In the Christmas season, lights play a prominent role. During the entire year it is on us Christians to be light for the world. We become lights by our life and love. We also become lights by speaking up for the truth. Especially when truth seems to be hidden.
Europe for Christ! has gathered many thousands of Christians in Europe. Over the last two years we compiled easily-read explanatory texts on crucial issues of today. These are still up-to-date and available for all in our archive.
We now encourage you to take Christian insights to the world by being present on the public square. You can do so by writing a letter to the editor, a letter to a politician, by online presence, as well as by targeting civil society. In the following months, we will send concise instructions of how to do one or the other. Hopefully, you will find these texts helpful and inspiring.
In some European countries, the Christmas season is accompanied by a banning of Christian symbols: Christmas trees and Christmas motives are often substituted by ‘seasonal’ signs in certain places. And, is it still ok to wish a ‘merry Christmas’?
If this is an issue in your country, maybe you would want to write a letter to the editor on that? Some thoughts on Christian symbolism you find on this link.
Your Europe for Christ! Team
PS: Don’t forget the daily Our Father for a Europe embedded in Christian Values
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How to Write a Letter to the Editor
Letters to the Editor are one of the most widely read parts of a newspaper. They are a quick and effective means of communicating a message to a wide audience. They are understood to speak on behalf of a large proportion of society.
Letters to the editor can raise awareness of a problem and might convince many readers. They are also a tool to correct or clarify facts, or to oppose or support government actions. Letters to the Editor have a strong output – for an input of twenty minutes of your time.
Besides a letter to the editor, write to journalists on a personal basis as well: Congratulate them to a courageous well-written article in support of Christian causes. Inform them personally in a friendly way if you disagree or if they made apparent mistakes.
Newspapers rarely publish letters about topics that are not or no longer being covered in the news. Referring to a previously published article or column will increase your letter's chances of being published.
KEEP IT SHORT-SHORT-SHORT!
Naturally, there are length limits (look at other letters for comparison). If your letter is too long, the editor might cut out what he thinks isn’t necessary. Also, the shorter it is, the more likely it will be read.
EMPLOY A CLEAR STRUCTURE!
State first: What do you relate to; Then: What you concede to; Then: Where you deviate and why.
Refer to any newspaper article or editorial by date and title. Editors prefer to print letters that respond to a specific article. State clearly where you are going: "I strongly disagree with member of parliament soandso’s position on thisandthat because…"
KEEP IT FOCUSSED!
State your position as succinctly as possible without eliminating necessary detail. Long rambling sentences and digressions will cause people to lose interest quickly. Stick to one subject or point.
USE ACCEPTABLE ARGUMENTS!
When you think up your arguments, have the audience in a clear view. For a non-Christian or mixed audience, do not use faith arguments but argue from reason and experience. Also, do not simply restate previous points of view. Readers want quick, insightful thoughts and new perspectives.
FIND AN ATTRACTIVE BEGINNING!
An interesting title and first sentence will attract readers who only skim through the paper.
FIND A PERSONAL ANGLE!
Readers are more interested in an issue when they see how it affects their lives and communities. Also, personal notes (how this affects me) give credibility.
BE HUMOROUS, if possible!
If the topic permits it, be a bit humorous or even ironic. When you can make people smile they are more prone to accept your arguments.
Do not assume that your readers are informed on your topic. Give a concise but informative background before plunging into the main issue.
STAY CHRISTIAN IN YOUR WRITING!
Ensure that your style and content shows the compassion and care expected from a Christian. Maintain your composure - it is okay to express outrage, but it should be kept under control. Avoid personal attacks and focus instead on criticizing specific policies or ideas.
PROVIDE YOUR CONTACT INFO!
Include your full name, address, phone number and occupation at the bottom of the letter. Often newspapers want this information so they can verify that you wrote the letter. Most newspapers will not publish your letter without this information, but when printed, will only include your name and city.
SEND YOUR LETTER ONLY TO ONE PAPER!
Do not send the same letter to more than one paper in the same circulation area. A form letter sent to papers in different markets should look like an original and all letters should be sent individually.
DON'T FORGET THE SMALLER NEWSPAPERS!
Smaller local papers are more likely to print your letter. This can spark local interest and suggest specific community action.
CC: RELEVANT POLITICIAN(S)!
If it's relevant, cc: the letter to politicians who work on your issue. You will probably find their email addresses by entering their name and the @ in your search engine or by checking the politician’s website.