Today, however, there are many coming together who consider themselves to be centrists. I consider myself to be a part of this group. We reject the divisive "culture war" mentality, which seeks to demonize and destroy rather than listen and learn. We want to see a unified America made up of people who must sometimes lovingly disagree, but who seek to build bridges of common ground when possible. It was out of this spirit that I met with others yesterday to release the "Come Let Us Reason Together" governing agenda.
This agenda puts forth solutions to some of our country's most pressing issues, and it has been affirmed by many evangelicals and progressives alike. There are four policy points outlined:
1. The abolition of torture. Americans must employ the Golden Rule and never compromise human dignity... starting now!
2. Abortion reduction. While we must still advocate for the abolition of abortion, in the meantime, we can join with pro-choice advocates to employ proven strategies to reduce the number of abortions occurring. This includes supporting pregnant women and new families, providing comprehensive sexual education with an abstinence emphasis and contraception for low-income women, and supporting adoption.
3. Immigration reform. We must secure our borders ... period. But, we must also abide by the biblical mandate to love the stranger and the "least of these." We need to provide an earned path to citizenship for many who are already in this country and keep families together.
4. Employment rights for gays and lesbians. While the Bible clearly teaches that heterosexuality is God's ideal, the Church is rarely if ever exercising our obligation to love our gay and lesbian neighbors. No American should be denied the right to earn a living, but this MUST include an exemption for churches and religious organizations.
This comprehensive governing agenda was released yesterday, and was signed by many progressive and evangelical leaders. I joined others (including Sam Rodriguez, Joel Hunter, David Gushee and Tyler Wigg-Stevenson) in DC for a press conference, a meeting with members of Congress, and a meeting with the Obama Transition Team. It was covered by many news outlets including the following stories:
Associated Baptist Press: Liberals, evangelicals call for common ground agenda on abortion sexuality
U.S. News and World Report: Liberals and evangelicals unite to advise Obama
Washington Post's On Faith: Christians Find Common Ground on Abortion, Gay Rights
Hear me clearly: The culture wars must come to an end. The divisiveness produced by people of faith must be rejected. The common good must be pursued through cooperation between people of mutual goodwill. And when we disagree due to deeply held convictions, we must do so with humility, grace and love.