The charged atmosphere at the end of the presidential campaign reminds me of an ecumenical principle that is not always very evident in the current ads and speeches.
The principle is–in my words–compare the best to the best.
In times of religious [and political] controversy we tend to compare our sides’ best behavior/position with our opponents worst behavior or worst-stated position.
Here we do not compare like-with-like, but best with worst.
The is very unfair.
In ecumenical dialogue we have learned to compare best with best–and to see what we have to learn from the best positions or examples of our fellow Christians rather than to engage in unfair and fruitless [as well as uncharitable] controversy.
I think that now we need to apply this ecumenical principle within our traditions.
As a Catholic, I notice that the various sides in arguments can single out the worst possible example of their opponent’s position rather than the normal or most representative. This leads to an impasse and hard feelings.
The same seems to be true within other Christian traditions.
As an ecumenist, I need to commitment myself to fairness.
In this context, true differences can be acknowledged and addressed in a more charitable and effective way.