I thought it was so great that I asked for -- and received -- permission to share what is not only a brilliant model for how to manage social media interactions in these challenging times but a great glimpse into who it is we've elected as our next bishop here in the Diocese of Los Angeles. And so ... without further ado ... from my friend and bishop-elect John Taylor I give you:
A word about my Facebook page:
From time to time, I post articles I find interesting or say what’s on my heart and mind. All my posts are public, and I welcome your comments. I ask that you please not say anything you wouldn’t say at my house over a festive spread of snacks and beverages with children present. Please avoid profanity and broad generalizations about people.
For instance, irrespective of your policy position, the following sentences can’t be graciously or even accurately completed with any word or phrase except “beloved of the Most High God” or a word or phrase intrinsically derived from it:
“All undocumented workers are ______,”
“All refugees are ______.”
Try it. It’s fun!
Also, please remember that you are my friend, in conversation with my other friends. That will help you avoid the attack ad hominem – any comment which questions the qualifications, motives, character, or sanity of your conversation partner. Besides being unkind, such comments generally tell the reader that you are having trouble coming up with a substantive argument.
If you ask someone for a response, and they don't reply, it doesn't mean you've won or they're wrong and you get to say so in your next comment. Pretend they just went out for more Diet Coke and beer. Everyone has the right to disengage.
Finally, it’s important to remember, when tempted to make an ad hominem attack, as we all sometimes are, that a criticism of a powerful person whom you like is not a criticism of you.
Vigorous criticism of the powerful is one of the things that makes America great. They can totally take it. Actually, since it’s just my Facebook page, they won’t see it. They don’t care. The only people listening and caring are those you might find sitting around the table over at my house one day, reaching for a chip and inquiring about your family.
I delete offensive comments as soon as I see them. I usually save those I delete and would be happy to tell you my reasons if you ask off-line. Thanks for listening, and blessings in Christ.