Public Respect

In a recent blog, I challenged President Trump to take the high road in his choice of language and to respect his opponents.  It’s only fair, especially in light of remarks of the last few days, that I call upon Democrats to do the same.  But as a pastor, my primary concern is that Christians take the high road in the way we talk about politics.

The issue that recently caught my eye was a newly elected Democratic Representative using extreme expletives to describe the President.  This is highly inappropriate, and I would expect Democratic leadership to publicly rebuke her.  The only response I have heard so far is something that I would equate to a kindergartener saying “He started it.”  (The representative has since apologized, but not for her words, only for being a “distraction.”)  We don’t accept that type of behavior from a preschooler.  We must not accept it from elected officials.

This week, I heard a Republican leader in Arizona calling voters an inappropriate name because a Democratic Senator was elected.  Putting down voters is not good behavior. I’m not a politician, but I don’t even think it’s good politics.

Both sides are now calling out the other side for immoral speech.  It is hypocritical to call out the other side for immoral speech while applauding it or tolerating it on your side.  Jesus taught us to take care of our own sin before we call out someone else for theirs, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

Is either political party going to raise the bar and begin to use respectful language?

Probably not.

So, Christians, we need to show them how it is done.  We can be deeply involved in politics without stooping to the ungodly behavior of many of today’s politicians.  So let me try and give some practical suggestions for believers in their political speech:

  • Be respectful in all your own personal political speech.  You can be bold, direct, and clear in stating your own opinion without putting opponents down and calling them names.

  • Refuse to use God’s name in vane or to use profanity when discussing politics.

  • Be willing to rebuke those in your own party who are disrespectful.

  • Refuse to applaud disrespectful behavior even when it comes from a politician you supported.

  • Refuse to break a personal relationship because you disagree politically.

  • Refuse to post or repost disrespectful speech, profanity, or lies on social media.  (And since there are so many lies going around social media, refuse to repost or retweet anything that you have not personally verified as true.)

  • Support leaders who can present their ideas in an honest, intelligent, and respectful manner.

I encourage believers to get involved in politics.  I encourage believers to run for office.  I encourage believers to clearly and even forcefully state their carefully reasoned positions.

But do it the right way, the Jesus way.

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