BIG day today! Mega.
I had the privilege of joining with Tasmania’s church leaders to present The Salamanca Declaration to the Honourable Mr Michael Polley MHA, Speaker of the House of Representatives, on the steps of parliament. What’s the big deal, you ask? This statement unites the churches of Tasmania, representing more than 170,000 people of faith, to affirm the classical Christian values of life, liberty and legacy. At a time when these values are under relentless attack, that’s significant!
Here’s the summarised version of The Salamanca Declaration:
All human life is precious and the sanctity of life should be upheld regardless of race, gender, age, religion or stage of development because every human being is endowed by our Creator with equal and inherent dignity.
Every person has the right to worship God individually and in a faith community. The worshipper has this liberty as a God-given freedom. It entails freedom of conscience, and freedom to speak, gather, worship and generally act in accordance with the beliefs of their faith community. Those with religious convictions share the common democratic liberties which guarantee the freedom to publish, express, or proclaim their views in order to help shape our democracy.
…and some history
The Salamanca Declaration was conceived when five church leaders representing the state’s major denominations met in Salamanca in October 2012 to discuss the social issues eroding sanctity of life, freedom of faith and the family unit. Over the course of six months these men, with input from leading constitutional law expert and former Federal Justice Minister, Professor Michael Tate, penned the document. Key author Dr Andrew Corbett (Pentecostal) drew on the Manhattan Declaration while ensuring a uniquely Tasmanian aspect by liaising with Rev. Will Briggs (Anglican Church), Mr Adrian Lacey (Catholic Church), Rt. Reverend David Jones (Presbyterian Church) and Mr Eric Locket (Baptist Church) in the document’s creation.
Yep – The Salamanca Declaration proves that the church can unite on this common ground. It was signed this morning by Tasmanian Church leaders including the Catholic Archbishop, the Anglican Bishop, the head of the Australian Christian Church, the Baptists, the Presbyterians, Apostolic Church, the Salvation Army and more. Exciting stuff. And just the beginning.