Recently former president Jimmy Carter hosted a New Baptist Covenant II Jamboree in Atlanta. The Baptist Press published a story that also included these two paragraphs:
Among the topics Carter addressed were campaign finance reform, immigration policy, Palestinian statehood, global warming, Islam and rebuilding Haiti, a New Baptist Covenant news release reported.
Issues such as the role of women, homosexuality, abortion, the death penalty and the separation of church and state, while important, should not divide churches, Carter said.
Do you see what I see in regard to unity? When discussing his issues the call is for reform: “Come on guys, they’ve got it wrong; let’s demand change!”
When addressing someone else’s issues, the call is for unity, “Come on guys, in the name of unity, drop your controversial stances!”
Which is it, unity or reform? Unity talk is often a debate tool to get others to concede their position: “If you care about unity you won’t disagree with me!” Too often the possibility of softening his position is the farthest thing from the mind of the one asking for unity. Whenever you hear, “in the name of unity embrace compromise” you are probably being drawn into an uncompromising position held by your opponent.
Instead, we should unify around the truth and make our case based on its merit, not rely on the use of a debate tool. This will lead to better understanding and better policy decisions than vague calls for unity.