Responding to Political Rhetoric, Christian Leaders Work to Humanize Opponents

Samuel Rodriguez
Samuel Rodriguez

In response to increasing incivility, bullying and disrespect for others within society, nationally recognized leaders have launched of the worldwide Imago Dei campaign, an alternative discourse of truth and civility centered around recognizing and elevating the image of God in every human being—without exception.

Led by the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), the largest Hispanic Christian organization that represents more than 40,000 U.S. churches, Imago Dei is already supported by Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family; James Robison, president of LIFE Outreach International and co-host of LIFE Today; Mark L. Williams, presiding bishop and general overseer of Church of God International; Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty University; and Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, award-winning television producers and producers of the upcoming feature film Son of God, which will be released nationwide on Feb. 28, 2014.

"We should be known not by what we oppose, but rather by what we propose," says NHCLC President Samuel Rodriguez. "Through this campaign, we want to reconcile the message of Jesus as affirmed by Billy Graham's transformative message and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s historical march for justice."

The purpose of Imago Dei is to facilitate a platform for the advancement of a loving truth conversation while simultaneously repudiating rhetorical bullying. The campaign seeks to change the world by sharing truth via the grace-filled amplifier of love.

Built on one of the foundational truths of the Bible, Imago Dei states that the image of God exists in all human beings—black and white, rich and poor, straight and gay, conservative and liberal, victim and perpetrator, citizen and undocumented, believer and unbeliever. The challenge of the Imago Dei campaign is for individuals to recognize this in friend and foe, acquaintance and stranger, strong and weak, oppressor and liberator.

"We should continually remind ourselves that every human being is created in the image of God," Staver says. "This has profound consequences. In the blogosphere and social media culture, where people are dehumanized, bullied and slandered, and where political rhetoric has polarized the populace, the Imago Dei in every person compels us to love and respect all people, including those who disagree with us."

The foundation of Imago Dei is the following statement: "I recognize that every human being, in and out of the womb, carries the image of God—without exception. Therefore, I will treat everyone with love and respect."

"Why do we treat others with respect and civility? Because every human being—every one of us—is created in the image of God," Daly says. "Let us proclaim truth, but let us never forget that we're called to speak that truth in love (Eph. 4:15) to all bearing the Imago Dei."

Leaders are urging every individual who agrees, especially those of faith, to sign on to join the Imago Dei campaign by visiting imagodeicampaign.org.

"When we recognize that the image of God is in all of humanity, it helps us understand that our mandate is to honor everyone and respond to those who oppose us in love," Robison says. "This does not mean we can't have firm convictions, but if our actions don't reflect Christlike character, then who will listen?"

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