The Pro-Truth Pledge is a statement which reflects many people’s frustration with the types of public debate which have become increasingly common in recent decades. Across the spectrum of views, political and otherwise, there has often appeared to be a diminished regard for truth, objective research, reason, and fairness.
The Pro-Truth Pledge comes from a secular source, but we recognise its helpfulness. As Christians, we of all people must be deeply committed to speaking with a deep regard for truth. The pledge has been brought to the attention of NZCN through our former national director, Glyn Carpenter, who has also suggested some appropriate additional clauses.
The background to the Pro-Truth Pledge can be found in a book by Gleb Tsipursky and Tim Ward (PROTRUTH: A Practical Plan for Putting Truth back into Politics. Changemakers Books: Winchester UK, 2020).
I Pledge My Earnest Efforts To:
- VERIFY: fact-check information to confirm it is true before accepting and sharing it
- BALANCE: share the whole truth, even if some aspects do not support my opinion
- CITE: share my sources so that others can verify my information
- CLARIFY: distinguish between my opinion and the facts
- ACKNOWLEDGE: acknowledge when others share true information, even when we disagree otherwise
- REEVALUATE: reevaluate if my information is challenged, retract it if I cannot verify it
- DEFEND: defend others when they come under attack for sharing true information, even when we disagree otherwise
- ALIGN: align my opinions and my actions with true information
- FIX: ask people to retract information that reliable sources have disproved even if they are my allies
- EDUCATE: compassionately inform those around me to stop using unreliable sources even if these sources support my opinion
- DEFER: recognize the opinions of experts as more likely to be accurate when the facts are disputed
- CELEBRATE: celebrate those who retract incorrect statements and update their beliefs toward the truth
In addition I will…
- RESPECT: respect people; refrain from speaking about any person in a way which undermines their dignity as a human being
- FOCUS: focus on debating issues not attacking people (even indirectly); avoid personalising matters
- SEEK: look for the good in people and in their arguments; seek to build bridges not walls or trenches
- UPLIFT: speak in such a way as to build people up not tear down; not retaliate when personally attacked