Faith leaders call for civility after attacks
    March 29 2010 by Religion News Service

    WASHINGTON — As Democratic lawmakers reel from violent attacks and threats, religious leaders have issued a “covenant for civility” pledging that they will pray for politicians and model respectful behavior.

    “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,” reads the statement, signed by more than 100 Christian leaders.        

    The covenant was released March 25 by the anti-poverty group Sojourners, as members of Congress who voted in favor of health care reform have faced attacks. A brick was thrown through Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter’s window in Niagara Falls, N.Y., and a gas line was cut at the home of the brother of Rep. Tom Perriello, D-Va.

    Quoting the Bible, the faith leaders said political debaters should be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”

    In addition to the covenant, several religious groups are condemning the threats against members of Congress.

    “These actions may have been tolerated in the Wild West, but have no place in the United States today,” said Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, in a separate statement.

    George Cummings, co-chair of PICO National Network Steering Committee, called the violent threats and actions “deplorable and unacceptable.” Faithful America, an online community sponsored by Faith in Public Life, circulated a petition calling for members of Congress “who stood with the Tea Partiers to stand up to their threats and violence before someone gets hurt.”

    Mat Staver of the conservative law firm Liberty Counsel noted that President Obama signed the reform bill 235 years to the date when orator Patrick Henry called for fighting abuses of power by the British: “Two centuries ago the people took up arms. Today the people must channel their anger through nonviolent means to change the leadership and the direction of America.”

    Signatories on the civility covenant included: Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals; Geoffrey A. Black, general minister and president of the United Church of Christ; Prison Fellowship founder Chuck Colson; Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; Jim Wallis, president and CEO of Sojourners; and George O. Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.     
    3/29/2010 5:08:00 AM by Religion News Service | with 0 comments

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