The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


September 11, 2009

Civility, for Sept. 11

What if this Sept. 11 weekend, as we remember those who lost their lives during the 2001 terrorist attacks, all of us recommitted to civility?

Civility, a time-honored, non-violent method for discussing our opinions, differences and passions seems in short-supply these days. Civility isn't simple politeness or sacrificing one's principles. For our readers, civil discussion, online or on the printed page, is a way to love and honor neighbors, who are also children of God, without name-calling and "us versus them" thinking.... even when we disagree.   

At the August churchwide assembly, the vast majority of those debating sexuality were amazingly ... civil. But from Republican Congressman Joe Wilson's "You lie!" outburst during President Obama's speech ... to  Democratic Congressman Pete Stark's comment that those opposing parts of Democrats' emerging health care plan were "brain dead," civility is back in media headlines.

Off the beaten path of regular news outlets, Baptist pastor Chuck Warnock focuses on Joe Wilson in an article at Ethicsdaily.com. But he could be speaking about all of us.   

Once again, we're looking at civility. Can we do more than look?

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