A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Suggestion for the Signers of the Civility Covenant

It has been reported that 115 church leaders from around the USA, who have some very different political views, have signed a Civility Covenant. "[T]he document says that churches have too often 'reflected the political divisions of our culture rather than the unity we have in the body of Christ.'

I agree completely and I applaud this project as should all believers. Leaders with very different political views from Jim Wallis to Chuck Colson from Harry Jackson to Morna Murray have signed on. It appears that some in Congress have called on church leaders to assist in this, and I believe it is appropriate and important for us to respond. All of us know how vitriolic the political wars currently are with Christians getting involved in the shouting and yelling as well.

But I also have a suggestion. I would ask those church leaders-- Jim Wallis and Chuck Colson and others-- to ask the members of Congress to sign their own civility pledge. Members of both parties often lead the way and set the tone by their name calling, insults and gross mischaracterizations of the other side. It seems somewhat ineffectual for us outside of Washington to tone it down, while those inside Washington continue to spew their demagoguery. After all, we get to hear them each night on the news and the cable spin shows.

It's just a suggestion. I think, first and foremost, we who follow Jesus need to bear witness to the need for civility; and by demonstrating our love for one another even in the midst of the disagreements, we can bear witness to the powers that be that civil discourse is much to be preferred.

But I think this is also an opportunity for Christians to say to those in Washington, "You'd be a better empire if you didn't insult and demean each other, and mischaracterize each other's positions."

Just a thought...


Eric Helms said...

This is, perhaps, a good example of an alternative response than might be expected. Democrats ask Republicans to sign a civility pledge, and due to political mistrust, the document is unsigned. For those with diverse politics in the church, the temptation could be to weigh in on whether or not politicians should sign such a pledge. The conversation then becomes the same conversation as is being had among the secular politicians--is it an honest pledge or a political trap? Instead, church leaders decide regardless of what politicians decide to do, we will sign our own pledge. If we can convince a wide spectrum of Christians to reject divisive and misleading politics, that is a way of being an alternative politic in a way that would potentially change the secular politic for the better.

Simon Cozens said...

Yeah, there's the thing: Democrats tried what you suggest; Republicans said no.

Sadly your country's political discourse has gone beyond civility.

Allan R. Bevere said...


That is quite unfortunate... however, even if the pledge were signed, I doubt that it would do much good because you are right that political discourse has gone beyond civility.

My point was that the leaders of the church who have signed the Civility Covenant should challenge both parties to do the same. It would hopefully have a different affect coming from a group from outside the political players... from church leaders on both sides of the politcal aisle.

Eric... Exactly! It's called the politics of witness.

Rick C. said...

I would feel more comfortable voting for any congressman who would sign his name to the Civility Covenant and make an honest attempt to live by that standard. A house divided against itself cannot stand.