'Dignity and Civility' Needed in Public Debate, says NCC

In response to the escalating intensity of responses coming out of public debates on healthcare and other issues, the National Council of Churches (NCC) Governing Board has issued a call to, "restore dignity and civility to the national discourse."

"[R]ecent days have offered a sobering portrait of a debate grown rancorous and acrimonious," states the letter in reference to the health care debate. "This clash of views demeans the dialogue and ultimately risks subverting the democratic process itself. "

"Individuals cannot express their best hopes and acknowledge their deepest fears within a climate of intimidation and character assassination, and all too often this climate is the product of racism and xenophobia," the statement continues.

Prefaced by a scripture quote from the book of Isaiah saying, "Come let us reason together," the letter makes a call to people and churches to, "gain a renewed sense of community marked by honesty and mutual respect."

"Let us debate ideas on their merits and exercise restraint in expression of our own best conceptions," the letter continues. "Such a disciplined dialogue holds great promise, honoring our differences and confirming our perception that we are a people joined in our mutual aspiration to live the lives for which we were created. "

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