Some Christians seem to feel the need to proclaim their faith in a slogan on a bumper sticker, a fish sign on their business card, a tattoo of a Scripture verse on their body, or “In God We Trust” on their license plate. I’m not opposed to such displays — provided they are sincere expressions of one’s belief and not an attempt to gain someone’s business and aren’t rendered patently hypocritical by one’s personal conduct.

However, my fervent hope would be that, by the love we show everyone, the calm and peaceful demeanor with which we carry on in the world, and our ethical behavior, those whom we meet would at least suspect that we are Christians without our having to spell it out.

In the chaotic, everyone-for-oneself world in which we live, I know that is a constant challenge. However, I have a specific and quite serious suggestion to make if you want to maintain the kind of equilibrium and calm demeanor over the next few months that will set you apart from the crowd and show your Christian spirit. TURN OFF THE TELEVISION!

Between now and November 6 the airwaves will be filled with vile accusations, patent lies, selective half-truths, thinly veiled innuendos, and a complete lack of civility unrelieved by any displays of decorum, admission of personal failing or vulnerability, and a pandering to the worst instincts of the public. And if you want to talk about this in private I’ll tell you how I really feel!

And exposure to this sewer of vitriol that passes for political discourse is bound to have an effect on even the most rational and gentle of us. The only way to avoid that exposure — and thereby maintain one’s Christian spirit — is to turn off the television (at least the local stations), skip over the ads in the newspaper (if you even read the newspaper any more), and refuse to open any emails that come from a candidate or a political action committee.

Please understand that this is not advocacy for absence from the political process. Christians have as much responsibility to be involved in our democracy as anyone. We should be as informed on the issues and on the stands of those running for office as possible. But you can get that by going to the candidates’ websites and reading their platforms. You won’t get it from listening to the claims of their advertisements about how bad the other guy is. And you certainly won’t get it from material broadcast by political action committees that claim not to represent a particular candidate, but who are intent on smearing the opposition without the financial restraints placed on the ones running for office.

The level of disrespect and incivility is not new. Campaigns over the last two and a half centuries in the United States have often been mean-spirited and untruthful. What is different now is the pervasiveness of political ads made possible by our omnipresent media, exacerbated by the deep political divisions in the electorate. That doesn’t mean that we should sink into the mire.

Christians should be better than that.