by Shaun Belliston, 2017 ICLRS Student Fellow, and Joshua Prince, 2016 ICLRS Student Fellow
In his July 6 presentation, Brian Farr, board member of the Utah International Relations and Trade Commission, discussed ways to create civility in an uncivil world. He emphasized that although it may appear to the contrary, differences of religious affiliation can actually be beneficial to society, not harmful. He argued that religious differences “should enrich—not eclipse—the things that we have in common with other faiths.”
The discussion of religion in the public square, therefore, should not be suppressed but encouraged. As we find common values, we will stem the tide of partisanship and live to learn in peace and harmony with one another.
Farr also discussed principles for creating civility. For example, there is a need for individual responsibility, integrity, respect for freedom of religion and other basic rights, and intergroup cohesion. Without these things, it will be difficult to prevent or suppress violence that results from differences in culture and perspective.