Friday, June 16, 2017

The Need for Civility

I have stopped watching the ABC Evening News. Neither do I watch CBS and NBC. Nor CNN or Fox (although I admit I have only watched Fox News a handful of times in my life.) I have even stopped listening to NPR. I stopped watching and listening because I could no longer stand the bias and the sensationalism.

It seems like there is no longer any news. There are only reports of who hates whom and for what reasons. That is not news. That is just hate. HATE TV. I cannot stand to even look at a national politician these days, much less listen to them rant about the other party.

I have always been an independent “undeclared” voter. I vote for persons and not their party affiliation. But I have gotten to the point where I hesitate to vote for anyone affiliated with either major political party. They have both turned into hate groups.

Republicans hate Democrats and all things liberal. Democrats hate the president and all things conservative. Both parties seem more concerned with thwarting the other party rather than advancing our nation. Instead of cooperation there is “the resistance,” which is the language of war. Even those who say they are against hate are livid in their hatred of haters. A couple of days ago a political activist shot a Republican congressman at a baseball practice because of his party affiliation!

Colleges and universities used to be bastions of reason, tolerance and learning. No longer. Now they are hotbeds of hate. If students do not agree with a guest speaker’s social agenda then he (or she) is booed off the dais before given a chance to speak, or students walk out in protest. No longer do students seek to listen and learn from people with different perspectives. As Epictetus said long ago, “It is impossible to begin to learn that which one thinks one already knows.”

Religion has not helped. When religions are not fostering hate themselves – from the far right or the far left – then they are silent, intent on navel-gazing or promoting their own version of the Elysian Fields. In America Christianity has become part of the problem. Liberal Christians are simply cheerleaders for the Democratic Party, and conservative Christians are chaplains for the GOP.

This is an opportunity for people of faith to lead by example. We need to champion the cause of civility in public discourse. Christians – of which I am one – need to look beyond our personal opinions and strive for something greater and higher. God is not a party loyalist. God is the Lord of all nations and peoples. A God of love, not hate.

Personally I reject the religions and politics of intolerance, and I will work for peace in a world of hate. Jesus called us to be peacemakers. He commanded us to love our enemies. The apostle Paul called us to be ministers of reconciliation. I will take my lead from them. And if I really need to watch television news, I will tune to BBC. 

1 comment:

happi said...

Very well said, Marshall. I, too, am repulsed by the hatred in both major pqrties. "I'm not as bad as the other guy" does not seem like a reasonable reason to vote for anyone.
I seek politicians who have a positive message. What the are for, not who they are against.With respect to religions, we have 10 to 20 million people facing starvation. We have 40 to 60, million refugees seeking asylum and the chance to create a better life. These are the problems that religions should be facing, not with money but with ideals and action.
We in the U.S. used to lead by example. Now we attempt to lead by military might. Ideals are still far more powerful than military might as history has shown. No more negatives. Help refugees - take them in. Help the starving - send food not guns. Help the sick - heal them.
The middle will hold. The vast majority of humans are decent, good people striving to live as best they can on this journey we all take from birth to death. Let's realize that we are all making the journey together. Love you blog. Getting your book Happi