Bioethikos: Bringing Life to Bioethics

Archive for July, 2010


Civil Disobedience: Has it Come to This?

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010 by Dr. Dennis Sullivan

Achilles tending the wounds of Patroclus in the Trojan War

Followers of the Center for Bioethics and this blog know that I have endorsed and signed the Manhattan Declaration, a Christian statement of solidarity in defense of the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, and religious liberty. In previous posts (1/10/2010 and 7/06/2010),  I have pointed out that speaking out for life, families, and conscience may come at a price, as these principles are under assault in our contemporary society. It appears that these religiously-informed ideas, foundational as they are, are becoming a minority viewpoint, certainly in the United States. And, increasingly, we are a persecuted minority.

So what does this mean for those of us who believe in and teach these foundational benchmarks? We must surely continue our advocacy, but what if we are not successful? At what point is it incumbent upon us to practice civil disobedience, as the apostles did (Acts 5:27-41)? For an insightful discussion of this idea, listen to Dr. Timothy George, one of the originators of the Manhattan Declaration, at this link.

Freedom of Worship is Not Enough

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010 by Dr. Dennis Sullivan

Followers of the Center for Bioethics know that I have signed and endorsed the Manhattan Declaration (see A Christian Call to Action earlier this year). This public statement, drafted by prominent theologians and religious leaders, endorses three primary principles: 1) the sanctity of human life; 2) the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife; and 3) the rights of conscience and religious liberty.

This last idea has been under increasing attack in our public discourse. Last December, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton gave a speech at Georgetown University. In a subtle phrase that Chuck Colson refers to as an example of  Orwellian “newspeak,”she repeatedly referred to “freedom of worship” as a key democratic principle. But the Bill of Rights guarantees our “freedom of religion,” not the more narrowly defined right Mrs. Clinton spoke of. If we accept her terminology, we will lose the ability to define who may work in Christian organizations and churches. This would be an erosion of religious liberty similar to what is happening in Canada, with devastating results for faith-based organizations and charities.

To better understand this, check out Chuck Colson’s recent commentary (below, or go to his website):