This week has had been eye-opening for me; I had not realized that there are communication principles put out by organizations that have a vested interest in such principles. The National Communication Association (NCA) has a NCA Credo for Ethical Communication. The National Association of the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has a Code of Ethical Conduct and Statement of Commitment. Both NAEYC and NCA have a vision for fundamentally ethical communication that would “enhance human worth and dignity by fostering truthfulness, fairness, responsibility, personal integrity, and respect for self and others” (National Communication Association, 1999, para.1).
I have been trying to think of someone who had demonstrated competent communication within a particular context. I thought that one of my church pastors had that communication magic that did foster a sense of fairness and enhance human worth and dignity. It was during one of the more volatile social issues of “illegal immigration” in the early 1990s. The debate was getting more and more heated and polarizing by the day. It would also flare up and cool down and the cycle went on for a long time – unfortunately, we are still dealing with the very same issue. At that time, I was lukewarm about the issue. I could see both points of view. I live in Southern California where it was probably more prominent than in other parts of the country. My thoughts about illegal immigration today was molded and strengthened by our head pastor, Dr. Donald McCullough.
After our church members would ask him privately how we were supposed to respond to the social issue, Dr. McCullough decided to take the issue head-on and surprised the congregation one Sunday with his choice of topic for his sermon. He told us that he had been pondering that issue as did everyone else for a very long time. He decided to read through the Bible to find any potential or possible reason to offer us some resolution and even possibly peace. He said he found nothing to refer to “immigration” of any kind, but that he found something that could be used to frame the issue. Unfortunately, it was a long time ago and I could not remember the specifics of his sermon. Let it suffice that his words changed my life in more than one way.
He suggested that in God’s view, there should not be any boundaries. He went further to say that we had a responsibility to nurture everyone that was within our sphere. He said that those people took care of our children (as nannies), cleaned our houses, and tended to our gardens. He then asked why we would not want them in our communities. That was the turning point for me.
His sermons were always relevant to our modern lives, and cut to the chase, and yet, they were not judgmental or proselytizing. Every week I looked forward to learning how to live our lives better and as Christians. I miss his sermons and think of him frequently when I wonder about some of today’s social issues.
Ultimately, he communicated in a manner that did not provoke but presented his thoughts in a “courageous expression of personal convictions in pursuit of fairness and justice” (NCA, 1999, para.8).
National Communication Association. (1999). NCA Credo for Ethical Communication. Retrieved September 2015 from: https://www.natcom.org/uploadedFiles/About_NCA/Leadership_and_Governance/Public_Policy_Platform/PDF-PolicyPlatform-NCA_Credo_for_Ethical_Communication.pdf