Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Reflections on the Manhattan Declaration and intelligent design


Recently, Bill Dembski noted the Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience, aimed at Christians who take their faith seriously. It points out that the direction of public policy (= what Top People want) in the United States is in stark contrast to the beliefs of most of the people. It has been signed by many key leaders.

In my view, too many Christians in North America spend too much time stomping for Jesus and not enough asking themselves – what should I do about the general direction of public policy, given that I have a vote in my own country and – so far – also the right to learn the truth and to appeal to government?

American citizen: In many places in the world, you would never be so lucky as to have a real chance.

So is Manhattan relevant to ID? Well, like “climategate”, Manhattan helps us see the huge struggle we all face, once we allow facts to matter.

Many people today routinely make a living misrepresenting facts and – in Canada where I live – a surprising number also make a living chipping away at their neighbours’ civil rights in the name of “human rights.” Often, these cases target religious values, so “hate” becomes whatever lifestyle codes or opinions Top People or their proteges don’t like.

Many Americans, apparently anxious to compete, want into the shakedown. Shakedown can be very lucrative on the government tab. In Canada, for example, the “human rights” defendant must pay his own costs, but the plaintiff is funded by government. Also, some legislation is constructed in such a way that it is very, very difficult to be found innocent. One can in fact be a complainant for a living.

None of this current culture is good for honest appraisal of evidence, which is what ID represents. However, the current culture is very good for suppressing evidence, and for demanding that others suppress it too, and thus violate their consciences. Unless, of course, those others are self-righteous authoritarians who actually feel good about all this. In which case, they will feel even better about themselves and indulge their vice even more.

(Recent Canadian cases: Peterborough bishop charged over refusing to have a gay guy living with another gay guy as an altar server; gay bed-and-breakfast owner had to pay shakedown for not wanting a dog in his home because he is allergic to dogs; late nite comic whose jokes were deemed not funny charged under the BC “human rights” Tribunal. Once fulltime busybodies get their nose into government, professing to fight “hate,” there is nothing with which they will not interfere. And then, no surprise, the system is rapidly overtaken by political interests who suppress free speech about topics of vital public interest.)

This much else I know is true:

– There is little chance that legacy mainstream media will give the Manhattan Declaration much attention, because they are too far out of touch with what most traditional Christians (or Mormons, observant Jews, or good Muslim citizens – the majority) believe. They have no idea how seriously we must take what is happening. Their reaction, if any, will be stupid snarks and ill-advised attacks.

That is one contributing factor to their steady loss of circulation and audience. They hope to remedy that by inventing doctrines like localism, reviving old ones like “fairness”, and finding some way to suppress the blogosphere or the Internet in general. Getting rid of the right to know what is really happening is key to their quest  for a socially engineered “near utopia” of their own imagination.

These legacy media should break up or go out of business. Their business model is not working, and confidence in their take on the news is eroding rapidly.

–  Driving any reference to religion from the public schools (ACLU-style) has this consequence, among others: Children grow up in families which hold no beliefs other than those sponsored on popular TV sitcoms, reality shows, and advertisements. As a result, they may believe vicious parodies of religious people. They don’t know any religious people; they just know the parodies. Thus, they are not outraged by the violation of the civil rights of their fellow citizens, in the name of fighting “hate”. And, of course, the mentality spreads into society at large.  No one knows who will be targeted next. It could be McDonald’s because of its “discriminatory” policy requiring employees to wash their hands.

So fighting “hate” is far more important than fighting disease? Did anyone vote on these priorities, in the age of the H1N1 swine flu virus?

– Journalists who are observant Christians, Jews, Mormons, Muslims, Bahais and others have warned for many years against the tolerated ignoramus-ism in media about religion in North America. It is certainly a contributing factor.

One of my favourite examples is this: Years ago, a very prominent Canadian magazine editor announced in our key news magazine that he knew that the religious denomination to which one of our current cabinet ministers belongs is off the beaten track because it teaches that every member has a personal relationship with Jesus.

Hello? Hello? Do we have a connection? All orthodox Christian denominations teach this as a fact. That is what it means to be a Christian.

If that editor had displayed such complete ignorance about any other subject (Automotive industry? Spring bear hunt? Trade relations with China?), he would be expected to just bone up or shut up. But I wouldn’t be surprised if that guy rabbited on for years, and was feted and celebrated for his ignorance. I don’t know, because I stopped reading the magazine until someone else took over the helm – the current chief, Ken Whyte, is a far more worthy successor in my view. He stood up to the Islamists in recent years and won. Most Canadian Muslims are probably thanking Allah. They don’t go to all the trouble of relocating in Canada in order to duplicate the conditions they left behind.

Unfortunately, in the typical legacy journalism culture, everyone “knows” about the gap tooth creationist moron, but no one “knows” about the climategate scientists – who have a far worse and more powerful influence on society. But legacy journalists, in my experience, are proud of their ignorance and stupidity. It is a badge of merit that proves they are on the right side. And they will avoid covering anything like climategate that exposes where their bias has led.

– Lastly, Bill O’Reilly asks, “Why now? Why are some Christian leaders coming out of the sacristy at this point in time?” He offers several suggestions, of which I will say only this: If the clergy and Christian leadership class don’t come out of their sacristies soon, the government will be going after them. It’s that simple, really, and the Canadian experience shows it clearly.

If you are an American, read Shakedown, Lights Out, and Tyranny of Nice, to see what happened in Canada, and prepare yourself. If you are a European, join us Canadians as happy warriors, fighting back. If you live in a generally unfree society, please hold a revolution now. You have nothing to lose except that piece of duct tape over your mouth, which does not flatter you.

You should listen to the eminent Darwinians speak on this topic. All of them would prefer a “socialist” society that helps the poor
because they want power over people's lives. Socialism isn't compassionate, or fair, and it doesn't help the poor, it makes people poor, and keep them poor, while a ruling oligarchy of our 'betters' stays rich. some pigs are more equal than others.
ure capitalism, where the poor have no support from the government, is truely Darwinist,
on the contrary, its truly christian, where no one is FORCED to help his neighbor, but people do out of compassion. it is truly a compassionate society, compared to our thuggish, uncaring socialist economy, where no one cares about anyone else, because the government is supposed to. tsmith
Lars at 7: A reader wrote me privately, asking this very question, what does "stomping for Jesus" mean. I offer the answer I provided below, slightly edited: [From Denyse: When I gave the plenary address at Write! Canada in 2007, of about 300 writers in the room, almost no one knew about the way in which believing Christians and observant Jews are targeted by "human rights" commissions, usually dominated by leftists and in some cases egged on by Islamists. It was an observant Jewish lawyer who pointed out that, based on his study of cases, serious Christians are disproportionately targeted. The people I was addressing were Christian communicators and they didn't even know? But it is their job to know! Since then, I have listened to many, many crickets chirp and - see below - many people stomping for Jesus. Will you face the same problem in the USA? I sure hope not. You will not much like the results.] "What exactly is "stomping for Jesus"? Is this a way of saying that North American Christians have emphasized evangelism to the exclusion of discipleship? If so, I agree with the assessment, but this is not what the vast majority of evangelical churches have been doing. Considering that nearly 80% of churches in the USA will have an overall attendance of 150 or less tomorrow, it seems unfair to judge the majority based on the performance of a handful of mega-churches." [From Denyse: Stomping for Jesus? We holler and stomp on Sunday morning but then we go away and do nothing of consequence about the slow ebb of civil liberties. We may even vote for political parties dedicated to stamping them out, if our union tells us to. (In context: The single biggest source of tolerated anti-Semitism in Canada is Islamism and the second biggest is leftism. These people cover their activities by pretending that social conservatives are anti-Semitic, so they can attack the Jews and Christians and Muslims who oppose them. Reality check: The free speech journalists and bloggers' lunches I enjoy on occasion are heavily populated by both observant Jews and observant Christians, as well as agnostics. I'd invite my Muslim writer friends too, but unhappily they don't live in Toronto. If they are in town, I will invite them. We all get along fine. It is the fanatics empowered by government-sponsored "anti-hate" crusades that we all have common problems with.) We don't have many mega-churches here in Canada, but I accept your assessment of the US situation. My point is that many Christians do not see the threat rolling their way from institutions dominated at the top by atheists, whether admitted or practical, who give leftists and Islamists a free rein. One thing we ID people hope to rectify - the only thing we can do in our own right - is to restore a rational basis to science, based on the design of the universe and life forms. I am delighted that you wish us well, when so many don't.] "Thanks to the work you've done writing and publishing about the situation in Canada, the alarm bells have been rung in many of the smaller churches and communities around the USA. The result has been the awakening of a rather large group of informed voters who have become willing to take a stand for truth and liberty. For the small church pastor the problem seems absolutely overwhelming for the perceived impact of our efforts; however, we do what we do because we understand that Truth is worth the effort and sacrifice. We're taking your warnings very seriously and are doing what we can to sound the alarm." [From Denyse: Sir, you have made my day! I never thought anything I said would matter. I felt I had to say it, so no one could say I had not said anything. We had forty years of that stuff in Canada, and it has been awful - especially if you are a journalist or pastor who feels you must say something in the public interest. We are starting to fight our way back to the open society, but it is very difficult when we face an entrenched civil service and NGOs dedicated to the opposite. You Americans could spare yourselves forty years of tribulation if you take a stand now. Is it worth it for your grandchildren? ] Thought for the day: the best patrimony anyone can offer their grandchildren is a free and open society. Money or religion are just alternative forms of jail if one must live under guard and can't go anywhere without a bodyguard or escort. And if you don't believe me, read this. O'Leary
When Laughable says "All of them would prefer a “socialist” society that helps the poor, rather than that of base capitalism." what he actually means is that they would like to FORCE you to live as they do because they think they are superior than you are. This kinda arrogance is also the real foundation of command economy and maybe its time for the leftist to find out why command economy is a naive idea. They don't understand that the real change in society doesn't come from new rules or new laws but from a willful contribution from individuals to society and to fellow man. Innerbling
It’s interesting that the Christian Right in America WANT to be ruled by a dawinian system, whereas left wing evolutionists want a socialist system that supports those in need. Laughable, you ought to stick to what you know about, and that appears to include neither the U.S. nor Canada. tribune7
Someone is inciting hate towards a minority group ovbously that should be quelled, Like PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins? Fundamentalists Christians are a minority group. They incite hate towards them. Actually, "hate speech" is a repellent concept since the "hate" would be defined, subjectively, by those controlling the political process. The only antidote to speech is more speech. tribune7
Good post in general. I'm curious what "stomping for Jesus" means, although it was not central to your topic. lars
Laughable, this is your second warning: Please become familiar with the Canadian "human rights" scandal you are pontificating on before you proceed further with your pontificate. The vast majority of defendants under infamous Section 13 and many other unconstitutional statutes and decisions that have grown like weeds here in Canada *could not afford legal representation.* So they were convicted. In a normal court, a public defender would be appointed. Why is that so hard for you to understand? English Common Law does not apply to Canadian "human rights" commissions. So no public defender. Australian, are you? Fine. I do NOT want to hear you rabbiting on again about things no one here disputes, just because you have not bothered to familiarize yourself with your pontificate before you hold forth. Three books have been published about the abuses in Canada in the past year, to say nothing of well-publicized hearing on Parliament Hill and at Queen's Park (Ontario legislature) -and doubtless elsewhere. Either get up to speed or get onto another topic - pronto. I am getting pretty sick of the sight of bodies under the bus full of well-heeled civil servants. That is not what Canada is about. O'Leary
Sorry Denise, I'm from Australia so they may play the game a little differently here, however govenment assistance is usually given to those who can't afford to pay for legal council. Therefore the party requiring govenment aid to bring their case -usually- has a case worth hearing. Unfortunately there will be those that bring cases without merit, but isn't it better that 10 vexacious claims are heard than 1 honest claiment that otherwise couldn't be heard get justice? Good judges should see to the proper cases recieving just compensation. You say "It is interesting to know that a Darwinist thinks that is fair." You should listen to the eminent Darwinians speak on this topic. All of them would prefer a "socialist" society that helps the poor, rather than that of base capitalism. None of them WANT the world to be a 'survival of the fittest'. Just because nature generally operates with darwinian principles it doesn't mean WE should act that way, or want the world to be that way. We have the intelligence, the grace and the ability to behave differently. Pure capitalism, where the poor have no support from the government, is truely Darwinist, which is something I would imagine proper Christians would want to avoid like the plague. It's interesting that the Christian Right in America WANT to be ruled by a dawinian system, whereas left wing evolutionists want a socialist system that supports those in need. Laughable
hummus man, I am not outraged, rather indifferent. It is merely another reason not to rely on them for perspective. O'Leary
They’ll cover it as a sensation, at first, sure, but soon the detraction and minimization will start.
Fair enough, but isn't it a bit premature to be outraged at the (presumed) forthcoming scorn? Besides isn't being attacked by the liberal media a badge of honor in social conservative circles? hummus man
Laughable at 1, as a woman who has faced sexual assailants myself on several occasions, I have no use for the kinds of laws that undermine English Common Law by reducing the defendant's rights. I have seen where that leads, and it is not a path I would counsel any nation down. I think fit evidence should be determined by the judge in chambers, and if you don't have good enough judges, get better ones. I also do not know where you get the idea that in all "human rights" cases, the complainant is the victim. In Canada, hardly. In many high profile cases that have enraged most of the media and much of the public, the complainant was simply trying to shut up someone he didn't like, usually for political or religious reasons - forcing the taxpayer to pay his bills while bankrupting the defendant. It is interesting to know that a Darwinist thinks that is fair. I am not saying there is no role for a human rights commission. But such a commission, in my view, should be concerned about issues like forced marriage, child marriage, female genital mutilation, honour killing (5 alleged in Ontario recently), exploitation of illegal immigrants ... these are real human rights issues, not malicious nonsense. But, of course, the HRCs don't want to do that because it involves real work and maybe danger. The Commissions should - and must - be ordered to quit meddling in religious or media freedom matters, telling surgeons when they must operate even if they do not feel confident - and all the many other matters with which the tiresome - and dangerous - tax-funded busybodies have targeted our citizens and afflicted our national life. Get up to speed on the key cases that provoked outrage in Canada before you comment further, okay? hummus man at 2: They'll cover it as a sensation, at first, sure, but soon the detraction and minimization will start. My best guess for now: Detraction will be proportionate to the decline in their readership. O'Leary
There is little chance that legacy mainstream media will give the Manhattan Declaration much attention
Are you sure? NY Times LA Times Washington Post Newsweek hummus man
It seems a little, self-defeating? Freedom of speach is a human right, however freedom from persecution is a human right as well. Where to draw the line is grey - Someone is inciting hate towards a minority group ovbously that should be quelled, however people have a right to free speach. In regards to the defendant paying costs vs the plaintiiff being supported by the govenment - most times the person being discriminated against has little money because they are discriminated against. Should we change the law so that the govenment won't support the poor, if they have legal problems? The govenment should be helping those downtrodden. If the people making "hateful" remarks in the public can't fund their legal bills, maybe they should lay off the "hateful" retoric until they can afford to pay for some defence? I'm also slightly sickened that you'd reference an article that says this positively: "Another example in this vein -- and I assure you, dear reader, that I am coming to my point -- is that of the "rape shield" law. It's an expression of the rule of law, too. Just as the general rule against adducing evidence of an accused's prior criminal record is done to give even past criminals a fair trial, the rape shield law was designed to give sexually promiscuous women -- such as prostitutes, for example -- a level playing field when they accuse a man of rape. If any and all of a woman's past sexual history was admissable in court, it could prejudice a jury against her in a current case of rape -- that is, her past behaviour could overwhelm the current facts at hand, and falsely acquit a man charged with her rape. I'm not well-versed enough in criminal law to know if the courts and legislatures have found the right balance here -- given that the rape shield law almost exclusively benefits women to the detriment of accused men, it has been called a feminist law that unfairly undermines men's legal rights." If a woman was previously sexually active, she shouldn't have a defence against rape like any other woman? Men should be able to rape prostitutes? I don't understand how you can stand up for woman's rights in regards to pornograhy yet accept this bigots rethoric right here. Laughable

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