calendar September 21, 2012 in Bishop, Bishop messages

Religious Leaders Call for Civility in Political Discourse

Philadelphia religious leaders have issued a call to political leaders and candidates to promote civility in political debate and “choose the path that leads away from polarization and towards a unity of purpose that fosters a shared future.”

The Religious Leaders Council of Greater Philadelphia, whose 25 member religious communities represent more than 2 million people of diverse faith traditions across the region, issued a joint statement noting that while “robust, vigorous debate is a hallmark of a diverse society”, the current climate of political discourse is increasingly uncivil.

“As differences devolve into acrimony, dignity is diminished and people holding diverse viewpoints cease listening to each other,” the leaders said. “Particularly in an election season, these regrettable trends tend to be even more pronounced. It has become more difficult to find common ground.”

Noting their responsibility as faith leaders to promote civil discussion of all issues, particularly political ones, the leaders challenged political leaders to join in promoting fair, respectful political debate.  “This will uphold the dignity of each person, created in the image of God, and our resolve to show respect and to do more good will be strengthened,” the leaders said.

Bishop Claire Schenot Burkat is a co-convenor of the Council along with Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, Rabbi David Straus, and Imam Anwar Muhaimin.  The Council is the first of its kind in the city, founded in Spring 2006 to build relationships of mutual support, offer a moral and spiritual voice in the region, and identify issues of concern for dialogue and action for the region’s religious communities.

For more information visit the Council’s web page at