For some reason, the copy of the Manhattan Declaration which we linked to in our earlier post has been taken down, presumably until after the press conference this afternoon announcing its release. [UPDATE: Good As You has obtained and posted a copy of the text.]
So, in the meantime, we bring you this video from Chuck Colson announcing the project and explaining that it is the only hope for preventing America from sliding into totalitarianism and Nazi-like dictatorship:
… A group of Christian leaders have gathered and written a declaration. “Manhattan Declaration”it will be called … it’s crucially important for religious liberty. But something else is at stake, which is really vital. Once you break down the intermediate structures of society by diminishing the role of the church, or diminishing the role of the local government, or expanding government powers so that the organs of civil society – the clubs, the political parties, the grassroots organizations, the local government, particularly the church and the family, those are the two most vital – when they’re broken down, what you have is tyranny.
de Tocqueville is constantly quoted about America and we love to quote him because he said such great things about this country, but he said “you got a warning, if you break down the intermediate structures of society, you will lose your freedoms.” And he predicted that we would have benevolent despotism in America. And we don’t like to quote that, but it’s true. We’re seeing some evidences of this happening today.
I’d also recommend that you read the writings of Hannah Arendt, she was a survivor of Germany in World War II, a Jew, who went on to write a book called “The Origins of Totalitarianism.” It is a very chilling book. It is prophetic, however, in its application to today … Arendt said that when Hitler took power, what he basically did was to eliminate all the intermediate structures of society – the labor unions, the political parties, the church was minimized – and of course if was eventually the individual standing against the state.
The destruction of civil society has always been the prelude to a totalitarian government. Americans today, and Christians in particular, need to fight not just for religious liberty but to preserve the organs of civil society, less we ever fall into the benevolent despotism, de Tocqueville warned of.