Christian Leaders Release Manhattan Declaration for Pro-Life, Conscience Rights

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 20, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Christian Leaders Release Manhattan Declaration for Pro-Life, Conscience Rights

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 20
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — A list of 149 Christian and pro-family leaders, reading like a who’s who of the pro-life movement, have signed onto the Manhattan Declaration, a new statement declaring that pro-life advocates deserve conscience rights when it comes to abortion, bioethics and other issues.

Dr. Robert George, Dr. Timothy George, and Chuck Colson joined other pro-life advocates and prominent Christian clergy, ministry leaders and scholars in announcing the new declaration at a press conference today.

The 4,700-word declaration issues a clarion call to Christians to adhere to their convictions and informs civil authorities that the signers will not-under any circumstance-abandon their Christian consciences when it comes to pro-life issues.

The Manhattan Declaration says today’s pro-life movement "claim[s] the heritage of those Christians who defended innocent life by rescuing discarded babies from trash heaps in Roman cities and publicly denouncing the Empire’s sanctioning of infanticide."

"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," it says.

"In this declaration we affirm: 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," they say.

The liberty section includes a promise: "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."

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins talked with about the new document.

"At the heart of the Manhattan Declaration is a very significant message from Christian leaders that they will not wait to respond to efforts that would limit or curtail religious liberty in America, rather they will be pro-active in exercising and defending this first freedom," he said.

"Additionally, the commitment remains to promote a culture of life to counter the ‘culture of death’ that has been advanced by the courts over the last 35 years," he added.

"Standing in the shadow of the cross, Christian leaders have drawn a cultural and political line in the sand from which they have pledged they will not be moved," Perkins continued.

Perkins said detractors will be yelling "separation of church and state" but he said the Manhattan Declaration does not impose pro-life views on anyone.

"We are bringing our faith to bear on public policy because we see the efforts of the Left as a frontal assault on human dignity," he said. "For this reason, we will not retreat an inch and will make the case for life."

Read the text of the Manhattan Declaration.

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