That’s the title of a new statement that was released today bearing the signatures over 125 Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant evangelical leaders. It focuses on life issues such as abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and assisted suicide; marriage; and religious liberty, especially in terms of the encroachments of government mandates that would override the beliefs and teaching of religious groups. The whole thing is absolutely worth your time, and if you agree with what you read you have the opportunity to sign it by going here.

It’s too long to look at in detail, but I have to say that my favorite passage, and the one that is making heads explode at places such as Americans United for Separation of Church and State, is the very last paragraph:

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. We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God’s.

This seems to me to be a pretty straight-forward statement of what even the Rev. Barry Lynn of AU supposedly professes, which is that there are laws that Christians are bound to disobey is they conflict with what God requires of His people. But to AU, this is all about the theocracy:

At a press conference today, Religious Right leaders and Roman Catholic bishops unveiled a joint statement criticizing laws that allow reproductive choice and same-sex marriage. The “Manhattan Declaration” indicates that participating religious leaders will defy such laws if they conflict with church doctrines.

Americans United charges that the real agenda is not protecting the religious freedom of churches, but rather attempting to impose those doctrines on all Americans by government decree.

Said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director, “This declaration is certain to be deeply divisive. These religious leaders want to see their doctrines imposed by force of law, and that goes against everything America stands for.

Because as we all know, the only people who are allowed to impose their religious doctrine are the religious left, whose positions on issues are those of the staff of AU, and whose lobbying efforts on behalf of those positions are, therefore, hunky dory with the so-called First Amendment watchdog.

Among the signers are Leith Anderson of the National Association of Evangelicals, Joseph Bottum of First Things, Bryan Chapell of Covenant Theological Seminary, Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship, Archbishop Robert Duncan of the Anglican Church in North America, Maggie Gallagher of the Institute for Marriage, Dr. Robert George of Princeton, Father Johannes Jacobse of OrthodoxyToday.org, Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York, Dr. Peter Kreeft of Boston College, Bishop Martyn Minns of the Convocation of Anglicans of North America, Dr. Albert Mohler of Southern Baptist Seminary, David Neff of Christianity Today, Dr. Thomas Oden of Drew University, Dr. Cornelius Plantinga of Calvin Seminary, Dr. Ron Sider of Evangelicals for Social Action, George Weigel of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias, and the Catholic archbishops of Denver, Kansas City, Louisville, Minneapolis, Newark, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington. In other words, a high-powered cross section of both leaders and thinkers among conservative Christians in America. Check it out.