By Mitch Carnell
Presidential Candidates Challenged for the Tenth Anniversary of Say Something Nice Sunday
For the 10th Anniversary observance of Say Something Nice Sunday on June 5, 2016, the steering committee sent a letter to each of the presidential 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 5th.
The movement, which started at First Baptist Church of Charleston, has gained momentum across the country and even into United Kingdom. The purpose is very simple. On this one day do not say anything negative about any person, Christian organization or group and if possible say something nice.
The observance grew out of a little book, Say Something Nice; Be a Lifter, created by the founder, Mitch Carnell. The celebration was adopted by First Baptist Church. The Charleston Baptist Association. The Charleston/Atlantic Presbytery and CBF of South Carolina quickly joined as did the Catholic Diocese of Charleston. Since then Disciples of Christ, Episcopal, Lutheran and Methodists churches have joined. Here are the pledges the candidates were asked to sign.
Civility Challenge One: I pledge that on June 1, 2016 and/or June 5, 2016, I will refrain from saying anything ugly, demeaning or derogatory to or about anyone especially any of the other candidates running for the presidency of the United States.
Civility Challenge Two: I pledge that on June 1, 2016 and/or June 5, 2016, I will say something nice, uplifting or encouraging to or about at least one person running for the presidency of the United States. I understand that remarks related to physical characteristics are off limits for this exercise.
Rev. Garry 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."
The Most Reverend Robert E. Guglielmone, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Charleston (all of South Carolina,) enthusiastically endorsed the annual celebration. He said, "The decline of civility is at an epidemic level in our society and unfortunately has invaded our religious life. The disrespect shown to Christians by other Christians is far from what Jesus wants for His people."
There is nothing to buy or join. Simply do it. 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. Churches and individuals are encouraged to create their own materials.
Presidential Candidates Duck Say Something Nice Sunday Challenge
Not only did the three remaining presidential candidates ignore the civility pledge for the 10th Anniversary observance of Say Something Nice Sunday on June 5 2016, but they intensified their verbal venom. 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 5th. Each was asked to respond by May 20.
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 Mitch Carnell, committee chair. "The present level of rhetoric is totally lacking in respect for differing viewpoints."