27 January, 2010

Here's you chance to put your "John Henry" on an important document

Have you signed the Manhattan Declaration yet?  This breakthrough document brought together Catholics, Evangelicals, Mainline Protestant and Orthodox theologians, clergy and lay people together to put together paper outlining a common position on the major hot button religion/state issues.

They are trying to garner 1,000,000 signatures and are almost half way there.

If Christian faith and values are important for you, take a moment to put your virtual "John Henry" on this landmark document.

9 comments:

  1. Normally, I'd go on a little tirade about Chuck Colson and the fact that anyone attempting to build consensus for a reputable cause should stay away from association with people like Chuck. You gotta watch who you get into bed with.

    You're a Catholic priest though, so what's the point of that?

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  2. Hi Tim,

    I think reddog is right on.

    I am very troubled by the Declaration. The Declaration is really promoting the idea that abortion, opposition to equal rights for LGBT folks, and the "culture wars", are the most important issues that religious believers face.

    Balderdash. The most pressing issues that we all face are the environment, poverty, and the corruption of the state through the wealth of the corporate and super rich elites.

    Mr. Colson's true intentions in putting together this coalition of the gullible and the hysterical are more accurately refelcted in his comments to the New York Times:

    “We argue that there is a hierarchy of issues,” said Charles Colson, a prominent evangelical who founded Prison Fellowship after serving time in prison for his role in the Watergate scandal. “A lot of the younger evangelicals say they’re all alike. We’re hoping to educate them that these are the three most important issues.”

    This Declaration is really about bullying younger evangelicals into squandering their energy on the disasterous "culture wars" that senior evanelicals have been fighting in the USA.

    If christianity continues to associate its brand with such bigotry, and allows itself to be hoodwinked by Republican wedge issues, then it is truly doomed.

    Seriously - this Declaration is a terrible perversion of the transformative promise of christianity.

    Cheers...Martin

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  3. Martin: On this we must respectfully disagree. I do not see the Declaration in the same light that you do. It is part of the ongoing process referred to as ECT (Evangelicals and Catholics Together) which has become a powerful instrument of the true ecumenism that is budding forth in many places: an ecumenism that is rooted in returning to that corpus of belief that existed at one point for all Christians in all places. These sources are: scripture, early church fathers and desert fathers teachings, and the ecumenical councils.

    Like reddog, I do not see this as a political issue. Knowing a number of the original drafters personally, I can assure you that while they admit to the political consequences of this declaration, its roots and genesis is very much ecumenical and spiritual in nature.

    Tim

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  4. Hi Tim,

    These issues do not resonate for younger American evangelicals, and I would guess that is also the case among most Canadian Catholics. Proceed at your own peril. Falling into the orbit of religious extremism and Republican manipulations does no credit to Canadian Catholics or evengelicals.

    By the way - when in the world was homosexuality, abortion and the culture wars ever a main theme of the scriptures? Barely mentioned (if at all).

    What ever happened to the option for the poor, social justice, and concern for creation?

    Cheers...Martin

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Martin: You asked, "What ever happened to the option for the poor, social justice, and concern for creation?"

    These things are not threatened by decisions either being considered or passed by the government, thus while they continue to need to be promoted, they don't fall into the same category as these other Christian values that are in fact being threatened today.

    Again too, I remind you that some of the framers of this document (Robert George, George Weigel and the recently deceased Fr. Richard Neuhaus) etc.) are people that I have come to know and call friends. They are not republican extremists, although the is a sympatico relationship between the positions of the Republican Party and these specific positions. In fact, RJN was a McCarthy delegate at the 1968 Democratic convention where he was arrested in the street demonstrations.

    Hope this answers your question.

    Tim

    ReplyDelete
  6. Tim, you wrote:

    Hi Martin: You asked, "What ever happened to the option for the poor, social justice, and concern for creation?"

    These things are not threatened by decisions either being considered or passed by the government.."

    Are you kidding?

    Martin

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Martin: No, I'm not kidding. While is true that governments must address social justice, environmental and poverty issues, they are not (as yet) doing so in a manner that threatens openly Catholic/Christian values or teachings.

    Aside from this, the Declaration is not an exclusive list of issues. It is an ecumenical statement on issues that these Christians agree on. For example, believe me when I say that there are some among the drafters some that do not hold that climate change is even an issue while others trumpet loudly the need for quick and substantial action NOW!

    In a nutshell: I am saying that Christians can walk and chew gum at the same time, meaning that just because they are now addressing the issues in the Declaration does not mean that they are also working to promote others.

    Please don't condemn the efforts of these men and women for not addressing every issue in just one document.

    Tim

    PS Hope your staying warm wherever you are. To quote old Joe Hicknell, "it's cold enough outside to freeze the nuts off an iron bridge" up here. Burrr.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Tim,

    There is no condemnation on my part. I only point out that the drafters state that these are the most important issues facing religious people. I find that incredible. I also point out that Mr. Colson has stated why he put this declaration together, and I find it silly that Canadians should jump on a bandwagon that is meant to bully American evangelical youth.

    As for the threat that poverty, concentration of wealth, and the environment pose to humanity, I see much government culpability here. For example, the SCOTUS decision to permit corporations unlimited spending on political issues will make American democracy even more dysfunctional than it already is (an opinion that seems nearly universal among the left and the right). Moreover, government inaction on other important issues is just as deadly to us as government action.

    To decide to do nothing on an important matter can be just as destructive as doing something on another matter.

    Cheers...Martin

    ReplyDelete
  9. Martin: I certainly agree that the SCOTUS decision is inane. To state that a corporation has the same constitutional right to free speech in political campaigns seems illogical to most people.

    I am not in favor of everything that the American's offer to the world of faith. I just happened to agree with the three issues addressed in the Declaration, and they are issues in the cultural spot light in that country right now. There is no harm in offering one's voice in support of their debate if invited to do so.

    Tim

    ReplyDelete

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