Hot-Button Rhetoric

February 20, 2008

Earlier this month, two dozen religious leaders in Colorado sent a letter to state legislators urging them to be civil in their rhetoric about the controversial issue of immigration. Here is part of that letter:

We are quite concerned about the tone of the dialogue around the issue of immigration. At times, it demonstrates little respect and has served to polarize our state.

Although the tone of discourse on any subject should exemplify respect for all of God's people, we the undersigned, a diverse representation of interfaith religious leaders of Colorado, request that you take leadership in changing the tone of the discourse on immigration issues by signing the enclosed "Pledge of Respect."

... We deeply appreciate your service to the people of Colorado and the model of civility that you will demonstrate by the signing and living out of this pledge.
This is a great reminder that we need to be careful with our rhetoric. Incivility is often poisoning political discussion, especially on hot-button issues like immigration. When that occurs, the polarizing discourse usually blocks any productive action from being accomplished. It is good to see religious leaders helping lead the way in trying to create more civil discourse.