PORTLAND, Maine — The Maine Council of Churches and the University of Southern Maine Interfaith Chaplaincy will present “Civil Discourse on Same Sex Marriage,” an ecumenical conversation with four Maine religious leaders, at 7 p.m. Thursday at Luther Bonney Hall on the USM campus on Bedford Street.
Panelists will be the Rt. Rev. Stephen Lane, Episcopal bishop of Maine; the Rev. Joseph Daniels, pastor of Corpus Christi Roman Catholic Parish in Waterville and contributor to Bishop Richard Malone’s pastoral letter on marriage; the Rev. Susan Craig, United Church of Christ Associate Conference Minister; and the Rev. Michael Davis, United Methodist Church Tri-State superintendent.
The Rev. Sage Currie, pastor of the New Church in Fryeburg and a Maine Council of Churches board member, will host the event.
In 2009, the Maine Council of Churches created a Covenant for Civil Discourse in response to the negative tone in political campaigns.
“The covenant is simple — it’s a set of promises to regulate oneself, to behave in ways that we want others to behave toward us, with no exceptions for political discourse.” said the Rev. Jill Saxby, the Maine Council of Churches’ executive director.
Since then, more than 80 Maine candidates running for elective office have
signed the covenant as a promise to act respectfully toward opponents, refrain from personal attacks, refuse to make untrue statements in defense of a position, value civility and expect those working for their election campaigns to do the same. Maine’s Roman Catholic, United Church of Christ, United Methodist, Episcopal and Unitarian Universalist denominations as well as several Quaker meetings also have signed the covenant.
The purpose of “Civil Discourse on Same Sex Marriage” is to show that people of faith, who may strongly disagree with each other, can talk to each other in a respectful and civil manner.
Thursday night’s event will focus each faith leader’s response to members of their communities on Ballot Question 1 in Maine’s Nov. 6 election, “Do you want to allow the State of Maine to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples?”
The Covenant for Civil Discourse and more information about the event is available at www.mainecouncilofchurches.org.