Civility Linkblogging: Politics, Religion, and Golf

Civility Linkblogging
A Lynx, because Linkblogging

This post is part of an ongoing series that highlights discourse about civility from around the Web. We glean the links in this segment from as broad a cross-section as we can manage of blogs, newspapers, magazines, and other online venues, from the United States and around the world.

This week takes on three of the most touchy issues in our collective social landscape — religion, politics, and golf — and turns them all toward the purpose of civility. From all quarters, we have calls for moderation in our discourse, and calls to turn away from strategies like ad hominem attacks that do little but create bad blood. And we have a positive example in a round of golf played by Jordan Spieth and Jason Day at the recent PGA Championship where, by one account at least, the two athletes were competitive and focused on victory while still remaining genial.

As always, if you have an article that you think would be right for future civility linkblogging posts, please do not hesitate to email it to us at editor@instituteforcivility.org. Include the title, url, and a short summary, and we will gladly review it for publication.

Now — the list:

American Politics Needs More Civility, Not Less
Posted by Jeff Jacoby at The Boston Globe, August 16, 2015

We have reached a point where politicians fear to commit themselves to even the mildest standard of civility. In 2009, two prominent political activists, Republican Mark DeMoss and Democrat Lanny Davis, launched a campaign to try and soften the nation’s harsh public tone. They wrote to all 535 members of Congress and the 50 governors, asking each to sign a simple Civility Pledge: “I will be civil in my public discourse and behavior. I will be respectful of others whether or not I agree with them. I will stand against incivility when I see it.” For months the bipartisan duo promoted their civility campaign. But in the end, of the 585 elected officials to whom they sent the pledge, only three — three — were willing to sign.

We aren’t the first Americans to live in polarized, passionate times, nor the first in which political rhetoric has grown so malignant….

America today may not be on the verge of a civil war. But our ability to find common ground is diminishing by the day, and even those who should know better are calling not for more civility, but less. We are heading in the wrong direction, and it will not end well.

The Case for Competitive Civility
Posted by Scott Eblin at Excellence in Government, August 17, 2015

The executive that signed professional golfer Jordan Spieth to a long-term endorsement deal with Under Armour should get a raise. In the year, since he signed on, the 21-year-old Texan has won two major golf championships, missed winning the other two by a total of four strokes and, with his second place finish in the PGA Championship yesterday, captured the No. 1 ranking in the world.

He did all of this while remaining calm, steady and friendly. In short, he’s an absolutely killer competitor who is, by the standards of any era, remarkably civil.

Civility in the Midst of Election Season?
Posted by Joe LaGuardia at Baptist News, August 19, 2015

For Christians who long to follow in Christ’s footsteps, words indeed matter….

We can bless or curse others depending on how we say something or express our opinions; but those who use tact and mercy not only bless others but receive a blessing of kindness in return. Words can be as nourishing as fruit that is shared within community.

When we engage in politics in the public square, we speak as ambassadors of Christ and citizens of the Kingdom of God. Let us not try to keep one foot in God’s Kingdom and another foot in the world or we, as one theologian put it, will only stumble as a result.

Civility No More: Where Are the Better Angels of Politics?
Posted by Dan Glickman at The Hufington Post, August 28, 2015

Today, things are different. We have witnessed a substantial erosion of civility in political discourse in contemporary politics. In my view, the end of civility in our political system is a true loss for every American, Republican and Democrat alike.

President Bill Clinton once said that, “when people feel uncertain, they’d rather have someone who is strong and wrong than someone who is weak and right.” It looks like that is happening in America right now.

The state of contemporary politics is one in which bombast is met with approval. Extreme viewpoints are greeted with appreciative nods by a disturbingly large segment of the American electorate, and so the incentive for political leaders to make such comments is significant. Of course, there have always been and will always be people in a free and democratic country such as this who hold views that are extreme or unpopular, and it is their right to do so. But in this country politicians weren’t always so easily able to accrue benefit from being egomaniacal, indecent, uncivil and frankly just plain rude.

Faith Focus: A Call for More Civility
Posted by Al Humbrecht at Timesfreepress.com, August 29, 2015

The language of civility would suggest that each side look for the good (another forgotten concept) in what the other is saying and be respectful of the differences. I wonder what this would do to the ratings of these types of programs.

The virtue of civility implies a respect (maybe another forgotten concept) for the other as being created in the image and likeness of God. If we believe this then we cannot give pejorative labels to people just because they are different in some aspects from us. Most religions of the world contain in one form or another the injunction “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” In the book “The Little Monk” by Madeline Delbrel, a collection of sayings about life, one struck me as I was preparing to write this column: “When certain people question your character, don’t respond by doubting theirs.”

Civility Linkblogging: School, Faith, and Social Media

Linkblogging
By Anita Pratanti, via flickr

This post is part of an ongoing series that highlights discourse about civility from around the Web. We glean the links in this segment from as broad a cross-section as we can manage of blogs, newspapers, magazines, and other online venues, from the United States and around the world.

This week’s linkblogging segment is anchored by two interviews — one with Ronald D. Liebowitz, President of Middlebury college, and the other with Os Guinness, founder of the Trinity Forum. Dr. Liebowitz’s comes in response to an act of incivility on Middlebury’s campus, in which a group of students removed a 9/11 memorial display for what they believed to be sound reasons. While Guinness’s interview is more broad-ranging, but pertains to the question of the role of Christianity in American politics, and its place as part of civil debate in the American public square.

If you have an article that you think would be right for future civility linkblogging posts, please do not hesitate to email it to us at editor@instituteforcivility.org. Include the title, url, and a short summary, and we will gladly review it for publication.

Now on to the list:

Civility Starts with Remembering Good Manners
Posted by Jeff Kaley at the Duncan Banner, November 17, 2013

Dr. P.M. Forni, whose books Choosing Civility and The Civility Solution got me rambling on this subject in the first place, suggests we begin by changing how we treat one another on the interpersonal level.

While composing The Civility Solution, Forni surveyed people about what bothers them most, and came up with what he calls “The Terrible 10” situations that bring out anger in people

Civility, Please
Posted at Middlebury Magazine, November 19, 2013

President Ronald D. Liebowitz of Middlebury College: Civility is a must. We’re an academic institution, and so we don’t only teach facts. We also teach how to argue, how to debate, how to engage, how to learn. And being civil is a key part of doing all of these things.

12 Ways to More Civiity on Social Media
Posted by Alex Garcia at the Chicago Tribune, November 20, 2013

I was looking over a past post about the Sun-Times firings and said to myself, “Wow, I sound really angry here.” The truth is, I was. I just didn’t think that I sounded that angry. In my mind, it was pointed and strongly worded for the circumstances. At the time, a CNN blog commented that my post was “acid” and I remember thinking, “acid”? Really?

I guess that’s the case when you’re upset. You don’t realize how you sound until you read it later and realize it has all the nuance of “FLAME ON!”

Ministers Seek to Set Tone for Elections
Posted by Alva James-Johnson at the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, November 21, 2013

In a press conference organized by the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance Social Action Committee, the ministers denounced what they called “character assassinations,” but declined to cite any specific examples.

The Rev. Johnny Flakes III, pastor of Fourth Street Missionary Baptist Church, called on people in business, politics, medicine, education, the military and the media “to stand up with us to promote and practice at the highest level human dignity, civility, respect, unity, justice and integrity.”

Civility in the Public Square
Posted at Point of View, November 21, 2013

Os Guinness, co-founder of The Trinity Forum: Misunderstandings surround the idea of civility; it’s frequently mistaken for squeamishness about cultural differences, false tolerance or dinner-party etiquette. Classically, civility is a republican virtue, with a small “r,” and a democratic necessity, with a small “d.” It’s the only way you can have a diverse society, freely but civilly, peacefully.

As Christians, we have deeper motivations still [for championing civility]. Followers of Jesus are called to be peacemakers, with truth and grace; Paul asks us to speak the truth with love. We’re called to love our enemies and do good to those who wrong us. This is our Christian motivation for championing the classical virtue of civility.

Civility Linkblogging: Pennsylvania, Montana, Tennessee, and Ephesians

Linkblogging
By Anita Pratanti, via flickr

This post is part of an ongoing series that highlights discourse about civility from around the Web. We glean the links in this segment from as broad a cross-section as we can manage of blogs, newspapers, magazines, and other online venues, from the United States and around the world.

This week’s edition of linkblogging might well be subtitled: playing catch-up. It features articles articles about civility and civil government from the greater part of September and the beginning of October — from just before the government shutdown.

But just because these items are a little bit old in terms of current events does not mean that they are irrelevant. Here, we have what happened in Levittown, PA when Republican Representative Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8) took the stage with Missouri Democrat Emanuel Cleaver (MO-5) to talk about civility and civil discourse. We have retired pastor Jim Bell’s scripturally grounded call for greater civility from politicians who self-identify as Christian. And we have a success story — of the ascendency of civility in municipal government in one California town.

If you have an article that you think would be right for future civility linkblogging posts, please do not hesitate to email it to us at editor@instituteforcivility.org. Include the title, url, and a short summary, and we will gladly review it for publication.

Now — the list:

Covenants of Civility
Posted by Jim Bell at Pastor Jim Bell’s Jottings, September 16, 2013

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.

Too often , however, we have reflected the political divisions of our culture rather than the unity we have in the body of Christ. We come together to urge those who claim the name of Christ to “put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32)

Fitzpatrick Promotes Civility with Democratic Congressman
Posted by James Boyle at Levittown Patch, September 18, 2013

Cleaver carried his new devotion to self-control and quiet strength throughout college and into public office, where he became the first African-American mayor of Kansas City, Mo., in 1991 and now serves in the House of Representatives alongside Mike Fitzpatrick, who represents Bucks County in Pennsylvania’s 8th District.

They sit on opposite sides of the aisle in Washington, D.C., but Monday afternoon Cleaver and Fitzpatrick shared the same stage at Neshaminy School District’s Maple Point Middle School in Langhorne to highlight the importance of civility.

Watching Civility and Fair Negotiation in Action
Posted by Yvonne Holt at The Modesto Bee, September 25, 2013

I realized during these meetings that civility works when people are willing to participate in civility. It became apparent to me that the board members and the residents in attendance all wanted what was fair for the entire homeowners’ association. It is hard to resolve every single issue that is brought to the table.

It is eye-opening to witness fair negotiation between leaders and residents who are willing to try to stick to facts and then make decisions using due process.

Montana Governor: Politics Can Be Made More Civil, But Will Take Time
Posted by Charles S. Johnson at The Missoulian, September 26, 2013

Gov. Steve Bullock told a Leadership Montana gathering Thursday that he remains hopeful that civility eventually can be restored to the U.S. and Montana political systems, but it will take efforts by many to make the needed changes.

“I am still confident about the future of politics and civility in our system,” he said. “I think it’s going through a rough time. I look ahead to what we want in 10 years.”

Civility the Latest Casualty of Politics
Posted by Otis Sanford at The Detroit News, October 3, 2013

When President Barack Obama visited Chattanooga July 30 to talk about the economy and job growth, not a single ranking Republican official in Tennessee was anywhere around.

Sen. Bob Corker, a former mayor of Chattanooga, stayed as far away as possible. So did Sen. Lamar Alexander and Gov. Bill Haslam.

Even the Chattanooga Times Free Press newspaper was unwelcoming. “Forgive us if you are not greeted with the same level of Southern hospitality that our area usually bestows on its distinguished guests,” the newspaper said in an editorial before the president’s arrival.