Faith is also important to the civility of our country. It teaches us not merely to tolerate one another but to respect one another, to show a regard for different views, and the courtesy to listen. This is essential to democracy. It is also the proper way to treat human beings created in the divine image.
We will have our disagreements. Civility does not require us to abandon deeply held beliefs. Civility does not demand casual creeds and colorless convictions. Americans have always believed that civility and firm resolve could live easily with one another. But civility does mean that our public debate ought to be free from bitterness and anger and rancor and ill will. We have an obligation to make our case, not to demonize our opponents. As the Book of James reminds us, fresh water and salt water cannot flow from the same spring.