Not only did the three remaining presidential candidates ignore the civility pledge for the upcoming 10th anniversary observance of Say Something Nice Sunday (June 5) but they intensified their verbal venom, according to the man who organized the “Say Something Nice” movement a decade ago.
Mitch Carnell, a member of Charleston First Baptist Church, said the steering committee sent a letter to each of the candidates asking her or him to take a pledge of civility for either Say Something Nice Day on June 1 or Say Something Nice Sunday on June 5. Each was asked to respond by May 20.
He said the committee hoped that a lull in the war of words would have a positive effect leading to a more civil discussion of the issues. ”We are in need of good examples of civility in the public square,” said Carnell, committee chair. “The present level of rhetoric is totally lacking in respect for differing viewpoints.”
The purpose of Say Something Nice is very simple, he said. “On this one day, do not say anything negative about any person, Christian organization or group, and, if possible, say something nice.”
Gary Hollingsworth, executive director-treasurer of the South Carolina Baptist Convention, said, “It is timely for you folks to encourage this kind of cooperation among God’s people since we face so many spiritual challenges in this state and our nation.”
Robert E. Guglielmone, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Charleston (all of South Carolina,) endorsed the annual celebration. “The decline of civility is at an epidemic level in our society and unfortunately has invaded our religious life,” he said. “The disrespect shown to Christians by other Christians is far from what Jesus wants for His people.”
Marshall Blalock, pastor of First Baptist Church and a member of the committee, said, “In conversation, an attitude of grace dissolves the temptation to pre-judge the words or the reactions of another. Grace keeps us from being easily offended, and in a conversation on a difficult subject, you neither want to give or take offense. Our world has been divided long enough; let’s build relationships that can change it, starting right here.”
Free materials are at www.fbcharleston.org. Click on Messages/Resources at the top of the page. Scroll down on the right to Say Something Nice Sunday. There are Bible references, devotionals, art work and the purpose.