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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Bring on good dose of civility

Time to put polarization to rest

Perhaps the best gift ELCA members could give this Christmas is being living examples that civility still has a place not only in our church but in our nation.

This issue went to press on Election Day, so the outcome of the presidential, congressional and other ballots was not known. It doesn't matter. Anyone paying any attention the past few months experienced a deluge of accusatory news releases and negative advertising from across the political spectrum. Someone foreign to our election campaigns could easily assume our politicians are scoundrels and likely liars and thieves.

Among numerous quotes from Martin Luther King Jr. on civility, this one rings true: "People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don't know each other; they don't know each other because they have not communicated with each other." Henry G. Brinton in The Welcoming Congregation (page 42) touts the need for civility's cousin, hospitality, because we live in such a polarized society.


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