Monday, January 18, 2010

I signed it and I think he would too...

This morning I woke up with two ideas twirling through my head. First it was Martin Luther King Jr. day and that meant the kids didn't have school. Additionally, I always spend time on this day reflecting on the impact that man had on all of our lives here in the U.S. especially. Second, I had a couple emails last night about my signing the Manhattan Declaration last month. Some of my less than conservative friends were really offended that I had added my name to a document that stood for the sanctity of life (it is clearly pro-life), sanctity of marriage (between one man and one woman) and religious liberty.

The twirling thoughts led to starting my day more convinced than ever that I would sign it tomorrow and the next day and the next. Here's why...

The Issues: When one strips away the policy, the opinion and the emotion from the issue of abortion one is left with one of two value presuppostions - if I am pro-life then the value of physical life is paramount. If I am pro-choice then individual liberty is the paramount value. Side-note - this is precisely why the two sides will never even have a debate no less a resolution. The MD (Manhattan Declaration) makes it clear that when the two sides come into conflict one cannot have both at the same time - one must be foundational for the other. In my own thinking I cannot see how a culture established on the premise that individual liberty is more important than life can survive. Without the value of life, there is no value of liberty. One does not have the chance to even choose liberty if one is not alive. It also seems abundantly self absorbed to make those value decisions for others who are not given the right to make the decision themselves. Now, before someone points the finger at my ideology - may I point out that I have been apart of an abortion decision - so I do indeed know what is involved and how it feels. That is not absent from my thinking for one moment.

The second issue is that of marriage. Marriage is one of the building blocks on which culture is founded. It is not a man-made institution that one may willy-nilly (I've always wanted to use that phrase while blogging) re-define. The Prop 8 court debate that is happening as we speak is a testament to the high value our culture puts on fallacious logic and evidence. If those challenging the constitutionality of the voter's decision can come up with one more expert to say that same sex marriage is somehow not detrimental it will be interesting to see how this plays out. Does it strike anyone else as odd that the arguments (for the prosecution mind you) are all about defending that which has been outside the "norm" in our society, not providing evidence that it is somehow indeed positive to our culture. The research done in the secular world for over 50 years points out that when communities have the traditional model of marriage that a number of benefits occur for the individuals, the families and the community at large. The same research does NOT say that if we allow same-sex marrige we have a bunch of horrific things happen - but it DOES say that we are absent the benefits. Do we actually think that has anything to do with us (man) or might it be an institution that comes from a higher power?

Last issue is religious liberty. I can't tell you the number of people I meet who find out where I work and immediately assume I am against liberties when it comes to thought and to freedoms. What an absurd thought! We live under a set of founding documents that allow for and flourish on those freedoms. Nothing could be further from the truth. I want to allow people of all worlds of thought to have the opporutunity to share, believe, and fight for their beliefs. If we miss that one, we have just taken a step back in ideological history, and not a positive step. What shocks my students occassionally - is that I am very much a free market idea guy. Let all the ideas into the marketplace - the best ones will find their way to the top because they are true. Now, I happen to believe (both historically and practically) that ideas that derived their foundations from God are the best ideas. But I want to hear them all - I want to engage in them all and I want to see our culture honor all, but follow the best.

That is why I signed the Manhattan Declaration and as we remember a great civil rights leader today, may we see that based on his own beliefs he probably would have signed it too...


1 comment:

Christopher Krycho said...

I'm curious if you've read some of the discussions on why some prominent Christian leaders have not signed it and what you think of their reasoning.

The most relevant examples I can think of:
John MacArthur
James White
Alistair Begg
Michael Horton
R. C. Sproul

Now, I've yet to make a decision on this. Arguments by guys like Al Mohler and a few others are fairly persuasive in the other direction. On the one hand, Colson clearly sees this as an ecumenical document, and I'm sure I don't entirely agree with Colson in terms of how far-reaching his ecumenicism goes. On the other hand, I think I'm willing to grant a good deal more in ecumenical terms than, say, MacArthur. All of which leaves me thinking mostly about just how far I'm willing to go in an ecumenical direction.

Again, just looking for your thoughts here. :)