Critics Challenge National Association of Evangelicals' Abortion-Reduction Initiative's Funding
"We got caught up in the contraceptive controversy because of our stand with the Catholic Church," he said. "Somehow this spilled over to Generation Forum."
The NAE opposes sex outside of marriage between a man and woman, Anderson said, and partnering with an organization that encourages the use of birth control does not change that stance.
Evangelical young adults report having premarital sex and abortions at rates similar to the rest of the population, he said.
"Many of our churches and organizations either don't know what's happening or have chosen to keep silent about sex and abortions in the evangelical community," said Anderson. "Generation Forum was started to get the truth out [about sex and evangelicals]."
The forum, which has co-sponsored polls and coordinated authorship of a "Theology of Sex" booklet, will close down this year because it has accomplished its goal of creating tools for pastors to use in talking about sex, Anderson said.
Other evangelical groups are also seeking common-ground conversations on abortion. Last year Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, announced that Focus would expand its strategies and sit down with pro-choice groups to discuss how to reduce the number of abortions.
Earlier this year, LifeWay stores halted sales of a breast cancer awareness Bible after pro-life websites complained that proceeds went to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which has donated funds to Planned Parenthood.
Criticism from some Christian groups is likely to follow any attempt at middle-ground conversations, said Lyons, who tries to deal with controversial subjects in Q forums.
"We're in a pluralistic setting where we're working for the common good of our cities, for all Americans—not just for the Christians," Lyons said. "It's going to require working together with people who you don't 100 percent agree with."