rather than their desired Republican.
With that said, here is my short "Charlotte" Declaration:
We declare that Jesus is the virgin born Son of God.
We declare that all must receive salvation through Jesus Christ or face eternal punishment.
We declare that divorce is wrong, especially "no fault" Divorce.
We declare that homosexuality is wrong.
We declare that life begins at conception.
We declare that abortion is wrong and call for Planned Parenthood to be de-funded.
We declare that pre-emptive war is wrong and is murder, such as the Iraq War.
We declare a call to repentance and humility for our hypocritical support of the Bush regime and the Iraq War.
We declare that sanctions are wrong and only ill-fated attempts at returning evil for evil and against Christian principles.
We declare that torture is wrong, again "returning evil for evil".
We declare that income taxation is nothing but legalized STEALING and is wrong.
We declare that the Federal Reserve's "monetary policy" is counterfeiting and is wrong.
So come on fellow evangelicals! Let's take up the call and really be radical for Christ!