Appaloosa Grill Denver, CO
Civility: Becoming People of Peace in an Age of Deep Division
Thursday, Oct. 13 11:30 a.m.
Held on October 13, 2016.
Jesus – and Abraham Lincoln – once said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Yet the current state of America is just that: divided. Right vs. Left, Republican vs. Democrat, conservative talk radio vs. liberal mainstream media – the rhetoric, especially in an election year, has fomented deep divides among Americans. A recent Gallup poll shows that “dissatisfaction with government” is the most pressing non-economic problem facing America today. Some believe our nation is coming apart.
Yet when the Bible speaks to the topic of working with those with whom we disagree, a deeply counter-cultural ethic emerges. Paul writes, “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone” (Titus 3:1-2).
What would it be like to recover a spirit of politeness, courtesy, and even gentleness – in short, civility – in our American public life?
What can the men and women working in law, government, business and media do to restore civic virtues in a time of raucous discord? Can the church host a space of reconciliation among those with differing convictions?
This interactive discussion featured Jay Hein, president of the Sagamore Institute and former Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, and Albus Brooks, president, Denver City Council (District 9), and State Senator Owen Hill (District 10).
Albus Brooks Councilman Brooks is president of the Denver City Council, representing District 9. His district, which encompasses downtown and Northeast Denver, is not only the economic engine for the region, but also the cultural hub. An eclectic yet disconnected district, Councilman Brooks campaigned under the motto, “Connecting Diverse Communities,” a rallying cry that spoke to the values of the community. Before serving on City Council, Mr. Brooks helped then-Mayor John Hickenlooper get elected Governor of Colorado, acting as his Outreach and Political Director, managing field and constituency outreach operations. Mr. Brooks also served as the Director of the Issachar Center for Urban Leadership (ICUL), investing in emerging leaders by leading a program that provided full-ride college scholarships and urban leadership training to Denver’s low-income minorities.
Jay Hein is president of Sagamore Institute, an Indianapolis-based think tank that he helped found in 2004. He was deputy assistant to the President and director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives from 2006-2008. Hein serves as Distinguished Senior Fellow at Baylor University's Institute for the Study of Religion and as director of the Foundation for American Renewal established by US Senator Dan Coats. Hein is a member of the Office Depot Foundation board of directors and managing director of ISOKO, an African free market think tank. Earlier in his career, Hein was a welfare reform policy advisor to Governor Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin and director of civil society programs at the Hudson Institute. He received a Bachelors of Arts degree from Eureka College and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Indiana Wesleyan University.
State Senator Owen Hill represents the citizens of District 10 in El Paso County and is running for Congress in the upcoming elections. He is a graduate of the Air Force Academy with a doctorate in Economics from the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Following his military service, Owen helped manage the global financial operations of Compassion International, a worldwide child-advocacy organization with a budget of more than $700 million that provides relief for children in poverty. Senator Hill also owns his own management consulting company and a small, high-tech construction company.