The Maine Council of Churches, on behalf of its nine member denominations, has endorsed the upcoming statewide ballot initiative to expand background checks for most private gun sales, including internet and gun show purchases. We are encouraged by the words and deeds of members of our congressional delegation in supporting long-needed discussion and solutions to the epidemic of gun violence in our country. We urge them to continue.

Equally important to us is that it is done in a respectful and civil manner. We are the originators of the Covenant for Civil Discourse, which calls on all of us engaged in matters of public policy and elections to treat others, including those with whom we disagree, as we would ourselves be treated.

We understand that politics is the “art of the possible” and that there will be many opportunities to engage in races and issues that are of prime importance to the people of Maine and our nation.

We are mindful that all of us who seek common ground and work together for the common good must hold not only our candidates but also ourselves to the highest standards of truth, respect and civility as we move forward. Kudos to U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree for putting these ideals into action. Dirigo.

Bonny Rodden

Leslie Manning

Maine Council of Churches

Portland