Sunday, November 22, 2009

I read the news today...

I saw that the spokesman for the Manhattan Declaration on Friday was my fellow Touchstone editor, Robert George. The Manhattan Declaration website opens with these words:

Christians, when they have lived up to the highest ideals of their faith, have defended the weak and vulnerable and worked tirelessly to protect and strengthen vital institutions of civil society, beginning with the family.

We are Orthodox, Catholic, and evangelical Christians who have united at this hour to reaffirm fundamental truths about justice and the common good, and to call upon our fellow citizens, believers and non-believers alike, to join us in defending them. These truths are:

  1. the sanctity of human life
  2. the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife
  3. the rights of conscience and religious liberty.
Inasmuch as these truths are foundational to human dignity and the well-being of society, they are inviolable and non-negotiable. Because they are increasingly under assault from powerful forces in our culture, we are compelled today to speak out forcefully in their defense, and to commit ourselves to honoring them fully no matter what pressures are brought upon us and our institutions to abandon or compromise them. We make this commitment not as partisans of any political group but as followers of Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Lord, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

You may click on to the website, and you might consider adding your signature as I have done.

MOSCOW — A Russian Orthodox priest who was an outspoken critic of both Islam and ultra-nationalist groups was shot dead in his Moscow church by a masked assassin, investigators said Friday (Read it by clicking here and more here).


Joe Oliveri said...

Things are definitely getting worse:

Proposed U.N. treaty would protect religion from mockery.

Three guesses which religious group is agitating for this world-wide "blasphemy" ban.

Fr. John said...

According to an article in the "Moscow Times" Fr. Daniil Sysoyev had baptized over 80 Muslims. That alone will mark you for death anywhere on the planet.

He was also in danger from his anti-communist statements, "Christians should not even sit at the same table with a Communist."

God rest his soul, and raise up more priests like him.

How long until a scholarship is named in his honour at Oxford?

Hint; do not hold your breath.

Fr. John said...

This heroic priest has done more to stop the Islamic jihad than all the Western armies combined. Send 1,000 priests like this into Afghanistan and watch what happens.

Bruce said...

I don't understand why we speak of the "sanctity of life." An online dictionary defines sanctity as:

1. holiness, saintliness, or godliness.
2. sacred or hallowed character: the inviolable sanctity of the temple.
3. a sacred thing.

If we recognize the sactity of life, then shouldn't we be against all forms of taking human life e.g. war, executions, etc. I'm not, but if it's holy, sacred, etc it sounds like I should be.

Why not just say we're against abortion?

Bruce said...

"the rights of conscience and religious liberty."

Both Romans and Anglicans traditionally didn't respect religious liberty, at least not to the extent that would be expected today. Romans certainly didn't and were the most violent about it, and Anglicans and Orthodox had official state Churches. Now, I've no problem with the Anglican and Orthodox approach and actually favor it. It's just it doesn't sound like a principle that should excite traditional Anglicans.

Allen Lewis said...

To me, "Anglicanism" is more than just a state church. It is an effort to return the Catholic Faith to its roots - that is in the Ecumenical Councils of the united Church.

Being merely a "state church" begins to place limits on what Christians can and cannot do. The entanglement of the Church and the State was never a good thing and has always been one of my objections to Rome.

Mark VA said...

From the Roman perspective:

I hear you, Bruce.

Romans certainly didn't respect religious liberty. Two dates stand out in my mind as emblematic of this charge : October 7th, 1571, and September 11th, 1683. Such religiously motivated violence happened on those days. And an ecumenical council was never even considered as a way to settle these disputes. At least Anglicans stayed out of it on both occasions;

I hear you too, Allen. No monarch should fancy being the head of his (or her) own church. Too much "entanglement", as we like to say today.

John A. Hollister said...

Well, Mark VA might have a point with respect to October 7, 1571, depending on one's personal view of how the Battle of Lepanto came to occur.

However, I doubt that any fair-minded person would blame the Roman Catholic Church for the Siege of Vienna, that reached its high point on September 11, 1683 (and note that month and day -- it was not a coincidence that the Jihadists murdered thousands in the U.S.A. on September 11, 2001, it was a deliberate choice to commemorate Islam's failure 318 years earlier to the day).

It was, after all, the Sunni Muslim Ottoman Sultan -- and claimant to the Caliphate -- who attacked Vienna, not the Roman Catholic Austrians who attacked the Turks.

John A. Hollister+

Fr. Robert Hart said...

The entanglement of Church and State goes back to Constantine. His toleration came with a price. One wonders if it has been worth it.

Mark VA said...

From the Roman perspective:


Seems that my attempt at humor mixed with sarcasm fizzled out.

My point is that the Roman Catholic Church defended all of Christianity from the Muslim attacks. All Christians in Europe at that time benefitted from this defense, Anglicans included.

Anonymous said...

The Manhattan Declaration is a splendid statement--one which deserves more attention and support in the Continuum. Our tunnel-vision attention to our own pet issues may well cause us to win a bunch of battles and still lose the war. There's a big Culture War going on out there, folks!

I just reprinted, from another blog, Dr Michael Horton's brilliant critique of Joel Osteen, for distribution in my congregation. Too bad that no one (that's No One) in our little corner of the Vineyard has the ability to produce such a critique.

Mark VA said...

From the Roman perspective:


My comments were confined to the two events I quoted, only. I hope you'll agree that if the Muslims were victorious on those two occasions, all of Christianity in Europe would have suffered a devastating blow.

The fall of Constantinople is a different story. It is true that the Western powers, especially the Venetians, didn’t muster enough help, even with Pope Nicholas V working to mobilize such help. A case can be made that lessons were learned from this failure, and bore fruit later.

The lesson I draw from this history is, that Christianity splintered along doctrinal and ethnic lines is weakened.

Albion Land said...

Fair enough, Mark. No argument there.

Nathan said...

The Manhattan Declaration is a statement whose time is past due. The issues addressed are fundamental to the Christian faith in our day. We should remind ourselves that we are Christian first, Catholic second and Anglican third. If the MD is something that doesn’t attract Anglicans because of a historical position, we have surely missed the point. The separation of Church and State was also an idea whose time had come, and is founded firmly in Christ’s own example. Likewise, one’s party affiliation should have no influence on the position. Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative; these issues should be Christianity 101. How would JFK and Barry Goldwater view this statement? Lincoln and Davis? Truman and Dewey? Taft and Teddy Roosevelt? These issues should be easily affirmed by all Christians. The fact that they are even in discussion is a frightening indication of our moral decay.