I suppose I'm now invited to sign along with the rest of rank-and-file American Christianity. But I probably would not have signed even had I been asked in the initial go-round. Why? For two reasons:
First, Tim's and my father was frequently asked to join in such statements. On several occasions he did so to his subsequent regret. One such statement on Jewish and Christian mutual respect morphed into a tool for Jewish criticism of Evangelical proselytization of Jews. In the end, out of humility or simple pessimism, Dad declined to join such statements.
There is always the question of whether the real audience for such statements is the ego of the signers. Praise God I've not risen to a level of prominence that would afford my ego such tempting gratification.
Certainly this is not the case with every signer, but I suspect this motivation plays a greater role in the number of signatures a statement attracts than any signer would like to admit.
Which brings me to the second reason I would not sign such a statement, and that's this: there are signers and there are doers and seldom the twain shall meet. Yes, among the Manhattan Declaration's signers is a man who deserves the respect of every American who appreciates courage in protection of the unborn--Randy Alcorn who lost his home and savings to the corrupt RICO prosecutions of the Clinton administration--but the majority have shown little inclination to stand courageously against the progress of the culture of death in America.
I'm happy to pastor a church whose elders sent me to oppose the government-mandated killing of Terri Schaivo. I was happy to stand in Pinellas Park at the side of many simple Roman Catholics and Protestants who were willing to disrupt their lives and face arrest in opposition to actual governmental murder. But I didn't notice any of the signatories to the Manhattan Declaration standing there during the weeks that Terri Schiavo was starved to death.
Many fundamentalist Protestants and simple Roman Catholics stood outside those gates--enraged by the failure of their spiritual leaders to join them.
I was proud to be allied there with a pastor named David Currell who willingly went to his arrest for seeking to take water to Terri Schiavo. But, to the best of my knowledge, David hasn't been approached to sign the Manhattan Declaration. Simple believers, doers, seldom are.
But they're the ones who are out there. They shame me even today. It's 15 degrees out, the wind is blowing, and I know that right here in Toledo there are Protestants and Catholics who are out facing the enemy, opposing abortion, standing for righteousness.
Praise God for the courageous little people. While those with fame and fortune are deliberating whether to add their names to a document, God's men of faith but little renown are busy gathering five smooth stones from a brook and nailing theses to the Wittenburg cathedral door. God has such men in His Kingdom today. They will lead us to His victory.