Category Archives: public square

Family Policy Lecture at Family Research Council

Next Wednesday at 12:30pm, one week from today, I’ll be giving the Family Policy Lecture at the Family Research Council in Washington, D. C.  My lecture is entitled “The Sacrificial Witness of the Christian Moral Tradition” and will span history, theology, ethics and public policy.  I will engage the liberal Protestant tradition and its understanding of public square involvement in the course of the lecture.

I am honored to give this lecture, which has featured speakers like Os Guinness, Eric Metaxas, and Ross Douthat, but I am excited to speak on this topic at a thinktank that is doing a great deal to contend for the faith in the public square.

Here are the details from FRC:

The Christian influence in Western society has played a vital role in shaping our nation and the world. Many, such as the great British abolitionist William Wilberforce, have used their Christian faith to inform and drive moral policies. To divorce the Christianity of these men and women from their political action would do a disservice both to them and to history itself.

In today’s world Christianity is often seen as a religious relic of the past. Dr. Owen Strachan issues a clarion call to the next generation of Christians to realize the times demand a strong biblically-grounded, moral witness. Born out of a spirit of sacrifice and humility Christians, must speak out for godliness and righteousness in our public sphere. Dr. Strachan will explain what must be done if the great Christian witness of the past is to once again influence our culture and its government.

You can register for the live-stream here.  You are of course welcome to fly to DC to hear this lecture–consider yourself invited, in fact.  But the live-stream might just work better for some.

By the way, FRC is currently leading the charge for Dr. Angela McCaskill, who was suspended from her post at Gallaudet  University for supporting traditional marriage by signing a petition.  You can show support for McCaskill by going here.  I would encourage you to do so.

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Tim Keller, Al Mohler, and Ravi Zacharias Agree: Life, Marriage, and Liberty Are Important

The Manhattan Declaration was, as of last night, the 29th most searched term on Google.  It was a “spicy” search term.  So there you go.

Justin Taylor blogged it yesterday.  In less than 24 hours, the site has drawn over 7000 signatures.    The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Christian Post, First Things, and other organizations have covered it already.

If you have not signed up, consider joining Tim Keller, Al Mohler, Ravi Zacharias and many others.  Make a statement to the broader culture about life, marriage, and liberty.  Our voices matter.

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The Manhattan Declaration: A Bold Statement on Family and Faith

Today at 12pm, a group of evangelical, Catholic and Orthodox leaders released a statement on the sanctity of human life, traditional marriage, and religious liberty.  Called the Manhattan Declaration, this statement represents a bold rebuke of current cultural trends and a clear call to the culture to recognize the harm it is doing itself in crucial areas.

The statement was drafted by Robby George, Timothy George, and Chuck Colson.  Prominent evangelical signatories include Al Mohler, Russ Moore, David Dockery, Danny Akin, Marvin Olasky, Ravi Zacharias, Bill Edgar, Michael Easley, and others.  Evangel has a full list of signers.  The MD is not an outreach of Evangelicals and Catholics Together. 

 The Manhattan Declaration is not simply a statement, but a grassroots movement.  All who agree with the statement are strongly encouraged to sign the Declaration in support.

Download:
 The Declaration

Join the movement!
Sign the Declaration

More on the MD:

The Manhattan Declaration is a 4,732-word statement signed by a movement of Orthodox, Catholic and evangelical Christian leaders who are collaborating around moral issues of great concern. Its 125+ signers affirm the sanctity of human life, marriage as defined by the union of one man and one woman, and religious liberty and freedom of conscience. The Manhattan Declaration endorses civil disobedience under certain circumstances.

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.

Visit the site for more information.

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Charles Krauthammer on American Decline

The always provocative Charles Krauthammer recently published a piece entitled “Decline Is a Choice” in The Weekly Standard that chronicles how liberal political thought is causing the decline of America.

Here’s a snatch comparing Europe’s decline and America’s heretofore dominance:

The corollary to unchosen European collapse was unchosen American ascendancy. We–whom Lincoln once called God’s “almost chosen people”–did not save Europe twice in order to emerge from the ashes as the world’s co-hegemon. We went in to defend ourselves and save civilization. Our dominance after World War II was not sought. Nor was the even more remarkable dominance after the Soviet collapse. We are the rarest of geopolitical phenomena: the accidental hegemon and, given our history of isolationism and lack of instinctive imperial ambition, the reluctant hegemon–and now, after a near-decade of strenuous post-9/11 exertion, more reluctant than ever.

And here’s the major statement:

Which leads to my second proposition: Facing the choice of whether to maintain our dominance or to gradually, deliberately, willingly, and indeed relievedly give it up, we are currently on a course towards the latter. The current liberal ascendancy in the United States–controlling the executive and both houses of Congress, dominating the media and elite culture–has set us on a course for decline. And this is true for both foreign and domestic policies. Indeed, they work synergistically to ensure that outcome.

Read the whole thing. Certain aspects of American politics need pruning and chastening, but it is a fool’s errand to wish for and work toward the decline of America.  It’s popular to do so today, particularly among younger folks (including some evangelicals who swim wherever the cognosceti go), but I wonder whether many of us know what our half-baked ideas will produce in terms of the global balance of power and our own sociopolitical health–and what this could mean for the gospel.

We certainly don’t need America to survive in her past form (we don’t need any country, for that matter), but neither should we fail to recognize that we are a strategic country, both politically and evangelistically.

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“Judging Amanda”: Home-Schooled Girl Must Attend Public School

Just read this shocking bit of news at the On Faith blog operated by the Washington Post:

If you’ve ever wondered why conservative evangelical Christians seem so concerned about the dangers of government intervention in our lives, read a recent New Hampshire family court ruling that 10-year-old Amanda — who has been home-schooled by her religiously conservative mother since first grade — must now attend public school.

The plaintiff (Amanda’s father — the couple divorced shortly after Amanda was born) “believes that exposure to other points of view will decrease Amanda’s rigid adherence to her mother’s religious beliefs, and increase her ability to get along with others and to function in a world which requires some element of independent thinking and tolerance for different points of view,” family court Justice Lucinda Sadler explained.

Sadler agreed with the father and has since ordered ten-year-old Amanda to go to public school:

The court agreed that Amanda “appeared to reflect her mother’s rigidity on questions of faith . . . Amanda’s relationship with her father suffers to some degree by her belief that his refusal to adopt her religious beliefs and his choice instead to spend eternity away from her proves that he does not love her as much as he says he does.”

This is nothing less than astonishing.  I hope you’re getting the significance of this.  A family court judge is stepping into a family dispute between a divorced couple.  This judge is giving priority to the father’s supposed right to be loved by his daughter over the girl’s right to believe as she chooses (and the mother’s right to raise the girl as she chooses–apparently she has custody).  This is outrageous.

Sometimes Christians are painted in the popular media as wackos and nuts when it comes to liberty and freedom.  We’re an easy target to mock when it comes to public square issues, as it’s far easier to make fun of someone for supposed infringments of personal liberty than it is to mount a defense against such mockery.  It must also be said that Christians do sometimes go overboard on these points.  We can at times get carried away and, it must be said, worry too much about the state and not enough about the gospel of the kingdom.

But with that noted, there is great cause for Christians and other religious groups to be vigilant about such matters.  There is real danger out there to religious liberty and individual rights.  Witness what is happening in New Hampshire.  It’s easy to mock this kind of thing–it’s also increasingly easy for the state to infringe on the Constitutional rights of citizens.  Christians are right to be outraged by this kind of ruling–it is outrageous.

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