Thursday, October 16, 2008

Council of Bishops on Political Discourse

I just received notice in my email that the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church has issued a statement that I am glad to see happen. It is heartening to see such relevance. I am tired of the deterioration of the political campaigns into negativity.

I am especially concerned by the vocalization of public racism that has been increasingly interjected into public discourse. Some local examples two different folks have shared with me:

1. At a sign waving event for Obama here in Cecil County, three different people loudly shouted racial epithets at the sign wavers.

2. I was talking with a local woman who said she has lost track of the number of folks who have told her "I can't vote for the colored guy."

The Council of Bishops, in their wisdom, is calling on all sides to act respectfully. So, here it is:

The Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church has issued a statement with regards to the upcoming presidential election in November.

Public discourse, especially in this season of presidential elections, has often deteriorated into acrimonious, disrespectful and divisive rhetoric. Such speech, in the interest of short-term political gain, will make it more difficult for the nation to unite to work together on the great challenges that face the United States and the world today.

We urge all United Methodists to daily pray for the upcoming elections, its candidates, voters and leaders. We further encourage you to contact the presidential and vice presidential candidates and their campaigns and call them to commit themselves to conduct their debates, their advertisements and all their public speech in ways that honor the principles of fairness and accuracy.

Call them to focus on the critical challenges that threaten the future of our national and the world: poverty, war, racism, inequality of opportunity, the current financial crisis and terrorism in all of its forms.

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