In a new column, published in the San Angelo (Texas) Standard-Times, Terry Mattingly talks to H. Tristram Engelhardt about the Manhattan Declaration. Englehardt is the author of “The Foundations of Bioethics” (M & M Scrivener Press, 2000).
While nothing in the Manhattan Declaration is truly new, arguments about its call for civil disobedience will help draw sharper lines between traditional believers and the powers that be in an increasingly diverse and secular America, said H. Tristram Engelhardt, senior editor of the Christian Bioethics journal at Oxford University.
“This document is the product of a political coalition, but it’s not political in the same sense that the tax code is political,” said Engelhardt, who is advising several Eastern Orthodox leaders who are studying the text. “This is political in the sense that these Christians are working together on certain issues that have moral and public implications.”
The reality is that its authors believe there are “certain God-ordained truths” that continue to have authority and weight in American life, he said. The big question: Are they right or wrong?
“You could make a case,” concluded Engelhardt, “that anyone who recites the Nicene Creed, or anyone who believes that God has established any requirements for how we are supposed to live our lives can now be called a fundamentalist in the context of this secular culture … That is what this debate is actually about.”