Capitol Hill Update: Is the Manhattan Declaration a Real Commitment for Signers?

Some of us have served time in a number of jails simply for saving the lives of unborn children from death in front of abortion mills and a few of us spent 40 days and 40 nights in the Atlanta jail system, in the same cellblock where Dr. Martin Luther King a couple decades earlier served time for also committing civil disobedience.   

During the 1988 Democratic Party Convention, at which Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis accepted his party's nomination, some 120 or more pro-lifers were arrested in front of an Atlanta abortion "clinic" for blocking the entrances so that the abortionists could not kill the unborn babies of a number of mothers that day.   

While these pro-life "rescuers" sat in jail for weeks for the crime of saving unborn babies from death (trespassing was the actual charge), the very few conservative media outlets in the country at that time broadcast and wrote about the plight of the jailed pro-lifers and thousands of other pro-lifers came to Atlanta and demonstrated and many joined the original pro-lifers in the Atlanta jail system by sitting in front of aborturaries, thus saving the lives of unborn babies.   

During that autumn of 1988, thousands more were arrested for blocking abortion chambers all over the United States.  The pro-life "rescuers" saved countless lives of unborn babies and their mothers from much grief and guilt.  The unborn babies saved that year are now 21 years old and some are having babies of their own.  While the pro-life "rescue" movement was in effect, there were some 50,000 arrests, far more than those arrested during the civil rights era in the 1960's.   

The willingness of these pro-life Americans to go to jail for their beliefs should be a shining example to the almost 250,000 Americans who have already signed the so-called "Manhattan Declaration," since the 19 original signers signed the declaration 12 days ago.    The signers of the Manhattan Declaration "reaffirm fundamental truths about justice and the common good.  These truths are (1) the sanctity of human life (2) the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife, and (3) the rights of conscience and religious liberty."  

The original signers range from Chuck Colson who founded Prison Fellowship to the Archbishop of Washington D.C., Donald William Wuerl to the President of the Susan B. Anthony List, Marjorie Dannenfelser and the Bishop of Hope Christian Church, Harry Jackson, Jr.   

The signers declare "as Christians, we believe in law and we respect the authority of earthly rulers.  We count it as a special privilege to live in a democratic society where the moral claims of the law on us are even stronger in virtue of the rights of all citizens to participate in the political process. 

Yet even in a democratic regime, laws can be unjust.   "And from the beginning, our faith has taught that civil disobedience is required in the face of gravely unjust laws or laws that purport to require us to do what is unjust or otherwise immoral.  Such laws lack the power to bind in conscience because they can claim no authority beyond that of sheer human will."   

When those Americans sign the Manhattan Declaration, they declare that they will not comply with any edict that compels them or the institutions they lead to participate in or facilitate abortions, etc.  Nor will signers "bend to any rule forcing 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, marriage, and the family."  

The question now is, will the signers of the Manhattan Declaration emulate the actions of the pro-life "rescuers" in the 1980's and Dr. Martin Luther King and his followers in the 1960's and really accept jail-time by refusing to bend to the unjust laws which seem to be coming out of the United States Congress and some state legislatures with ever-increasing frequency?  The world will be watching. 

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