Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Manhattan Declaration

The Manhattan Declaration was drafted by three prominent evangelical leaders including Chuck Colson. It is a document that is a pledge against supporting abortion (and other forms of murder), immoral sexual relationships, and giving in to limits on freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion. Over 62,000 have signed this pledge. To add your name, click here. But be careful, if you sign, that you agree to everything it says and that you are really willing to live up to the pledge. I wrote the following letter to contact at the Manhattan Declaration.


To whom it may concern,

While I agree with the spirit and intent of the Manhattan Declaration, I can't sign it as written because I don't agree with everything in it.

The most glaring error is the phrase "which made modern democracy possible". The Founding Fathers utterly denounced democracy as a dangerous form of government where guaranteed rights are subject to the whims of the majority and demagoguery. We are (or at least we are supposed to be) most decidedly and exclusively a republic.

While I agree that no fault divorce should not be tolerated in the church, Jesus clearly taught that this should not (and will not) be prohibited by civil authorities. Note his clarification of the Pharisees' question: "All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given." Matt 19:11 (KJV).

The document refers to the necessity of "forsaking all others" and warns against allowing polygamy. While I agree that God's original plan for marriage was one man and one woman, and that homosexual relations and multiple partners for women are most decidedly an abomination to the Lord, I challenge anyone to definitively prove from Scripture that what Abraham, Jacob, David, and Solomon did should prohibited by civil law or even that it should not be allowed in the church. At what point in time did the acceptability of polygamy end? Show me the scripture if you know it. (I agree that the bishops and deacons of the church must be married to "but one wife", but not all men in the church hold this office.)

In the beginning it says, “…which we sign as individuals, not on behalf of our organizations”, but in the end the pledge concerns “our institutions”. I am not the executive of any organization. You should add a phrase to indicate that this pledge is not just for institutions, but private individuals can also participate.

I completely agree in principle with the last paragraph of the Declaration and would be inclined to sign it, but one should be warned that one must do so carefully and be prepared to live up to this promise. A promise not kept will weaken the cause. “…we will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate…” implies a refusal to pay taxes if any portion of it is used for the listed activities. If this is really the intent of the Declaration, then I applaud you for your unusual courage and pray for the defeat of our persecutors. Since such use of taxpayers' money at the federal level has already ensued, I would highly recommend that any signers get educated as to the law and follow the lead of successful tax avoidance strategies. I highly recommend reading a forthcoming document called the "Articles of Freedom". This document, which will contain such strategies, was adopted by the 2009 Continental Congress, a group which has other grievances against the federal government. The document will be available in its entirety at http://www.cc2009.us/aof. (See especially Title 13.) If further modifications of the Articles of Freedom are allowed to take place or if a future Continental Congress convenes (I am not a member of the current congress) and drafts a new document, may I have your permission to propose the addition of the last paragraph (modified to include any individual) of the Manhattan Declaration into such document?

Sincerely,

Matthew Miller

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