By Nathan Jones
One of the most powerful movies I ever saw as a child was on the life of Mohandas "Mahatma" Gandhi. This movie was hardly a hit with the elementary crowd, especially with blockbusters like Star Wars and Indiana Jones capturing young imaginations at the time. But, those movies didn't influence me like Gandhi's life story of nonviolent resistance. Luke Skywalker never took down the Galactic Empire by initiating mass work stoppages such as Gandhi initiated on the British. And, Indiana Jones never defeated the Nazi armies by going on a fast until they relented and begged him to eat something, as the Muslims and Hindus did during their civil war.
Never by gun or by army did Gandhi make huge institutions stand down, but by passive deeds alone. Now, here was a man who could move mountains by merely being inconvenient. Such influencing power was something worth admiring!
Today's Civil Rights Movement
In this modern day and age, we can look back and rejoice that similar social injustices were defeated by the same passive resistance methods. Men like William Wilberforce peacefully took down slavery in the British Empire. Men like Martin Luther King, Jr., marched until racial equality was recognized. Women rallied until their voices were finally heard at the voting booth. Again and again throughout history discrimination was stood up to and forced back by men and women willing to get a black eye and even give up their lives so that justice would prevail. And, behind every Western movement for moral justice were Christians standing on the Word of God.
Every age battles some form of oppression, and for this generation the battle goes on, though the causes may be different. While the Puritans fled the Old World for the New to escape religious persecution, today there is no place to escape the growing intolerance of those hostile towards the Christian worldview. In a culture that supposedly values "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," the unborn go without a voice, slaughtered by the millions for the only crime of being inconvenient. The very institution of marriage between one man and one woman that God ordained is being corrupted through divorce, sexual promiscuity and apathy, with the historically proven end-result the demise of the nations. And liberty, the freedoms generations have bled and died for, are being handed over in return for false security and slavery to our own selfish desires. These are the forms of oppression this generation must stand up to, or lose every God-ordained freedom that we hold dear.
The Manhattan Declaration
Tired of government regulations telling Christians what they can publicly share from the Bible, tired of threats to force Christian organizations to comply with immoral requirements, tired of seeing the destruction of the foundational family unit, tired of the genocide of our own children going on in our communities — over 150 Christian leaders have proclaimed that enough is enough. They have finally stood up, drawn the line in the sand, and proclaimed that they will not budge where God's moral law is concerned. They have declared that they will certainly engage in nonviolent civil disobedience if forced to render to Caesar what is God's.
Chuck Colson (Founder of The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview), Robert George (Professor, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University) and Timothy George (Professor, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University) have drafted a pointed document called "The Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience."
The declaration's purpose is to join Christians across denominational lines to:
"...to embrace our obligation to speak and act in defense of these truths. We pledge to each other, and to our fellow believers, that no power on earth, be it cultural or political, will intimidate us into silence or acquiescence. It is our duty to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in its fullness, both in season and out of season."
The truths the Declaration affirms and defends are:
- the sanctity of human life
- the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife
- the rights of conscience and religious liberty
Since The Manhattan Declaration's release on November 20, 2009, over 150 Christian leaders such as Randy Alcorn, Kay Arthur, Dr. James Dobson, Dr. Jack Graham, Jerry Jenkins, Josh McDowell, Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., Dr. J.I. Packer, Joni Eareckson Tada and others have signed the declaration. They have gone on record saying that they would be willing to stand up for what is right no matter what the consequences.
"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 antilife 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."
Tens of thousands of passionate people have joined them in drawing the line in the sand by signing The Manhattan Declaration. I was number 87,934. I encourage every believer in Christ to make a stand for what is moral, to give no more ground to what is unjust, and to defend what is sacred by also signing The Manhattan Declaration.
Remember that Gandhi through passive resistance expelled the British Empire from India. And Jesus Christ, without lifting a sword, defeated the Satanic empire and brought salvation to the believing world. There is power in peacefully standing up for what is right.