(Des Moines, IA) Both of the democrats running for President and half of the Republicans in the race have signed a religious group’s pledge to keep the campaigning clean.
The Interfaith Alliance “Framework of Civility” has been signed by Bill Bradley, Al Gore, George W. Bush, Orrin Hatch and John McCain.
“Here in Iowa, we are disturbed by the decline in voter participation rates and suspect that the rise of negative campaigning is a contributing factor,” Interfaith Alliance of Iowa executive director Alicia Claypool said during a news conference Thursday.
Claypool pointed to surveys, which show people more inclined to vote if the candidates are more polite and less confrontational. Claypool’s group, however, does not intend to be a public monitor of campaign conduct.
“The Interfaith Alliance of Iowa will not function as the morality police or the civility police,” she said. “We will not arbitrate disagreements between campaigns or charge candidates with civility violations. The court in which judgments should be and will be made is in the court of public opinion.”
The Interfaith Alliance, which includes many mainstream churches, has called for January to be a “faithful decision month” for people of faith. Reverend Dr. Mark Davis of Clive says 175 Iowa religious leaders have asked for a packet of worship resource materials for the month.
“We fervently believe thatk, as religious leaders, we have an obligation to foster civic participation without promoting one political party or agenda over another,” Davis said.
On Saturday, January 9, the group will host a training workshop in Des Moines for first-time caucus-goers. Former Lieutenant Governor Joy Corning, a republican, and present Lieutenant Governor Sally Pederson will help conduct the seminar.
GOP presidential candidates Gary Bauer, Steve Forbes and Alan Keyes did not respond to the group’s request for agreeing to conduct a “civil” campaign. All three of those republicans have tied to the Christian Coalition, which is not part of the Interfaith Alliance and has been criticized by it.