James Smith, executive editor of the Florida Baptist Witness:
"Is there anything which the government would compel you to do for which you believe it’s permissible to disobey? Even more, is there anything the state would require you to practice for which you would be obligated to resist?
"May you disobey the government? Indeed, must you defy civil authorities? For the Christian, especially, civil disobedience is not a matter of trivia. Christians understand the existence of government is not the result of man’s imagination. Like the family and the church, God created the institution of government. In their proper function, each institution enjoys a sphere of influence granted by God.
"As a divinely ordered reality, Christians are obligated to submit to governing authorities, including those which are undemocratic and pagan (see the Apostle Paul’s instructions to the church in Rome in the first century, Romans 13:1-7). The Bible’s instructions are unambiguously clear: government is to be obeyed, except in extraordinary circumstances.
"For some Christians leaders, extraordinary circumstances may soon be upon believers in our nation. Indeed, there are ominous signs that an increasingly unbridled state is threatening to impose its will over the God-ordained spheres of the family and church, causing us to need to draw the proverbial line in the sand.
"Here, we must stand. We can do no other.
"The Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience seeks to draw the line in the sand, putting the government on notice that there are certain matters on which the signers will not compromise, no matter the cost."