In an editorial this week the Dallas Morning News called for greater civility in our discourse. The editorial took note of a nationwide civility campaign launched in Dallas by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.
Both the News and the Council are to be commended for their efforts to restore civility to our national dialogue and in our daily life. The Judeo-Christian tradition has long been a strong voice for respecting the dignity of every human being. The strident speech, foot stomping and demonizing that has become common in political and yes, religious discourse, is unworthy of a civilized society.
The editorial quotes the Jewish Council: “Civility is neither the lack of difference nor the squelching of debate. It is the application of care for the dignity of every human being, even those with whom we may sharply disagree.” Too often today dialogue is replaced by simultaneous monologue, talking at each other rather than to each other. We are too busy defending our position to listen to and try to understand another’s. As the Jewish Council notes we should open ourselves to the possibility that others may have something to teach us.