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Face it. Culture warriors get battle fatigue. That's why organizations that energize the culture wars on both ends of the spectrum use inflammatory rhetoric and constantly search for fresh sources of outrage.

A new statement from the group informally known as ECT (for "Evangelicals and Catholics Together") offers a decided contrast to this culture-wars-on-amphetamines approach. In "That They May Have Life," ECT calls us to renew our commitment to the "culture of life," without "resign[ing] ourselves to unremitting warfare." While "many despair of finding any commonalities by which warfare can be replaced, or at least tempered, by civil discourse," the statement's authors write, "we refuse to join in that despair."

They write of "our common humanity" and the fact that we share with those who hold opposing worldviews "a God-given capacity to reason, to argue, to deliberate, to persuade, and to discover moral truths regarding questions related to the right ordering of our life together." Come now, let us reason together.

This statement will not likely persuade its political and social opponents. But to the extent that the document is primarily addressed to culture-of-life Christians, it may help some of us change our tone and become both more persuasive and more patient.

The Unbreakable Connection

Here's the key idea of the new ECT appeal: "[I]t is of the utmost importance that everyone involved in the public discussion of these questions understand the unbreakable connection between a Christian worldview and the defense of human life."

That statement has two dimensions. First, the ECT statement argues, life issues are inherently public and cannot be relegated to some safely private religious realm. Second, it argues that to be a ...

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In the Magazine

October 2006

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