There are so many things I love about the autumn season. But election time is not one of them.
Don't get me wrong — I'm very grateful for the right and ability to vote. But I tire quickly of campaign ads where a candidate attacks the opponent rather than speaking on his or her own position on the issues.
Jim Wallis, writing in God's Politics, calls Christians to focus on truth and civility during the election season:
Between now and the election, I think there are three lessons of particular importance.The post includes a link to the Civility Covenant, in which each signer commits to civil discourse. I signed it, and I'd encourage you to prayerfully consider doing the same.
First, we Christians are politically different, but unified in Christ. Too often the church has reflected the political divisions of our culture rather than the unity we have in the body of Christ. 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. We can disagree, but how we disagree with one another is a question of our witness for Christ.
Second, we should speak the truth and seek it. It is morally irresponsible to forward “rumor emails” without first checking the facts. Too often we focus on media caricatures of political figures. It might be the belief that Obama is a “secret Muslim” or that Sarah Palin actually said, “I can see Russia from my house.” (That was actually said by Tina Fey during her parody of Palin.)
Third, we must hold to the statement, “out of many, one.” “E pluribus unum” was not an admission of weakness but a proclamation of strength. The health of our democracy depends not only upon the outcomes of elections but also how those elections happen. We should all be able to say, in the words of Jon Stewart, “I disagree with you, but I’m pretty sure you’re not Hitler.”