News Release: Call for Renewed Charity in All Things Political

January 24, 2014

(Lansing)—Michigan Catholic Conference released the following statement this afternoon in an effort to bring the voice of the Catholic community to ongoing conversations related to civility and tolerance within the public sphere in the State of Michigan:

“The role of the Michigan Catholic Conference is to advocate on behalf of public policies that promote the common good for the State of Michigan. The Catholic Conference does so by working with elected officials on both sides of the political aisle as well as the Executive branch of state government. Michigan Catholic Conference does not seek to interfere with intra party discussions related to administration or partisan activity. In recent weeks, regrettable comments relating to personal classification, documented status and religion have become the source of public conversation. It is important to convey during this period that every human person is made in the image and likeness of God.

“In the course of political debate there exists the opportunity for policy issues to divide and cause acrimony among those with differing perspectives. Too often in the past have some issues allowed for disdain to overshadow legitimate differences of opinion held by good-natured, well-meaning individuals. The very nature of a representative democracy cradles hope for civilized debate, one in which varying and reasoned opinions come forth that, in the end, shape an outcome. This is the ideal, the expectation of citizens, the very responsibility of elected officials and those who lead political communities. Sadly, it has become common for those with positions of responsibility in the public square to drive derision rather than promote tolerance and civility. In all things political, in present times, there must be a renewed focus on charity.

“Charity is predicated upon accepting and practicing the principle that every human being deserves respect based upon their God-given inherent right to human dignity. If society demands that citizens treat each other with respect, it must begin with those who have the significant responsibility of shaping policy and leading others. Too often, and more recently, there has been an abdication of this responsibility. This must change. Policy disagreements will naturally exist among sensible and reasonable people; yet it is unreasonable to bully those who promote charity to adopt positions contrary to their faith and conscience. In the days that are to come, let there be a renewed focus on charity that relies upon respect and dignity that must be afforded to all persons.

Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.

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