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Seeing Both Sides

Reaching the Left from the Right tells conservative evangelicals how to build bridges.
2007This article is part of CT's digital archives. Subscribers have access to all current and past issues, dating back to 1956.

Any serious social movement has its generals, foot soldiers, and media hounds. The healthiest movements, however, also have bridge-builders. Barbara Curtis, a mother of 12 and an author, writes that she spent 20 years on the cultural Left. She draws from those years to help conservative evangelicals understand their counterparts in the culture wars.

Curtis offers stirring examples of people on the Left who defy the stereotypes, such as heavily tattooed Goth parents who show tenderness toward their daughter during a screening of Toy Story II and a pair of lesbians in their 50s who adopt multiple children.

Curtis also offers many commonsense approaches to meeting would-be enemies first as fellow human beings. Rather than simply complaining about the blandness of a "winter holiday" choir concert at a school, for instance, Curtis takes up the matter with the school principal and then with the choir director.

She and her husband now make appointments with choir directors well before the holidays. "Once we've informed a teacher, we don't have to go back the next year," she writes. "Actually, the teacher is usually quite happy to find out that sacred music is legal, because as a music teacher he or she knows religious music is usually far superior to secular music."

Related Elsewhere:

Reaching the Left from the Right is available from and other retailers.

Barbara Curtis has a blog with her advice on family and culture.

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