With the feast of St. Francis of Assisi just a couple of days away, I found something of interest that I thought I'd like to share with you given, especially, that we are now in the height of the political season. Political discourse has, as we all know, reached levels of depravity and vitriol that are abhorrent. Candidate ads are not dedicated so much to what the candidate's vision for America is rather than how evil and distrustful their opponent is.
Two years ago, an organization known as FAN (Franciscan Action Network), introduced The F.R.A.N.C.I.S. Commitment to Civility in Discourse. It is a guideline to civilly discussing the day's issues with others who do not agree with us. I offer this to you to prayerfully consider this method and see if it makes any difference in the nature of any discussion you may have.
Each verb begins with a letter, when taken together, spells out the name FRANCIS, whose death we celebrate tomorrow evening and feast we celebrate on Thursday.
"I commit to:
FACILITATE a forum for difficult discourse and acknowledge that all dialogue can lead to new insight and mutual understanding.
RESPECT the dignity of all people, especially the dignity of those who hold an opposing view.
AUDIT one's self and utilize terms or a vocabulary of faith to unite or reconcile rather than divide conflicting positions.
NEUTRALIZE inflamed conversations by presuming that those with whom we differ are acting in good faith.
COLLABORATE with others and recognize that all human engagement is an opportunity to promote peace.
IDENTIFY common ground such as similar values or concerns and utilize this as a foundation to build upon.
SUPPORT efforts to clean up the provocative language by calling policymakers to their sense of personal integrity."