Can a Culture War Manifesto Reach a New Generation of Evangelicals and Catholics?

Chuck Colson, Tony Perkins, and other Christian right leaders have released their "Manhattan Declaration."

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By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country

A who's who of Christian right leaders, including Chuck Colson and Tony Perkins, have partnered with a handful of more moderate religious voices, including National Association of Evangelicals President Leith Anderson and New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, to release a document that reasserts the primacy of three culture war issues for Christians in the public square: abortion, marriage, and religious liberties.

A handful of those who signed the document, called "The Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience," gathered today at the National Press Club for the launch event. The declaration reads like a throwback to the culture wars of the 2004 election, but Colson says the project is aimed at instilling social conservative political orthodoxy in a new generation of believers.

"We argue that there is a hierarchy of issues," he told the New York Times. "A lot of younger evangelicals say they're all alike. We're hoping to educate them that these are the three most important issues."

It's an interesting goal that says a lot about the fears of a graying generation of culture warriors, but the big question is how to instill the declaration's principles in the new generation. Releasing a 4,700 word document at the National Press Club doesn't seem like the straightest path to young people's hearts.

Here's an excerpt from the declaration, which has 145 signers:

Because we honor justice and the common good, we will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force 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 and immorality and marriage and the family.

Read the full manifesto here.

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