The Civility Covenant states:
- We commit that our dialogue with each other will reflect the spirit of the scriptures, where our posture toward each other is to be “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry” (James 1:19).
- We believe that each of us, and our fellow human beings, are created in the image of God. The respect we owe to God should be reflected in the honor and respect we show to each other in our common humanity, particularly in how we speak to each other. “With the tongue we bless the Lord and [God], and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God … this ought not to be so” (James 3:9-10).
- We pledge that when we disagree, we will do so respectfully, without falsely impugning the other’s motives, attacking the other’s character, or questioning the other’s faith, and recognizing in humility that in our limited, human opinions, “we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror” (1 Corinthians 13:12). We will therefore “be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2).
- We will ever be mindful of the language we use in expressing our disagreements, being neither arrogant nor boastful in our beliefs: “Before destruction one’s heart is haughty, but humility goes before honor” (Proverbs 18:12).
- We recognize that we cannot function together as citizens of the same community, whether local or national, unless we are mindful of how we treat each other in pursuit of the common good, in the common life we share together. Each of us must therefore “put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body” (Ephesians 4:25).
- We commit to pray for our political leaders — those with whom we may agree, as well as those with whom we may disagree. “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made — for kings and all who are in high positions” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
- We believe that it is more difficult to hate others, even our adversaries and our enemies, when we are praying for them. We commit to pray for each other, those with whom we agree and those with whom we may disagree, so that together we may strive to be faithful witnesses to our Lord, who prayed “that they may be one” (John 17:22).
You can and may hold any view you like on the role of explicit Christian beliefs in public and political discourse. But take remove the references to the bible verses from this list of steps for a civil discourse, and wouldn’t you think them worth following?