S. M. Hutchens says that the Manhattan Declaration needs to be revised. Even though he supported and signed the Declaration, he notes some weaknesses in it. In a lengthy blog post, he argues that the Declaration confuses “revealed religion with the natural law” and as a result has mixed “the oil of Christianity with the water of popular American religion.” Hutchens’s remarks were provoked in part by a recent video released by Chuck Colson and Timothy George on civil disobedience (see above).
“We owe a debt of gratitude to those who have produced the Manhattan Declaration, but in order for it to have the highest level of integrity they must be very careful about the way they promulgate it.Â It is looking more and more like a document born in an opinion shared by a certain strain of Enlightenment liberalism and prominent representatives of the Reformation’s left wing, elevated to ius divinum by the application of natural law categories.Â This approach obscures what I think is the real desideratum: that it lay down universally Christian principles and inspire Christian resistance to the tyranny of the Godless Party now in power.Â To do this, it must stay very, very close to advocacy of the unquestionably and universally Christian (which does not include democracy, freedom of religion, women’s suffrage, and opposition to monarchy, but does include opposition to abortion, homosexualism, and euthanasia), and at all costs avoid using natural law argumentation to appeal to the loose and uncatholic pieties of the largest possible number of modern American churchgoers.
“I suggest a second, revised edition.”
Even if you ultimately disagree with Hutchens, this is a thoughtful critique and is worth the time to read. Read the rest here.