An exercise in civility

To speak and be heard

Here is a nightmare for those who hate conflict: take a not very large or airy room in Washington, D.C., and jam it full of tables and microphones, chairs and cameras. Put a document on the table to test at a "public airing." Now invite to the table representatives of groups who are rarely in the same room together. Tell these antagonists that you would like them to talk about four issues that divide Americans, especially religious Americans: reproductive rights (which, to no one's surprise, quickly gets reduced to abortion); the rights of homosexuals; world population; and church and state.

 

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