- Special Sections
- Public Notices
“So many political campaigns seem to go negative. How should people of faith respond to this display of demeaning and misleading advertising? — George
Campaigns become tiresome and trivialized when they are characterized by the incessant onslaught of harsh language and misinformation that political opponents direct at each other with the goal of winning elected office. Political analysts say it works: “People are swayed by negative messages.”
Sadly, this observation may say as much about society in general as it does about the candidates.
You may not be able to change the situation (unless you can exert direct influence at campaign headquarters).
Nevertheless, as a person of faith, you can model some of what ought to be seen in civil discourse.
You can reject demeaning, misleading language (Eph. 4:29, 31). You can ask for honest debate and thoughtful dialogue while eschewing crass condescension and the deluge of self-serving, low-class mudslinging.
As a person of conviction, you have the right to expect the ethics and behavior from candidates that you expect of yourself (I Pet. 2:12, 15-17, 18-20).
People of faith are truth-seekers (Pr. 23:23). You should demand to know what the candidates believe and the policies they support, reminding them that their ability to criticize their opponent with slick advertising is not a measure of their ability to be effective in office (Mt. 7:1-5).
As a person of faith, you understand that moral character is not defined by allegiance to one party or the other.
You know that candidates are defined by their integrity, record of accomplishments and genuine concern for people (Mt. 7:15-20; James 3:13-18).
The good ones will resist mightily the temptation to campaign negatively. The really good, rare ones, will value honesty and act responsibly and with dignity throughout the campaign, even toward their opponents.
Those are the ones you may choose to support.