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>> = Important Articles; ** = Major Articles


Supplemental Articles in a separate file (click here to read)



>>Christians Urged Not to Abandon Conscience; Proclaim the Gospel (Christian Post, 091020)

>>Flinch! Ford finally bends, homosexual boycott over: Activists say carmaker meets conditions as sales plunged 8% per month since ‘05 (WorldNetDaily, 080311)

**Conservative Christians Seek to Replace Calif. Judges (Christian Post, 100604)

**Venting Online, Consumers Can Find Themselves in Court (Paris, International Herald, 100601)

**Wisconsin Army Veteran Allowed to Keep Flag on Display (Foxnews, 100528)

**The “Social Justice” Fallacy? Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing (, 100408)

**Glenn Beck Keeps ‘Social Justice’ Debate Alive (Christian Post, 100322)

**Glenn Beck, Social Justice, and the Limits of Public Discourse (Christian Post, 100317)

**Why I Signed The Manhattan Declaration (Albert Mohler, 091123)

**Just the Beginning (Christian Post, 091201)

**Over 150,000 Americans Sign Manhattan Declaration (Christian Post, 091126)

**Religious Leaders Call for Civil Disobedience if Laws Don’t Respect Faith (Newmax, 091122)





>>Christians Urged Not to Abandon Conscience; Proclaim the Gospel (Christian Post, 091020)


WASHINGTON – Evangelical, Orthodox and Catholic leaders who unveiled the “Manhattan Declaration” Friday insisted the document is not a political ploy.


Rather, it is a testament to their common Christian witness as they stand to uphold what they believe are the three most foundational issues in society – the sanctity of life, the historic understanding of marriage, and religious liberty.


“This is not a politically motivated agenda,” Dr. Timothy George, one of three leaders who drafted the document, said as he addressed the media. “We are talking out of deep religious principles grounded in the holy Scriptures and the use of reason as we understand it as a God-given gift.”


While actions by the Obama administration – including the repeal of the Mexico City Policy, lifted restrictions on funding for embryonic stem cell research, and the most recent passage of the expanded hate crimes law – impact the urgency of the document, it was not released as a confrontational statement.


“The principles that undergird the Manhattan Declaration are enduring,” George stressed. “They are motivated and come from the deepest resources of our faith. And in that sense, it’s a statement that could’ve been made last year, 10 years ago, and we think will be relevant 10 ... years from now.”


In the works for around eight months, “The Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience” was drafted last summer by George; Chuck Colson, founder of The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview; and Dr. Robert George, director of James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University.


Issues addressed in the document are nothing new. But the coalition behind the document is unprecedented, Timothy George noted, as it not only includes people from Protestant, Orthodox and Catholic traditions but also transcends political lines.


“I am a registered Democrat but my commitment to Jesus Christ, to a biblically balanced political agenda and to a consistent ethic of life far transcends any ...political commitments,” commented Dr. Ronald Sider, president of Evangelicals for Social Action.


The declaration has been signed by more than 125 leaders who commit to defending fundamental truths about justice and the common good, no matter what, and who refuse to compromise their proclamation of the Gospel – particularly in the areas of human life, marriage and freedom of conscience and religion.


Those three issues do not comprise the whole scope of Christian moral concern, but are the most foundational, they say.


“We’re not segregating issues,” Colson, who also helped draft the declaration, noted to The Christian Post. “We’re saying all these issues are important but they flow out of three foundations.”


With regard to human life, travesties such as genocide, sexual trafficking and racial oppression flow from “the same loss of the sense of the dignity of the human person and the sanctity of human life that drives the abortion industry and the movements for assisted suicide, euthanasia, and human cloning for biomedical research,” the document reads.


Meanwhile, marriage is the most important institution for sustaining the health, education, and welfare of all persons in a society, the declaration states. Delinquency, drug abuse, crime, incarceration, despair, and a high rate of divorce and out-of-wedlock birth rate are some indicators of the erosion of the marriage culture.


Also, restrictions on religious liberty and the freedom of conscience “threaten the common welfare and the culture of freedom on which our system of republican government is founded” and could lead to tyranny, the document cautions.


While the Manhattan Declaration informs civil authorities that signers will not abandon their Christian consciences, it also serves as a wake-up call to the church, Colson stressed. The Church has a job on its hands and that is to present the Gospel, he said.


“This job is not just political. Our job is cultural,” he added.


The Most Rev. Donald W. Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, agreed.


“Our task as those who preach the word is to touch human hearts. [When] their hearts are touched then society itself is changed,” he said Friday. “We’re addressing issues that are cultural and we’re addressing them out of our Great Tradition.”


Signers of the document affirm, “Like those who have gone before us in the faith, Christians today are called to proclaim the Gospel of costly grace, to protect the intrinsic dignity of the human person and to stand for the common good. In being true to its own calling, the call to discipleship, the church through service to others can make a profound contribution to the public good.”


The Manhattan Declaration was made available to the public at on Friday and so far more than 3,000 people have added their signatures.




>>Flinch! Ford finally bends, homosexual boycott over: Activists say carmaker meets conditions as sales plunged 8% per month since ‘05 (WorldNetDaily, 080311)


In the face of plummeting car sales, Ford Motor Company has taken steps to reduce its aggressive, pro-homosexual policies, prompting a family-rights group to call off its boycott of the carmaker.


The American Family Association says it’s suspending its two-year boycott of Ford, noting the auto giant has met the conditions of the original agreement between AFA and Ford from 2005.


AFA Chairman Donald Wildmon said the original agreement between the family group and Ford contained four items:


* Ford would not renew current promotions or create future incentives that give cash donations to homosexual organizations based on the purchase of a vehicle.

* Ford would not make corporate donations to homosexual organizations that, as part of their activities, engage in political or social campaigns to promote civil unions or same-sex marriage.

* Ford would stop giving cash and vehicle donations or endorsements to homosexual social activities such as ‘gay’-pride parades.

* Ford would cease all advertising on homosexual websites and through homosexual media outlets (magazines, television, radio) in the U.S. with the exception of $100,000 to be used by Volvo. The Volvo ads would be the same ads used in the general media and not aimed at the homosexual community specifically.


Wildmon said a few minor issues remain, and AFA will continue to bring these to the attention of Ford.


According to AFA, during the 24 months the boycott was in effect, Ford sales dropped an average of 8% per month. The organization said its boycott was not entirely responsible for the drop in sales, but played a very significant role. A total of 780,365 individuals had signed AFA’s Boycott Ford petition.


As WND previously reported, Ford was ranked among the top companies scoring a perfect 100% on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2008 Corporate Equality Index, with policies beneficial toward homosexuals.




**Conservative Christians Seek to Replace Calif. Judges (Christian Post, 100604)


Conservative Christians have launched a movement in an effort to replace four California judges with their own in a judicial election next week.


Better Courts Now (BCN), founded by the late Pastor Don Hamer of Zion Christian Fellowship in San Diego, is throwing its support behind four conservative Christian candidates to replace the incumbent judges – all Democrats – on the San Diego Superior Court.


This is the first known conservative campaign to influence the election of judges in California. There are 33 states where citizens directly elect judges. These elections, however, usually have low voter turnout with participants mainly being from the legal community.


But Better Courts Now seeks to change that by rallying conservative voters to support judges who reflect their values.


“Those who govern are accountable to the people,” states Better Courts Now on its website. “As a branch of government, judges don’t get to hold themselves apart from the people – they are servants of the people.”


Craig Candelore, a family law attorney who is one of the conservative candidates, pointed out in his promotional video posted on the group’s website that under the California constitution judges need to face an election every six years.


“This forces judges to reconnect with the people whom they serve,” Candelore said. “Judges are not supposed to make the law they are supposed to uphold the law passed by legislators in Sacramento.”


“When judges do not follow the law they do not follow our value,” he said. “Laws are passed by the legislators who are elected by the people. Judges should uphold the law, not make the law.”


BCN notes that incumbent judges are rarely challenged in elections, but they should be held more accountable by the people.


Opponents of BCN, however, say the conservative campaign will undermine impartiality in the court system. Normally, judges do not talk about their personal position on issues but the group’s candidates are open about where they stand.


The BCN candidates are supported by opponents of abortion and same-sex marriage as well as by El Cajon Gun Exchange.


Three of the four BCN candidates – Bill Trask, Larry Kincaid, and Craig Candelore – were given low ratings by the San Diego County’s Bar Association. The bar rated them as “lacking some or all of the qualities of professional ability, experience, competence, integrity and temperament indicative of fitness to perform the judicial function in a satisfactory mode.”


The bar association said there was not enough information to rate the fourth candidate, Harold Coleman Jr.


In response to the low ratings, BCN accused the association of being partial to the incumbent judges and engaging in a “flurry of campaign activity” to support the sitting judges. The conservative movement said the bar’s chair of the Certified Family Law Specialists Committee, Stanwood Johnson, solicited donations for the incumbent judges.


“Better Courts Now is astonished that members of the San Diego Bar Association would tolerate such blatantly biased political activity in an organization purporting to be a neutral arbiter in the process,” it said in a statement.


The election race for the seats on the San Diego Superior Court will take place June 8.




**Venting Online, Consumers Can Find Themselves in Court (Paris, International Herald, 100601)


After a towing company hauled Justin Kurtz’s car from his apartment complex parking lot, despite his permit to park there, Mr. Kurtz, 21, a college student in Kalamazoo, Mich., went to the Internet for revenge.


Outraged at having to pay $118 to get his car back, Mr. Kurtz created a Facebook page called “Kalamazoo Residents against T&J Towing.” Within two days, 800 people had joined the group, some posting comments about their own maddening experiences with the company.


T&J filed a defamation suit against Mr. Kurtz, claiming the site was hurting business and seeking $750,000 in damages.


Web sites like Facebook, Twitter and Yelp have given individuals a global platform on which to air their grievances with companies. But legal experts say the soaring popularity of such sites has also given rise to more cases like Mr. Kurtz’s, in which a business sues an individual for posting critical comments online.


The towing company’s lawyer said that it was justified in removing Mr. Kurtz’s car because the permit was not visible, and that the Facebook page was costing it business and had unfairly damaged its reputation.


Some First Amendment lawyers see the case differently. They consider the lawsuit an example of the latest incarnation of a decades-old legal maneuver known as a strategic lawsuit against public participation, or Slapp.


The label has traditionally referred to meritless defamation suits filed by businesses or government officials against citizens who speak out against them. The plaintiffs are not necessarily expecting to succeed — most do not — but rather to intimidate critics who are inclined to back down when faced with the prospect of a long, expensive court battle.


“I didn’t do anything wrong,” said Mr. Kurtz, who recently finished his junior year at Western Michigan University. “The only thing I posted is what happened to me.”


Many states have anti-Slapp laws, and Congress is considering legislation to make it harder to file such a suit. The bill, sponsored by Representatives Steve Cohen of Tennessee and Charlie Gonzalez of Texas, both Democrats, would create a federal anti-Slapp law, modeled largely on California’s statute.


Because state laws vary in scope, many suits are still filed every year, according to legal experts. Now, with people musing publicly online and businesses feeling defenseless against these critics, the debate over the suits is shifting to the Web.


“We are beyond the low-tech era of people getting Slapped because of letters they wrote to politicians or testimony they gave at a City Council meeting,” said George W. Pring, a University of Denver law professor who co-wrote the 1996 book “Slapps: Getting Sued For Speaking Out.”


Marc Randazza, a First Amendment lawyer who has defended clients against suits stemming from online comments, said he helped one client, Thomas Alascio, avoid a lawsuit last year after he posted negative remarks about a Florida car dealership on his Twitter account.


“There is not a worse dealership on the planet,” read one post, which also named the dealership.


The dealership threatened to sue Mr. Alascio if he did not remove the posts. Mr. Randazza responded in a letter that although Mr. Alascio admitted that the dealership might not be the worst in the world, his comments constituted protected speech because they were his opinion.


While the dealership did not sue, that outcome is unusual, said Mr. Randazza, who conceded that sometimes the most pragmatic approach for a Slapp defendant is to take back the offending comments in lieu of a lawsuit.


In the past, Mr. Randazza said, if you criticized a business while standing around in a bar, it went “no further than the sound of your voice.”


Now, however, “there’s a potentially permanent record of it as soon as you hit ‘publish’ on the computer,” he said. “It goes global within minutes.”


Laurence Wilson, general counsel for the user review site Yelp, said a handful of lawsuits in recent years had been filed against people who posted critical reviews on the site, including a San Francisco chiropractor who sued a former patient in 2008 over a negative review about a billing dispute. The suit was settled before going to court.


“Businesses, unfortunately, have a greater incentive to remove a negative review than the reviewer has in writing the review in the first place,” Mr. Wilson said.


Recognizing that lawsuits can bring more unwanted attention, one organization has taken a different tack. The group Medical Justice, which helps protect doctors from meritless malpractice suits, advises its members to have patients sign an agreement that gives doctors more control over what patients post online.


Dr. Jeffrey Segal, chief executive of Medical Justice, said about half of the group’s 2,500 members use the agreement.


“I, like everyone else, like to hear two sides of the story,” he said. “The problem is that physicians are foreclosed from ever responding because of state and federal privacy laws. In the rare circumstance that a posting is false, fictional or fraudulent, the doctor now has the tool to get that post taken down.”


The federal bill, in the House Subcommittee on Courts and Competition Policy, would enable a defendant who believes he is being sued for speaking out or petitioning on a public matter to seek to have the suit dismissed.


“Just as petition and free speech rights are so important that they require specific constitutional protections, they are also important enough to justify uniform national protections against Slapps,” said Mark Goldowitz, director of the California Anti-Slapp Project, which helped draft the bill.


Under the proposed federal law, if a case is dismissed for being a Slapp, the plaintiff would have to pay the defendant’s legal fees. Mr. Randazza would not disclose specifics on the legal fees he has charged his clients, but he said the cost of defending a single Slapp suit “could easily wipe out the average person’s savings before the case is half done.”


Currently, 27 states have anti-Slapp laws, and in two, Colorado and West Virginia, the judiciary has adopted a system to protect against such suits. But the federal bill would create a law in states that do not have one and offer additional protections in those that do, Mr. Goldowitz said.


In Michigan, which does not have an anti-Slapp measure, Mr. Kurtz’s legal battle has made him a local celebrity. His Facebook page has now grown to more than 12,000 members.


“This case raises interesting questions,” said the towing company’s lawyer, Richard Burnham. “What are the rights to free speech? And even if what he said is false, which I am convinced, is his conduct the proximate cause of our loss?”


On April 30, Mr. Kurtz and his lawyers asked a judge to dismiss the suit by T&J, which has received a failing grade from the local Better Business Bureau for complaints over towing legally parked cars. Mr. Kurtz is also countersuing, claiming that T&J is abusing the legal process.


“There’s no reason I should have to shut up because some guy doesn’t want his dirty laundry out,” Mr. Kurtz said. “It’s the power of the Internet, man.”




**Wisconsin Army Veteran Allowed to Keep Flag on Display (Foxnews, 100528)

[KH: social action will win the culture war; the way is to expose and publicize unjust actions]


Charlie Price, 28, of Oshkosh, Wis., and officials at Midwest Realty Management have come to a “mutual agreement” that allows the veteran to continue displaying the patriotic symbol


A Wisconsin Army veteran — who faced eviction this week for flying the American flag — will now be allowed to keep the flag up for as long as he wants.


Under mounting nationwide protest, Charlie Price, 28, of Oshkosh, Wis., and officials at Midwest Realty Management struck a “mutual agreement” that allows the veteran to continue displaying the patriotic symbol, according to a statement posted on the company’s website on Thursday.


Price and his wife, Dawn, 27, were previously told they had to remove the flag — which hangs in a window inside the couple’s apartment — by Saturday or face eviction due to a company policy that bans the display of flags, banners and political or religious materials.


“It means the world to me,” Price told “The way it happened wasn’t the right way because the staff members were getting threatened and we didn’t want any violence out of this, but I’m glad we did come to a compromise.”


Randy Rich, the apartment complex’s property manager, told that Midwest Realty Management received nearly 4,000 e-mails and thousands of phone calls in connection to the controversy.


“A few were questioning our policies and were civil in nature,” Rich wrote in an e-mail. “However, most were filled with profanity and demeaning statements. Hundreds contained threats to our property, our employees and their families.”


Rich said a Facebook page created by Dawn Price contained personal information of some employees at the apartment complex that led to harassing messages. The company has asked her to remove that information since it “has no bearing on this situation or her goal of changing the current flag legislation,” Rich’s e-mail continued.


“I will be putting a boycott on your rentals,” one message reportedly read. “I will be telling anyone and everyone I know not to rent from you.”


Another reportedly read: “You are going to evict someone for displaying an American flag on Memorial Day? Shame on you for dishonoring a veteran.”


A Facebook group created by Dawn Price, “Freedom to Display the American Flag,” had roughly 2,000 members on Wednesday. As of early Friday, that number had grown to more than 44,000.


Price, who served tours of duty as a combat engineer in Iraq and Kosovo from 2000 to 2008, said he’ll now work on amending the federal Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005, which states no “condominium association, cooperative association, or residential real estate management association” may stop someone from flying the American flag. The law, however, does not apply to renters.


“I never thought it would be an issue,” Price said, especially since the flag was inside his apartment. “It’s a holiday when we should be able to show all of our pride and the respect for the people who fought for it, from the Civil War all the way to today.”


In a statement posted on its website on Thursday, Midwest Realty Management apologized to Price and all U.S. veterans.


“It was never our intention to hurt the Prices or disrespect what Mr. Price and all veterans have sacrificed for each and every one of us,” the statement reads.


The company will now revise its policy to allow residents to “honor America” and display the flag in a manner similar to the Prices, who have hung the symbol in their apartment since Veterans Day.


“Again we apologize to the Prices and anyone else who was offended by our actions,” the statement continued. “It is our sincere hope that our apology will be accepted and the changes we are making will be beneficial to our company and our residents.”


Price’s wife, Dawn, told earlier this week that she began decorating their apartment last year to honor his eight years of service. An American flag topped off the display, she said.


“I knew it made Charlie really proud to see that,” Dawn Price said on Tuesday. “And this isn’t something new. This has been up for quite some time now.”


Veterans’ groups were furious at the realtors’ initial refusal to allow the flag to fly.


“As a veteran, it sickens me that the Dawn and Charlie Price’s building management company would imply that the American flag could be construed as offensive by their residents,” Ryan Gallucci, a spokesman for AMVETS, told on Tuesday. “We’re talking about our most revered national symbol. This is insulting to anyone who has defended our flag honorably, like Charlie Price.”


Charlie Price said he wanted to thank everyone who contacted him and his wife since the controversy began last week when they were told they had to remove the flag or face eviction.


“I would like to thank all the supporters out there,” he said. “We’re looking to do this the right way. Right now, we’re concentrating on amending [the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005] so everyone can show their pride in their country.”




**The “Social Justice” Fallacy? Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing (, 100408)

by Mark W. Hendrickson


Many Christians over many years have been beguiled by the Religious Left’s use of the term “social justice.” This is because Christians rightly love justice and hate injustice. But “social justice”—or, at least, how it’s often used by liberal Christians—isn’t necessarily biblical justice.


The standard of biblical justice is equal treatment by law: “Thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty” (Leviticus 19:15). Justice not only means that nobody is to be picked on because he is poor or favored because he is rich, but that (contrary to the doctrine of “social justice”) nobody is to be picked on because he is rich or favored because he is poor. Everyone’s rights deserve the same protection. Thus, nobody should be taxed at a higher rate than his neighbors, nor should anyone receive special government handouts.


The modern left’s “social justice” strives for economic equality. It endeavors to reduce, if not erase, the gap between rich and poor by redistributing wealth. This is “justice” more akin to Marx and Lenin, not according to Moses and Jesus. It is a counterfeit of real justice, biblical justice. Modern notions of “social justice” are often wolves in sheep’s clothing.


The fundamental error of today’s “social justice” practitioners is their hostility to economic inequality, per se. “Social justice” theory fails to distinguish between economic disparities that result from unjust deeds and those that are part of the natural order of things. All Christians oppose unjust deeds, and I’ll list some economic injustices momentarily. First, though, let us understand why it isn’t necessarily unjust for some people to be richer than others:


God made us different from each other. We are unequal in aptitude, talent, skill, work ethic, priorities, etc. Inevitably, these differences result in some individuals producing and earning far more wealth than others. To the extent that those in the “social justice” crowd obsess about eliminating economic inequality, they are at war with the nature of the Creator’s creation.


The Bible doesn’t condemn economic inequality. You can’t read Proverbs without seeing that some people are poor due to their own vices. There is nothing unjust about people reaping what they sow, whether wealth or poverty.


Jesus himself didn’t condemn economic inequality. Yes, he repeatedly warned about the snares of material wealth; he exploded the comfortable conventionality of the Pharisaical tendency to regard prosperity as a badge of honor and superiority; he commanded compassion toward the poor and suffering. But he also told his disciples, “ye have the poor always with you” (Matthew 26:11), and in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:24-30) he condemned the failure to productively use one’s God-given talents—whether many or few, exceptional or ordinary—by having a lord take money from the one who had the least and give it to him who had the most, thereby increasing economic inequality.


The Lord’s mission was to redeem us from sin, not to redistribute our property or impose an economic equality on us. In fact, the Almighty explicitly declined to undermine property rights or preach economic equality when he told the man who wanted Jesus to tell his brother to share an inheritance with him, “Man, who made me a judge or divider over you?” (Luke 12:14).


All that having been said, there is much injustice in our world, much needed reform that all Christians can unite in accomplishing. Around the world, many people are poor and will never realize their God-given potential due to lack of freedom and opportunity. Let us never be on the side of those who reject man’s God-given rights and biblical justice, and who oppress and impoverish in the name of a spurious economic equality.


In relatively free societies such as our own, we must continue to combat the economic injustices of theft, fraud, deceit, trickery, etc. We should strive to undo the injustices perpetrated by unethical public policies, such as the subtle theft of citizens’ purchasing power via central bank inflation; the corrupt government practice of doling out earmarks, subsidies, and myriad special favors, often to big businesses and wealthy individuals; destructive tax policies that decapitalize society, thereby retarding growth in labor productivity, wage increases, and higher standards of living; runaway government spending that imposes an incalculable and unconscionable debt burden on the next generations, etc. We should be charitable.


By all means, let us tackle these persistent injustices. But let us be careful to abide by the biblical standard of impartiality and equal treatment by law, lest we create additional injustices.




**Glenn Beck Keeps ‘Social Justice’ Debate Alive (Christian Post, 100322)


Fox News host Glenn Beck has revealed that he will be spending “a lot of time” talking about social justice in the coming days.


After drawing fire earlier this month for equating social justice with communism, the conservative host doesn’t plan to back away from the polarizing debate.


He has not specified when he will re-engage the issue, but his earlier comments – that “social justice” and “economic justice” are code words for communism and Nazism and that believers should run from churches that advocate it – continue to spark debates among Christians.


On Friday, the head of the National Council of Churches opposed Beck’s assertion, saying, “How many of you think that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is a better theologian than Glenn Beck?”


The Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, general secretary of the ecumenical group, is in Washington, D.C., this weekend for a conference to mobilize Christians for advocacy on various domestic and international policy issues, particularly immigration reform. His comments on Friday were met with loud applause from attendees.


“My point is not to take cheap shots at an unworthy target, but rather to affirm that social justice is at the very heart of the gospel, a mark of faithfulness to the One who taught us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves,” Kinnamon said.


He noted that the NCC is best known for its translation of the New Revised Standard Version and its advocacy for social justice.


“We think those two things go together,” he said.


While some Christian leaders have come out defending social justice as biblical, others have submitted a more balanced argument on where social and economic justice fits in the church.


“While Jesus confirms that concern for others is important, he makes it clear that salvation takes precedence,” said Corey J. Hodges, pastor of New Pilgrim Baptist Church in Salt Lake City, in a commentary Thursday in The Salt Lake Tribune.


Hodges affirmed the practice of caring for the poor and less fortunate but stressed that the core of Jesus’ message isn’t social justice, as some pastors suggest.


“In the Bible, Jesus said, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, this is the first and greatest commandment.’ Here, Jesus is referring to salvation – one’s relationship with God,” the Salt Lake City pastor explained. “He goes on to say, ‘The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.’


“The central theme of the Christian faith is God’s love for humanity, resulting in Jesus’ death on the cross as a means of restoring man’s relationship with him.”


Though Jesus fed the hungry, healed the sick and associated with societal outcasts, each time he met a physical need, it was accompanied by the fulfillment of spiritual need, Hodges underscored.


“[H]is social causes never were devoid of the message of salvation,” he stated. “Some churches become a platform for social justice and horribly neglect the message of the salvation; the church’s primary mission is to preach the gospel.”




**Glenn Beck, Social Justice, and the Limits of Public Discourse (Christian Post, 100317)

By R. Albert Mohler, Jr.


Fox News broadcaster Glenn Beck is famous for launching verbal grenades, and he did so again in recent days, calling upon church members to flee congregations that promote social justice. His comments incited an immediate controversy, where far more heat than light has yet been evident. As expected, there is more to this story than meets the eye - or may reach the ear via the public conversation.


During his March 2, 2010 radio broadcast, Beck said this:


I beg you, look for the words “social justice” or “economic justice” on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes! If I’m going to Jeremiah’s Wright’s church? Yes! Leave your church. Social justice and economic justice. They are code words. If you have a priest that is pushing social justice, go find another parish. Go alert your bishop and tell them, “Excuse me are you down with this whole social justice thing?” I don’t care what the church is. If it’s my church, I’m alerting the church authorities: “Excuse me, what’s this social justice thing?” And if they say, “Yeah, we’re all in that social justice thing,” I’m in the wrong place.


Almost immediately, reaction statements emerged with furor, found in press releases and public statements made by figures like Sojourner’s editor Jim Wallis [KH: liberal] and various social justice advocacy groups. Like Captain Renault in Casablanca, various media outlets rounded up the “usual suspects.” The resultant public conversation has not been very substantial, but it has offered media magnetism.


Some of those outraged by Beck’s statements immediately insisted that social justice is the very heart of the Gospel, while others insisted with equal force that Beck had offered a courageous call for Christians to flee liberal churches that had abandoned the Gospel.


As anyone familiar with incendiary public debates should have expected, though the truth is a bit harder to determine, the issue is indeed worth whatever hard thinking a clarification of the issue requires.


Is Glenn Beck right? That is the question most in the media were asking, along with a good number of Christians who were aware of the debate. With just a few words, Beck, a convert to Mormonism, set the world of American religion into a frenzy of discourse.


At first glance, Beck’s statements are hard to defend. How can justice, social or private, be anything other than a biblical mandate? A quick look at the Bible will reveal that justice is, above all, an attribute of God himself. God is perfectly just, and the Bible is filled with God’s condemnation of injustice in any form. The prophets thundered God’s denunciation of social injustice and the call for God’s people to live justly, to uphold justice, and to refrain from any perversion of justice.


The one who pleases the Lord is he who will “keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice” (Gen. 18:19). Israel is told to “do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness you shall judge your neighbor” (Lev. 19:15). God “has established his throne for justice” (Psalm 9:7) and “loves righteousness and justice” (Psalm 33:5). Princes are to “rule in justice” (Is. 32:1) even as the Lord “will fill Zion with justice and righteousness” (Is. 33:5). In the face of injustice, the prophet Amos thundered: “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:18). In a classic statement, Micah reminded Israel: “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).


To assert that a call for social justice is reason for faithful Christians to flee their churches is nonsense, given the Bible’s overwhelming affirmation that justice is one of God’s own foremost concerns.


But, there is more going on here. Glenn Beck’s statements lacked nuance, fair consideration, and context. It was reckless to use a national media platform to rail against social justice in such a manner, leaving Beck with little defense against a tidal wave of biblical mandates.


A closer look at his statements reveals a political context. He made a specific reference to Rev. Jeremiah Wright and to other priests or preachers who would use “social justice” and “economic justice” as “code words.” Is there anything to this?


Of course there is. Regrettably, there is no shortage of preachers who have traded the Gospel for a platform of political and economic change, most often packaged as a call for social justice.


The immediate roots of this phenomenon go back to the mid-nineteenth century, when figures like Washington Gladden, a Columbus, Ohio pastor, promoted what they called a new “social gospel.” Gladden was morally offended by the idea of a God who would offer his own Son as a substitutionary sacrifice for sinful humanity and, as one of the founders of liberal theology in America, offered the social gospel as an alternative message, complete with a political agenda. It was not social reform that made the social gospel liberal, it was its theological message. As Gary Dorrien, the preeminent historian of liberal theology, asserts, the distinctive mark of the social gospel was “its theology of social salvation.”


Even more famously, the social gospel would be identified with Walter Rauschenbusch, a liberal figure of the early twentieth century. Rauschenbusch made his arguments most classically in his books, Christianity and the Social Crisis (1907) and Theology for the Social Gospel (1917). In a 1904 essay, “The New Evangelism,” Rauschenbusch called for a departure from “the old evangelism” which was all about salvation from sin through faith in Christ, and for the embrace of a “new evangelism” which was about salvation from social ills and injustice in order to realize, at least partially, the Kingdom of God on earth. He called for Christian missions to be redirected in order to “Christianize international politics.”


The last century has seen many churches and denominations embrace the social gospel in some form, trading the Gospel of Christ for a liberal vision of social change, revolution, economic liberation, and, yes, social justice. Liberal Protestantism has largely embraced this agenda as its central message.


The urgency for any faithful Christian is this - flee any church that for any reason or in any form has abandoned the Gospel of Christ for any other gospel.


As I read the statements of Glenn Beck, it seems that his primary concern is political. Speaking to a national audience, he warned of “code words” that betray a leftist political agenda of big government, liberal social action, economic redistribution, and the confiscation of wealth. In that context, his loyal audience almost surely understood his point.


My concern is very different. As an evangelical Christian, my concern is the primacy of the Gospel of Christ - the Gospel that reveals the power of God in the salvation of sinners through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The church’s main message must be that Gospel. The New Testament is stunningly silent on any plan for governmental or social action. The apostles launched no social reform movement. Instead, they preached the Gospel of Christ and planted Gospel churches. Our task is to follow Christ’s command and the example of the apostles.


There is more to that story, however. The church is not to adopt a social reform platform as its message, but the faithful church, wherever it is found, is itself a social reform movement precisely because it is populated by redeemed sinners who are called to faithfulness in following Christ. The Gospel is not a message of social salvation, but it does have social implications.


Faithful Christians can debate the proper and most effective means of organizing the political structure and the economic markets. Bringing all these things into submission to Christ is no easy task, and the Gospel must not be tied to any political system, regime, or platform. Justice is our concern because it is God’s concern, but it is no easy task to know how best to seek justice in this fallen world.


And that brings us to the fact that the Bible is absolutely clear that injustice will not exist forever. There is a perfect social order coming, but it is not of this world. The coming of the Kingdom of Christ in its fullness spells the end of injustice and every cause and consequence of human sin. We have much work to do in this world, but true justice will be achieved only by the consummation of God’s purposes and the perfection of God’s own judgment.


Until then, the church must preach the Gospel, and Christians must live out its implications. We must resist and reject every false gospel and tell sinners of salvation in Christ. And, knowing that God’s judgment is coming, we must strive to be on the right side of justice.


Glenn Beck’s statements about social justice demonstrate the limits of our public discourse. The issues raised by his comments and the resultant controversy are worthy of our most careful thinking and most earnest struggle. Yet, the media, including Mr. Beck, will have moved on to any number of other flash points before the ink has dried on this kerfuffle. Serious-minded Christians cannot move on from this issue so quickly.




**Why I Signed The Manhattan Declaration (Albert Mohler, 091123)


I am not inclined to sign manifestos or petitions. While believing strongly and passionately about many causes, I am not usually impressed with the effectiveness of such statements and I am generally concerned about how such statements might be used or construed by others. I am not reluctant to speak for myself and from my own Christian convictions and consequent judgments. Furthermore, the constant exchange of opposing statements on this or that issue merely crowds the public square as opposing viewpoints compete for attention. So, for reasons perhaps both admirable and not so admirable, I prefer to stand on my own public statements.


But I signed The Manhattan Declaration. Indeed, I am among the original signatories to that statement, released to the public at the National Press Club last Friday. Why?


There are several reasons, but they all come down to this — I believe we are facing an inevitable and culture-determining decision on the three issues centrally identified in this statement. I also believe that we will experience a significant loss of Christian churches, denominations, and institutions in this process. There is every good reason to believe that the freedom to conduct Christian ministry according to Christian conviction is being subverted and denied before our eyes. I believe that the sanctity of human life, the integrity of marriage, and religious liberty are very much in danger at this very moment.


The signatories to The Manhattan Declaration include evangelical leaders, as well as leaders from the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox churches. The statement establishes the priority of the issues addressed:


While the whole scope of Christian moral concern, including a special concern for the poor and vulnerable, claims our attention, we are especially troubled that in our nation today the lives of the unborn, the disabled, and the elderly are severely threatened; that the institution of marriage, already buffeted by promiscuity, infidelity and divorce, is in jeopardy of being redefined to accommodate fashionable ideologies; that freedom of religion and the rights of conscience are gravely jeopardized by those who would use the instruments of coercion to compel persons of faith to compromise their deepest convictions.




Because the sanctity of human life, the dignity of marriage as a union of husband and wife, and the freedom of conscience and religion are foundational principles of justice and the common good, we are compelled by our Christian faith to speak and act in their defense. In this declaration we affirm: 1) the profound, inherent, and equal dignity of every human being as a creature fashioned in the very image of God, possessing inherent rights of equal dignity and life; 2) marriage as a conjugal union of man and woman, ordained by God from the creation, and historically understood by believers and non­believers alike, to be the most basic institution in society and; 3) religious liberty, which is grounded in the character of God, the example of Christ, and the inherent freedom and dignity of human beings created in the divine image.


The Culture of Death looms over our civilization, threatening every human being and the very right of our fellow citizens to experience life and to be respected at every stage of development. The statement calls for all Christians to “be united and untiring in our efforts to roll back the license to kill that began with the abandonment of the unborn to abortion.” But the issue of the sanctity of human life reaches far beyond abortion, to the threats of genocide, “ethnic cleansing,” euthanasia, assisted suicide, and the destruction of human embryos for medical experimentation.


On marriage, the statement includes a humble admission of our own Christian complicity in its subversion: “We confess with sadness that Christians and our institutions have too often scandalously failed to uphold the institution of marriage and to model for the world the true meaning of marriage.” The declaration goes on to state:


The impulse to redefine marriage in order to recognize same­-sex and multiple partner relationships is a symptom, rather than the cause, of the erosion of the marriage culture. It reflects a loss of understanding of the meaning of marriage as embodied in our civil and religious law and in the philosophical tradition that contributed to shaping the law. Yet it is critical that the impulse be resisted, for yielding to it would mean abandoning the possibility of restoring a sound understanding of marriage and, with it, the hope of rebuilding a healthy marriage culture. It would lock into place the false and destructive belief that marriage is all about romance and other adult satisfactions, and not, in any intrinsic way, about procreation and the unique character and value of acts and relationships whose meaning is shaped by their aptness for the generation, promotion and protection of life.


The declaration includes a pledge “to labor ceaselessly to preserve the legal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman and to rebuild the marriage culture.” Why? “The Bible teaches us that marriage is a central part of God’s creation covenant. Indeed, the union of husband and wife mirrors the bond between Christ and his church.”


The threat to religious liberty is a clear and present danger — not a remote danger on a far horizon. As the statement rightly reminds us:


We see this, for example, in the effort to weaken or eliminate conscience clauses, and therefore to compel pro­-life institutions (including religiously affiliated hospitals and clinics), and pro­-life physicians, surgeons, nurses, and other health care professionals, to refer for abortions and, in certain cases, even to perform or participate in abortions. We see it in the use of anti­ discrimination statutes to force religious institutions, businesses, and service providers of various sorts to comply with activities they judge to be deeply immoral or go out of business. After the judicial imposition of “same­-sex marriage” in Massachusetts, for example, Catholic Charities chose with great reluctance to end its century­ long work of helping to place orphaned children in good homes rather than comply with a legal mandate that it place children in same­-sex households in violation of Catholic moral teaching. In New Jersey, after the establishment of a quasi­marital “civil unions” scheme, a Methodist institution was stripped of its tax exempt status when it declined, as a matter of religious conscience, to permit a facility it owned and operated to be used for ceremonies blessing homosexual unions. In Canada and some European nations, Christian clergy have been prosecuted for preaching Biblical norms against the practice of homosexuality. New hate­ crime laws in America raise the specter of the same practice here.




In recent decades a growing body of case law has paralleled the decline in respect for religious values in the media, the academy and political leadership, resulting in restrictions on the free exercise of religion. We view this as an ominous development, not only because of its threat to the individual liberty guaranteed to every person, regardless of his or her faith, but because the trend also threatens the common welfare and the culture of freedom on which our system of republican government is founded.


Finally, The Manhattan Declaration ends with a statement of public conscience and conviction. These words are meant to send a very clear message — we cannot and will not abandon or compromise our Christian convictions:


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.


I signed The Manhattan Declaration because I believe it is an historic statement of conviction and courage that is both timely and urgent. Over the course of the next few months and years, these issues will be reset in our culture and its laws. These are matters on which the Christian conscience cannot be silent. There are, of course, other issues that demand Christian attention as well. The focus on these three issues is forced by the circumstances of current threats as well as the awareness that the time of decision on these questions has come. Though Christians struggle to understand the extent to which our convictions should be incorporated in the law, we must now recognize that the very respect for these convictions — and the freedom to follow and obey these convictions in our own lives, families, and ministries is now at stake.


I signed The Manhattan Declaration because I lead a theological seminary and college, serve as a teaching pastor in a church, and am engaged in Christian leadership in the public square. Thus I see the threats to Christian liberties that now stare us in the face. The freedom not to perform a same-sex marriage is one thing, but what about the freedom to hire employees according to our Christian convictions? What about the right of Christian ministries to conduct their work according to Christian beliefs? What about the freedom to preach and teach against the grain of the nation’s laws (for example, after the legalization of same-sex marriage)? When do hate crimes laws slide into definitions of “hate speech?” The threats to our religious liberties are immediate and urgent.


I signed The Manhattan Declaration because it is a limited statement of Christian conviction on these three crucial issues, and not a wide-ranging theological document that subverts confessional integrity. I cannot and do not sign documents such as Evangelicals and Catholics Together that attempt to establish common ground on vast theological terrain. I could not sign a statement that purports, for example, to bridge the divide between Roman Catholics and evangelicals on the doctrine of justification. The Manhattan Declaration is not a manifesto for united action. It is a statement of urgent concern and common conscience on these three issues — the sanctity of human life, the integrity of marriage, and the defense of religious liberty.


My beliefs concerning the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox churches have not changed. The Roman Catholic Church teaches doctrines that I find both unbiblical and abhorrent — and these doctrines define nothing less than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But The Manhattan Declaration does not attempt to establish common ground on these doctrines. We remain who we are, and we concede no doctrinal ground.


But when Catholic Charities in Massachusetts chose to end its historic ministry of placing orphaned children in good homes because the State of Massachusetts required it to place children with same-sex couples, this is not just a Catholic issue. The orphanage could have easily been Baptist. When Belmont Abbey college in North Carolina is told by federal authorities that it must offer abortion services in its insurance plans for employees, this is no longer just a Catholic issue. The next institution to be under attack might well be Presbyterian. We are in this together, and we had better be thankful that, in this case, we are not alone.


Finally, I signed The Manhattan Declaration because I want to put my name on its final pledge — that we will not bend the knee to Caesar. We will not participate in any subversion of life. We will not be forced to accept any other relationship as equal in status or rights to heterosexual marriage. We will not refrain from proclaiming the truth — and we will order our churches and institutions and ministries by Christian conviction.


There will be Christian leaders, pastors, seminaries, colleges, universities, denominations, churches, and organizations that will abandon the faith on these issues. They will bend the knee to Caesar. Far too many already have. The signatories to The Manhattan Declaration pledge that we will not be among them.


I want my name on that list. I surrendered no conviction or confessional integrity to sign that statement. No one asked me to compromise in any manner. I was encouraged that we could stand together to make clear that to come for one of us on these issues is to come for all. At the end of the day, I did not want my name missing from that list when folks look to see just who was willing to be listed.




**Just the Beginning (Christian Post, 091201)


By Chuck Colson


As I hope you know by now, last month, 20-some Christian leaders stood before the microphones at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Fox News, CNN, ABC News, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and more were there with cameras and microphones.


There, we announced the release of the Manhattan Declaration. And we proclaimed to the church-and put our nation’s leaders on notice-that we would protect the sanctity of life, that we would uphold the sacredness of marriage as a holy union between one man and one woman, and that we would defend religious freedom for all people.


There, in front of all those cameras and lights, Christian leaders lovingly, winsomely, and firmly took a stand. I will never forget the picture. I stood between Archbishop Wuerl of Washington and Cardinal Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia. I looked over at Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Jim Daly of Focus on the Family, and Ron Sider, president of Evangelicals for Social Action.


To my left was the brilliant Bishop Harry Jackson, a man who has mobilized African American churches in the District to oppose gay “marriage.” And there was Fr. Chad Hatfield, chancellor of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary. I was missing only one man, my dear friend, the late Richard Neuhaus.


It was a foretaste of what we’re all going to see in heaven, when those of us who can truly trust the Bible, who love Christ with all our hearts, minds, and souls, are re-united in the presence of our gracious and loving God.


The response to this declaration has been amazing, and at times overwhelming. Just two weeks after the press conference, over 200,000 people have visited and agreed to sign this historic document.


And that’s what I am going to ask you to do today. Go to Download the document. Read it. Sign it. And then, just as important, send the link to your friends, your families, your pastor, and your church groups.


Just imagine what could happen if we could say to the world that a million Christians have made this pledge-that we will not compromise the faith, no matter what. I think that would have an extraordinary impact on American culture.


And just as important, I believe the Manhattan Declaration can help revitalize the church in America. One great weakness of the Church today is its biblical and doctrinal ignorance. This document is, in fact, a form of catechism for the foundational truths of the faith.


Now, opponents of the document have tried to paint it as a political tool-a way to resurrect the religious right. Nothing could be further from the truth.


This document is a clarion call to reach out to the poor and the suffering (which, as I mentioned at the press conference, is what caused me to go into the prisons for the last 34 years). The Manhattan Declaration underscores human rights, and calls on everyone to protect human dignity at every stage of life. The Manhattan Declaration was written for the common good and for justice, not for some political agenda.


It truly is the most important document I have ever put my name on. And now I ask that you put your name to it as well. Go to today.


And one more thing-visit, where you can view my latest “Two-Minute Warning,” which is a very important wake-up call for the church.




**Over 150,000 Americans Sign Manhattan Declaration (Christian Post, 091126)


More than 150,000 people have so far signed the Manhattan Declaration, just a week after the document was unveiled.


And one of the document’s drafters, Chuck Colson, hopes the number will soon reach a million so that Christians would put America on notice that they will not compromise their faith, no matter what.


Leaders from the evangelical, Orthodox and Catholic traditions released “The Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience” last week to stand firm on what they consider the three most foundational issues in society – the sanctity of life, the historic understanding of marriage, and religious liberty.


It serves as a proclamation to the nation’s leaders that they will not abandon or compromise their conscience on the three issues and as a call to the Christian church to unite in upholding the truths as followers of Jesus Christ.


Jim Daly, president and CEO of Focus on the Family and who was among the leaders at the release, has called the document “a historic development within the American church.”


“The document is a fresh and lively presentation, a renewed rallying cry to those who have been engaged in this historic effort of spiritual and cultural conversion,” Daly stated in an e-mail Wednesday. “This is not a manifesto for culture war; it is a prescription for cultural change.”


“This is a document that exhorts us to champion Christian truths in a Christian manner,” he asserted.


But not all Christian leaders have affixed their names to the declaration.


Well-known evangelical pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, Calif., believes the document “falls far short of identifying the one true and ultimate remedy for all of humanity’s moral ills: the Gospel.”


The Gospel, he said, is barely mentioned in the declaration.


He also doesn’t agree with playing down the differences between evangelicals and the other faith traditions involved, such as Roman Catholics, whom he considers “purveyors of different gospels.”


“Instead of acknowledging the true depth of our differences, the implicit assumption (from the start of the document until its final paragraph) is that Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Protestant Evangelicals and others all share a common faith in and a common commitment to the gospel’s essential claims,” he stated.


Supporting the document would “tacitly relegate the very essence of Gospel truth to the level of a secondary issue,” MacArthur argued. “That is the wrong way – perhaps the very worst way – for evangelicals to address the moral and political crises of our time.”


Pre-eminet evangelical Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., also believes the Roman Catholic Church teaches doctrines that are unbiblical and doesn’t sign documents between evangelicals and Catholics that attempt to establish common ground on theological issues.


But he added his name to the Manhattan Declaration, citing that the document is a limited statement of Christian conviction on three crucial issues and not a theological document.


“The Manhattan Declaration does not attempt to establish common ground on these doctrines,” Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, stated in a recent commentary. “We remain who we are, and we concede no doctrinal ground.”


The Manhattan Declaration, which was drafted last summer, comes as Christians feel the sanctity of human life, traditional marriage and freedom of religion and conscience are under assault. The original signers have stressed, however, that it is not a political statement and that the document could have been released 10 years ago or even 10 years later.




**Religious Leaders Call for Civil Disobedience if Laws Don’t Respect Faith (Newmax, 091122)


A formidable coalition of 150 Catholic, Orthodox and evangelical leaders are calling on Christians in a new manifesto to reject secular authority – and even engage in civil disobedience – if laws force them to accept abortion, same-sex marriage and other ideas that betray their religious beliefs.


On Friday, these leaders released a 4,700-word document – called the “The Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience.”


The document was signed by leaders ranging from evangelical leader Chuck Colson to two of the leading Catholic prelates in the U.S., Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C. and Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, and calls on Christians to engage in civil disobedience to defend their doctrines.


The document also blasts the Obama administration, saying that social ills have grown since the election of President Obama, an abortion rights advocate, along with an erosion of what it calls “marriage culture” with the rise of divorce, greater acceptance of infidelity and the uncoupling of marriage from childbearing.


Colson says the project is aimed at instilling social conservative beliefs in a new generation of believers.


“We argue that there is a hierarchy of issues,” he told The New York Times. “A lot of younger evangelicals say they’re all alike. We’re hoping to educate them that these are the three most important issues” – abortion marriage and religious liberty.


“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,” says the declaration, which was drafted by Colson, an evangelical, and Princeton University professor Robert P. George, a Roman Catholic.


The declaration lists the “fundamental truths” as the “sanctity of human life, the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife, and the rights of conscience and religious liberty.”


“Throughout the centuries, Christianity has taught that civil disobedience is not only permitted, but sometimes required,” says the document which cited civil rights icon Martin Luther King and his willingness to go to jail for his beliefs.


“Because we honor justice and the common good,” it states, “we will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide or 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.”


George and other signers backed off from specifically defining what civil disobedience may entail. Wuerl’s office played down the civil disobedience wording, saying he wasn’t urging Catholics to “do anything specific,” his spokeswoman Susan Gibbs told The Washington Post. “That wasn’t something we had talked about.”


“We certainly hope it doesn’t come to that,” said George, who told The Washington Times that he has represented a West Virginia resident who has refused to pay a portion of her state income tax that funds abortions. “However, we see case after case of challenges to religious liberty,” such as compelling pharmacists to carry abortifacient drugs or health care workers to assist in abortions, he added.


“When the limits of conscience are reached and you cannot comply, it’s better to suffer a wrong than to do it,” he said.


Unveiling the declaration Friday, Archbishop Wuerl appeared at a news conference in the District of Columbia even as the Church was considering a city-proposed compromise on its same-sex marriage measure.


He and other Church officials say the bill would require faith-based groups like Catholic Charities to extend benefits to married same-sex partners, thus forcing Christians to abandon their religious liberty. On Friday, Catholic Charities of Boston halted adoption services rather than comply with state law and allow children to be adopted by homosexual couples.


Other signatories to the document include Cardinal Justin Rigali, outgoing chairman of the U.S. Catholic bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities; Pentecostal leader Harry Jackson, pastor of a Beltsville church; evangelical activist Tony Perkins; and National Association of Evangelicals President Leith Anderson.


Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, told Newsweek the point of the Declaration is really to avoid mistakes of the past, such as when religious leaders did not stand up early enough against no-fault divorce, which he says led directly to the breakup of families and high divorce rates.


“I’m a former police officer, and I have hard time with civil disobedience, but if it comes to the point where our religious liberty is at risk, I’d not only participate but would encourage people to resist.”


The leaders are urging the public to sign the online document.





Supplemental Articles in a separate file (click here to read)