one million strong

by Karen Topakian

Far be it from me to criticize someone who calls for civil disobedience.  But when Chuck Colson, former Watergate felon, suggests it. I need to take a second look.

As a co-drafter of the Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience, Mr. Colson seeks 1,000,000 signers to this manifesto.  This 4,700-word document expounds on the sanctity of human life, the dignity of marriage as a union of husband and wife and the freedom of conscience and religion. And it urges civil disobedience, if necessary, to fight for these principles.

While reading the online tome, authored by Christian, Catholic and Orthodox leaders, I looked in vain for an argument against capital punishment or war. But found none.

What I did find while searching for information about Mr. Colson was a reference to a letter that he and other religious leaders sent in 2002, to then President Bush outlining their theological support for a just war pre-emptive invasion of Iraq.

I also searched in the Declaration for a nod to the persecution of non-Christians. Again I came up empty handed.

To date, 200,000 people have signed on including, theologians, Catholic bishops and arch bishops, reverends, ministers and a few notables: Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family; and the Most Rev. Peter J. Akinola Primate, Anglican Church of Nigeria (Abika, Nigeria) who opposed the consecration of Gene Robinson, the first openly homosexual bishop in the Anglican Communion.

When I think of religious leaders committing acts of civil disobedience, I think of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dedication to racial justice and Philip Berrigan and his brother Daniel’s commitment to nuclear disarmament.

Imagine one million religious leaders performing acts of civil disobedience in opposition to sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan or against any state sponsored execution.

I guess I’m just a little jealous.


  1. Well said, Karen!

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