A journey of a dozen blocks begins with a single step—in my case, stepping into the front seat of a cab on the Harvard campus while Gloria Steinem stepped into the back. My eyes were still red from crying. How I got there is another story.

Last October, Harvard Divinity School and the John F. Kennedy School of Government co-sponsored a conference titled "Core Connections: Women, Religion, and Public Policy." Admirably, the conference's organizers tried to include in the mix women that don't usually get invited to such shindigs, such as evangelical Christians. To recruit these attendees, Ambassador Swanee Hunt, director of the Women and Public Policy Program at the JFK School, enlisted the help of her sister, June Hunt, evangelical author and host of the Hope for the Heart radio broadcast. A third sister, Helen Hunt, director of the Sisters Fund (not the actress), provided funding for the conference.

During the conference, the two dozen evangelical women who attended would meet in the hallways and over coffee to chat. Yes, we seemed to constitute only about ten percent of the participants. Yes, the plenary and panel speakers were heavily weighted toward a perspective different from our own. Yes, reflexive disdain for evangelicals kept popping up during question-and-answer periods, so much so that none of us felt comfortable getting into the question lines.

Nevertheless, we could tell the organizers and other participants were trying. There was a genuine desire to broaden their awareness of the range of political and religious viewpoints women bear. Most slights were not intentional, but more in the nature of oversights—simple unfamiliarity with others' beliefs. All in all, it was good to be there.

Friday night I participated ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.