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By Sr. Brenda Walsh, Racine Dominican


Recently the Wisconsin Council of Churches and other groups are calling for a Season of Civility, especially before elections. That does not mean that we eliminate debate about public policies and issues. Debates include people of different faiths, beliefs, opinions on issues, both social, political and religious issues. Hostile and abusive rhetoric is not appropriate in any sphere of life, especially in public debates. Often the dispute is not only about the issues but especially about the means of achieving solutions. Wisconsin Cl. of Churches hopes we will share this call with other congregations and organizations. 


We all know the golden rule that calls us to treat others with the same respect with which we would like to be treated. This calls for open and honest conversation and the valuing of each person involved in the discussion. The goal is to arrive at consensus in order to achieve the common good which our faith requires of us. We are called to reach out and listen to and try to understand people of differing viewpoints and model civility in our own conversation in both private and public life.


Our faith communities  are where this call to civility must be lived and practiced.


**Civility must be practiced within congregations, assemblies and other forums.


**We need to clarify our own positions on issues and to articulate them clearly and respectfully and be open to explanation or clarification. 


**We are aware that we do not always know the correct or adequate answers to problem and we must be open to correction and reconsideration, without betraying our own convictions.


**When political debates are arranged, we must inform the candidates of standards  of civility, integrity and truthfulness and not engage in mud-slinging at each other.  The media can also be encouraged to follow the same rules of civility in public discourse. As our congregations preach about compassion and respect, we will rediscover ways to listen to and learn from our differences  and model for others what a healthy democracy looks like.


For more information and to get the full document, go to


The effort mentioned here is designed to develop communities that are unified in their commitment to wholeness, justice and peace not only in the church but also in the world. This will replace the partisan rancor and bitterness that now exists within political debates with respect and civility. We are all encouraged to pray and work together for the unity and renewal of the church and the healing and reconciliation of our world. Congregations are encouraged to share this information and call to civility within congregations and beyond. May peace prevail on earth and let it begin with us.


This information not only applies to Wisconsin but to all communities across the nation and beyond. The whole idea of democracy is to heal the partisan divides and to replace them with caring and just communities working for the common good. 




Justice Preaching Archive

Just click on a title below to read the article.
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• Care For the Environment •
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• The Death Penalty Revisited •
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• Witnesses To Hope •

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