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It isn’t a good thing when respectful dialogue is replaced by inflammatory language. It isn’t a good thing when public servants show such little respect for each other because it leads others to have little respect for them and for the important work they do to guide our common life. It isn’t a good thing for our democracy when we can’t engage differences respectfully, because no one ideology or perspective has a corner on the truth. It isn't a good thing when Christians with different viewpoints reject each other as heretics or apostates rather than recognizing that in the eyes of God, we all fall far short of perfection.

When people with different ideas and viewpoints cannot discuss and debate, civilly, then they cannot learn from each other. The different points of view that different parties bring to our common life should enrich our understanding, not debase it.

There is a reason, after all, why the leading opposition party in our Canadian parliament is called “Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.” Honest, civil disagreement is an act of loyalty, because without it, our political institutions would have blinders, keeping them from seeing alternatives.

So the apostle Paul's exhortation to "speak the truth in love" is not some quaint ideal, but a profoundly relevant challenge to our modern world!