July 20

Reflection

“We live in a world increasingly marked by hatred, brutality, and violent conflict. We see our own country threatened by increasing disparities in economic, political, and social power. We are caught in a political system paralyzed by ideological extremism and hyper-partisanship. Those on both sides of the growing political divide too often appeal to our basest instincts and stoke the fires of fear that threaten to tear the fabric of our nation apart. We cannot let the voices of hatred and fear carry the day.

In our desire to build a culture of peace and right relationship, the Leadership Council of the IHM Sisters of Monroe, Michigan, joins the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in their call for a return to civility in our discourse and decency in our political interaction that promotes the common good, reaches out to others, engages in constructive dialogue, and seeks together the way forward. We hope for political dialogue that reflects the principles and values upon which this nation was founded.

The need for courageous leaders has never been greater. We simply ask that all refrain from language that disrespects, dehumanizes, or demonizes another. All are created in God’s image and are worthy of respect. We ask that all who seek to influence public opinion, all who hope to serve this nation as leaders, be always mindful of the common good and respectful of the dignity of each and every person.

Citizens of this pluralistic nation form a diverse polity characterized by a wide variety of beliefs, experiences, and interests. Disagreements and differences of opinion have the potential to challenge all of us to abandon easy certainty and seek a fuller truth. The problem is not our many disagreements. It is how those conflicts are handled that spells the difference between building the common good and destroying the bonds that bind this nation together.

Building a future of freedom requires love of the common good and cooperation in a spirit of subsidiarity and solidarity. Let us engage in careful listening and honest questioning. Let us honor the dignity of those with whom we disagree and treat them with the respect that is their God-given right. Let us seek the common good, desire only good for all others, and offer our own truth with equal measures of conviction and humility.”

The Leadership Council, IHM Sisters
Monroe, Michigan

Prayer

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O God.
Psalm 19:14

Action

Do not accept the insulting and condemnatory oratory so much a part of our political scene as “the way things are”.  Don’t repeat the names and accusations. Don’t indicate amusement. Let your disapproval be public. Try to cut through the ugly rhetoric to find factual information.

Suggested Reading

Put away from you a deceitful mouth and put devious speech far from you.
Proverbs 4:24

The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, but the mouth of fools spouts folly.
Proverbs 15:2

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.
James 1:26 

Civility is not not saying negative or harsh things. It is not the absence of critical analysis. It is the manner in which we are sharing this territorial freedom of political discussion. If our discourse is yelled and screamed and interrupted and patronized, that’s uncivil.
Richard Dreyfuss

Two truths are all too often overshadowed in today’s political discourse: Public service is a most honorable pursuit, and so is bipartisanship.
Olympia Snowe

There’s only one way we’re going to change our political climate and ensure we establish some respect in our discourse. And that is to show there is a real price to pay for being a disrespectful partisan idiot.
Mark McKinnon

Discourse has ended in America. It’s all just shouting and ranting and demonization. Do you know how the rest of the world laughs at you guys? Have you got any idea? They’re just rocking with laughter night and day.
Felix Dennis

The level of discourse in this country is falling to a depth that cannot be sustained.
Martin Frost

We need to in this country begin again to raise civil discourse to another level. I mean, we shout and scream and yell and get very little accomplished, but you can disagree very much with the next guy and still be friends and acquaintances.
Leah Ward Sears

Politics isn’t something that really interested me; I, of course, care about what’s going on in the world, but so much of political discourse now is not necessarily about doing what’s right.
Mike O’Malley

We usually learn from debates that we seldom learn from debates.
Mokokoma Mokhonoana

 

 

 

 

 

 

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