South Dakota Faith in Public Life was founded on the dual premises that civil dialogue is fundamental to a healthy democracy and that people of faith are called to participate in civil dialogue with respect for our neighbors, even those with whom we disagree. Why would we devote time to the study of civility as a social and political problem? Because the presidential campaign of 2016 presented us with a level of vitriol and incivility unlike any we had ever witnessed before.
In the fall of 2016, South Dakota Faith in Public Life issued a press release challenging candidates and citizens to practice civility, saying, “We are witnessing a dramatic loss of civility in public life that is incompatible with our moral values as religious leaders and our democratic values as citizens.”
See the full text of the statement: Faith Demands Civility.
This statement was also shared as a My Voice column in the Argus Leader newspaper by Rev. Dr. Marcia Moret Sietstra and Rev. Bill Tesch.