Last week at the annual Christmas party, Prison Fellowship Ministries CEO Jim Liske asked representatives from various organizations to share ways in which they had been blessed this year. As I listened, I wondered what I would say. 2012 was a difficult year for the Manhattan Declaration. Our founder, Chuck Colson, passed away in April. In January, President Obama implemented a rule requiring that businesses and ministries provide contraception to their employees regardless of religious conviction. He also became the first sitting president to affirm gay marriage. Later, marriage lost at the ballot box in four states. In 2012 over one million unborn infants were denied a chance at life.
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus teaches us about blessing. He says, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." "Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." "Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me."
We are blessed when we believe and act in accordance with God's word. In this way, the Manhattan Declaration was blessed beyond measure in 2012. Despite - or maybe because of - the challenges we faced, our movement was salt and light, speaking the truth in love with family, friends, co-workers and even Twitter followers.
On the organization side, we were blessed to hire our first full-time employee, who oversaw the design and launch of a new website, improved communications, and increased networking with partner organizations in Washington D.C. and around the country.
2013 promises to be another challenging year, no less full of blessings. We plan to launch new initiatives including a religious leader training program, a series of web films and "infographics," and visits to college campuses, conferences, and churches nationwide. With the help of friends, we are drafting an amicus brief including text of the Declaration to be filed with the Supreme Court prior to oral arguments in DOMA and Prop 8 cases. Plans for a movement of young leaders willing to refute the narrative that gay marriage is "inevitable" are also in the works.
Thank you for your continuing support of the Manhattan Declaration. This movement relies on the everyday efforts of our signers. Each time you share a Facebook post or display a bumper sticker, you advance the cause a bit further. We are looking forward to moving ahead with you next year. Merry Christmas!