The Conversation is Changing, Part 1

There are two important ways the religious conversation in America is changing and needs to keep changing.
First, we need changes in the way we address our points of controversy and conflict. Two cases in point:
Abortion – thirty-plus years of pro-life versus pro-choice debate have gotten us nowhere. Nothing has changed. Polarization paralyzes, and that’s worse than a stalemate, because huge amounts of money, energy, and loyalty have been expended that could have been invested more profitably differently or elsewhere. So now, the conversation is shifting from abortion criminalization to abortion reduction. That, to me, is an encouraging sign. People can be both against abortion and against criminalization, and they can be both for choice and for reduction. The old, hard-bitten categories may soon be identified as part of the problem. Where can this shift in conversation lead?
Homosexuality – the conversation is shifting from how laws can be used to marginalize, shame, disadvantage, and otherwise express disapproval of homosexuality (or the opposite) to how gay and lesbian people – who probably make up about six or seven percent of the population, and always have, and always will (estimates range from three to ten percent)– should be treated in a civil society, and how people who disagree on the issue of gay marriage can avoid polarizing, paralyzing discourse that goes nowhere constructive. I anticipate (thinking of Melissa Etheridge’s beautiful insights on the subject) that the conversation will continue to shift to how the glbt and straight communities can work together for the common good in critical areas of peace, poverty, and care for our planet.
But there’s another way the conversation is shifting, and it is probably even more important. (stay tuned)

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