The snarling name calling and constant punitive put downs by politicians feels like one is buried under an avalanche of hate. Public discourse has turned into a respectable rage that masquerades as good manners. Sadly, few people challenge this vile language.
Is that all we can do with people we disagree with - plunge into character assassinations? Are we that insecure about our own positions that all we can do is use naughty words?
Year ago my parents told me not to call people names. It was not Christian. Barb and I said that to our children, too. I’m sure other parent (s) did too! If one disagrees, do not insult your rival.
Perhaps churches, mosques and synagogues in co-ordination local county and state governments can offer “Speak Neighborly” forums to help children, youth and adults be politely gracious even if we disagree with someone.
I’m confident that there will be dissonant voices that discourage such civility because it is hard to do. Here is an old familiar voice. “I don’t need any ridiculous +%$#@ Speak Neighborly forums. But I can name a friend and a family member who does.” It is summed in this selfish prayer: “O God, you can do all things – please move their tongues in proper positions to speak civility.”
What would happen if we included a prayer of confession in morning worship asking God’s forgiveness for name calling? Little kids and high school people know what one is talking about. Remember, it isn’t often that all ages of God’s people can find common ground. I can picture all ages of people holding hands and saying: “God, forgive me for calling friends, family and classmates name bad names. Help us not to call people names. They have their own names. May I use them.”
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Exodus 20:16