For many years now, the West Virginia Council of Churches has raised concern regarding the tenor of political debate in our country. We most explicitly have expressed this in our Public Policy Issue Priorities booklet.

The West Virginia Council of Churches laments the deterioration of political debate in our society as it is expressed through the demonization of political adversaries, falsehood masquerading as truth for political gain, and the corrosive effect of anonymous money.

All of these have a negative influence on public trust and the participation of citizens in the political process.

We call for civility, mutual respect, financial transparency, disclosure, and truth telling in campaigning and other forms of political activity.

This statement is the first issue raised in the booklet and is purposely there to highlight the Council’s hope for our country to return to a sense of our common humanity as lived out in community together.

As the 2020 election draws near, we wish to reissue this call to civility. We urge candidates and citizens alike to refrain from a rhetoric of anger and violence. Such speech and rhetoric are damaging to the body politic and to our relationships with one another, stealing the humanity of our sisters, brothers, and neighbors in the process.

We implore those in the halls of government and citizens engaged in this election to let the democratic process take place with concord and goodwill; refrain from voter suppression; and honor the votes cast. Should there be a transition of government, we call upon all those involved to proceed with a peaceful transition, as it has for the past 244 years.

Finally, we call upon our nation to turn from anger and hate to love and compassion, so that we may fully see the Image of God in all. We pray that God will grant us the wisdom and strength to do this, so that we as individuals, and our nation, may begin to heal, embrace reconciliation, and continue with the work to “form a more perfect union.”

The West Virginia Council of Churches (WVCC) represents 15 Christian denominations in West Virginia. Its mission is to make visible the unity of Christ's church, and to provide a Christian witness on public issues, as well as to engage in cooperative mission and service for all West Virginians.