Teens can pave way for civility in next election

osborne    Now that the ballots have been cast, the attack ads shelved and the lawn signs pulled up from their moorings, we can breathe easy. Or can we?
    My Facebook wall is still full of people attacking each other and the beliefs of others. When people vote, they vote because they firmly believe their candidate is the one who will best advance their interests and that of the country.                 However, the sharply divided vote counts make it obvious that the two sides believe that our  future consists of completely opposing philosophies.
    I know a lot of teenagers who feel discouraged by the stunning lack of civility held by the competing campaigns  this election; teens who feel that their voice isn’t heard; and have learned – from TV pundits, newspaper columnists, impassioned Facebook posts and ill-considered hate speech – that having beliefs means that you have to be single-minded in purpose. You can’t listen to anyone else.
    The election controversy feels similar to the battle between scientists and creationists: those who believe humans evolved over an impossibly long period of time, and those who believe that Genesis is literally true and that the world was created 6,000 years ago.
    Who is right? Evolutionists say that creationists are bonkers because fossil and carbon-dating records indicate that the world started millions of years ago; creationists say that evolutionists are crazy because humans were made in God’s image and aren’t the result of random chance.
    As Catholics, we believe that the Bible is the word of God, but we also understand that the ancient Jews didn’t have the same level of scientific knowledge that we do today. Some Catholics look at Genesis and see God as scientific: God created light just as the universe began in the Big Bang; he separated the earth from the water just as scientists believe the Earth cooled and continents were formed; he created birds and animals before humans, which, some believe, fits with evolution.
    If you’re in high school, you’ll probably cast your first presidential ballot in 2016. Over these next four years, don’t become part of hurtful, uncivil politics. Instead, stand up for truth, believe with your whole heart but also respect the beliefs of others and try to find the common ground.

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