[The following sentences are from a “Covenant for Civility” that has been circulating among Christian groups. It’s some good stuff!]
How good and pleasant it is when the people of God live together in unity. -Psalm 133:1
…The church in the United States can offer a message of hope and reconciliation to a nation that is deeply divided by political and cultural differences. Too often, however, we have reflected the political divisions of our culture rather than the unity we have in the body of Christ.
We … urge those who claim the name of Christ to “put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).
1) We commit that our dialogue with each other will reflect the spirit of the Scriptures… to be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19).
2) We believe that each of us, and our fellow human beings, are created in the image of God…
3) We pledge that when we disagree, we will do so respectfully, without falsely impugning the other’s motives, attacking the other’s character, or questioning the other’s faith…
4) We will ever be mindful of the language we use in expressing our disagreements, being neither arrogant nor boastful in our beliefs: “Before destruction one’s heart is haughty, but humility goes before honor” (Proverbs 18:12).
5) We recognize that we cannot function together as citizens of the same community, whether local or national, unless we are mindful of how we treat each other in pursuit of the common good in the common life we share together… “for we are all members of one body” (Ephesians 4:25).
6) We commit to pray for our political leaders – those with whom we may agree, as well as those with whom we may disagree….
7) We believe that it is more difficult to hate others, even our adversaries and our enemies, when we are praying for them. We commit to pray for each other, those with whom we agree and those with whom we may disagree…
We pledge to God and to each other that we will lead by example in a country where civil discourse seems to have broken down…We will strive to create in our congregations safe and sacred spaces for common prayer and community discussion as we come together to seek God’s will for our nation and our world.