Faith leaders call for civility after attacks
Religion News Service
March 29, 2010

Faith leaders call for civility after attacks

Faith leaders call for civility after attacks
Religion News Service
March 29, 2010

WASHINGTON — As Democratic

lawmakers reel from violent attacks and threats, religious leaders have issued

a “covenant for civility” pledging that they will pray for politicians and

model respectful behavior.

“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,” reads the statement,

signed by more than 100 Christian


The covenant was released

March 25 by the anti-poverty group Sojourners, as members of Congress who voted

in favor of health care reform have faced attacks. A brick was thrown through

Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter’s window in Niagara Falls, N.Y., and a gas

line was cut at the home of the brother of Rep. Tom Perriello, D-Va.

Quoting the Bible, the faith

leaders said political debaters should be “quick to listen, slow to speak and

slow to become angry.”

In addition to the covenant,

several religious groups are condemning the threats against members of


“These actions may have been

tolerated in the Wild West, but have no place in the United States today,” said

Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, in a

separate statement.

George Cummings, co-chair of

PICO National Network Steering Committee, called the violent threats and

actions “deplorable and unacceptable.” Faithful America, an online community

sponsored by Faith in Public Life, circulated a petition calling for members of

Congress “who stood with the Tea Partiers to stand up to their threats and

violence before someone gets hurt.”

Mat Staver of the

conservative law firm Liberty Counsel noted that President Obama signed the

reform bill 235 years to the date when orator Patrick Henry called for fighting

abuses of power by the British: “Two centuries ago the people took up arms.

Today the people must channel their anger through nonviolent means to change

the leadership and the direction of America.”

Signatories on the civility

covenant included: Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of

Evangelicals; Geoffrey A. Black, general minister and president of the United

Church of Christ; Prison Fellowship founder Chuck Colson; Samuel Rodriguez,

president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; Jim Wallis,

president and CEO of Sojourners; and George O. Wood, general superintendent of

the Assemblies of God.