Faith, hope and charity . . . (I Corinthians 13:13)
Now maybe there is some hope. After my last dark post, there comes this from an email from my uncle, a former missionary. It does give us not only some guidelines on how to agree to disagree but hope. Hope that people with divergent beliefs on religion, government, etc. can find ways to live together.
Tolerance does not mean agreement. If it did, there would be no need for the word toleration. We can believe strongly without believing forcefully. We can tolerate.
CHRISTIAN WITNESS IN THE PLURALISTIC CONTEXT OF INDIA:
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CONDUCT
From a press release of the World Council of Churches. March 20, 2012
We the participants of the Bangalore consultation offer these recommendations for consideration and action by all Christians in India.
1. apply the guidelines set out in this document in light of the needs and concerns of your own context and in the same ecumenical spirit of this document. Always be aware of the need for self-reflection and analysis of your witness and your lives.
2. build relationships of respect and trust with people of all religions, in particular at institutional levels between churches and other religious communities, engaging in on-going interreligious dialogue as part of their Christian commitment. In certain contexts, where years of tension and conflict have created deep suspicions and breaches of trust between and among communities, interreligious dialogue can provide new opportunities for resolving conflicts, restoring justice, healing of memories, reconciliation and peace-building.
3. encourage Christians to strengthen their own Christian identity and faith commitment to Jesus while deepening their knowledge and understanding of different religions, and to do so taking into account the perspectives of the adherents of those religions. Christians should avoid misrepresenting the beliefs and practices of people of different religions.
4. cooperate with other faith communities and participate in civil society movements that engage in advocacy towards justice and the common good and, wherever possible, stand together in solidarity with all minority groups, especially religious minorities, and all who are in situations of conflict.
5. call on governments to ensure that freedom of religion is properly and comprehensively respected, recognizing that in many states religious institutions and persons are inhibited from exercising their mission.
6. pray for their neighbours (sic) and their well-being, recognizing that prayer is integral to who we are and what we do, as well as to Christ’s mission.
What does this have to do with the Palmetto Bug?
Some of these ideas are mentioned in my first posting. The guidelines above mirror some of my guidelines. Some of us have the same goals.
Some of the Palmetto Bug’s goals are:
1. To promote civil discourse and discussion on things we disagree. Only if we are civil and respectful of each other, can we find ways to compromise and get things done on the state and federal level.
2. To promote ideas for real government reform in the 21st century in South Carolina and the US. Because if we reform government, we can reform our state.
3. To promote toleration in a state that is frankly not known for toleration
There are other goals, but these are germane to the discussion at hand.
Dum spiro seiro. This is the official motto of the State of South Carolina. It means, “While I breathe, I hope.”
I breathe, therefore I hope.
The Palmetto Bug