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The Conservative Humanist

Those who are pro-life and pro-family should have no problem being pro-human.

This year, CT is posing a single big question—How can followers of Christ be a counterculture for the common good?—to leaders inside and outside evangelical Christianity. Glenn T. Stanton is one of the insiders: He serves one of evangelicalism's iconic institutions, Focus on the Family, as director of global insights and trends, and lives in Colorado Springs, a center of conservative Christianity. But Glenn is often found outside these familiar environments. He has debated the issue of gay marriage with activists on college campuses across the country, participating in exchanges that model both civility and principled disagreement. He had a major role in the 1997 PBS documentary Affluenza, documenting the creeping influence of consumer culture on American families. While one of his recent books is an unflinching defense of biblical norms of marriage (Marriage on Trial, InterVarsity Press), another is a celebration of the foibles of My Crazy, Imperfect Christian Family (NavPress). So it's not surprising that his answer to our question embraces one of conservative Christianity's least favorite words—humanism.

I have been a lifelong enlistee in the curious thing called the culture war. Both my convictions and my life's work have planted me squarely in the so-called Religious Right. But only recently have I begun to think of myself as a humanist.

My teen years spanned the turbulent and uncertain 1970s. It was during those years that my mother started volunteering for one of the first crisis pregnancy centers in the country. The literature she brought home, as they say, rocked my world. No one needed to explain to me what I saw in the images there or what I should think about it.

I was haunted by the images of mutilated ...

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April 2006

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