Forum on Civil Discourse Fills Talbot Hall
On Thursday evening, September 20th, nearly 200 people filled the Talbot Auditorium to hear and discuss ideas around civil discourse among people of faith who disagree. The maine Council of Churches sponsored the event, whose immediate focus was on this November's ballot iniative to permit same sex couples to receive marriage licenses, but the far-reaching issue of civil and fruitful discussion across disagreement will remain critical. Participants were invited to consider signing a Covenant for Civil Discourse which commits the signer "to act respectfully toward others, including those who oppose me in public debate, adn to attempt to understand others' points of view... to refrain from personal attacks, while maintaining the right to vigorously disagree, to refrain from making statements which characterize my opponents as evil, to refuse to make untrue statement in defense of my own position, to value honesty, trusth, and civility while striving to find workable solutions, and to expect any person, party, campaign, or organization working on my behalf, or to whom Icontribute money, to meet these same standards for civil discouse." The Maine Council of Churches, sponsor of Thursday's event, has asked all candidates for elected office in Maine to sign the Covenant for Civil Discourse. For more information: www.mainecouncilofchurches.org.
Solidarity, Sympathy, and Silence for Boston
The tree on the Portland campus dedicated on September 11, 2011 reminds us that when those attacks took place, we didn’t know how we’d go on, but we have. Another hateful act has rocked our world; more people have died and suffered grave injury. But the tree has continued to grow, to blossom and leaf, to rest in winter, and to begin again each spring. Life is resilient.
The explosions in Boston on Monday were powerful. The pain on the part of those whose loved ones were killed, and on the part of those injured is powerful. The hatred that motivated the act, and the fear and anger it provoked are powerful.
But our gathering in solidarity and sympathy is more powerful still. Solidarity, because it means we are one people, is more powerful. Sympathy, because it means we are being with, feeling with, those who grieve and ache and must heal, is more powerful. Solidarity and sympathy have more power to carry the day. They have the power to redeem this divided, killing, maiming, aching, and yet somehow resilient world.
In solidarity and in sympathy, we hold in our minds and hearts all those impacted by the horrible events of Monday in Boston.