Abilene Christian University Press
Six politically diverse evangelical Christians model a better way to do politics: respectful conversation about twelve public policy issues that uncover common ground and illuminate remaining disagreements.
Current political discourse is broken, characterized by nasty sound bytes, demonizing the opposition, and holding to fixed positions that resist the discovery of the common ground needed for governing. In this volume six evangelical Christians model a better way, informed by the belief that the call of Christians to love their neighbors should create a welcoming space for persons to talk respectfully about their disagreements.
Harold Heie affirms the very unfashionable notion that when Christian believers actually talk with one another, good things are possible. Amazingly, he also holds that such a hopelessly old fashioned idea should apply to political differences. For readers who long for such old fashioned and unfashionable respect, dialogue, listening, and learning, this book shows the way. It holds out one more almost unimaginable prospect: that Christian approaches to politics might live up to what the founder of Christianity modeled and in so doing contribute much-needed light and salt to the public square.
--Mark A. Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History, University of Notre Dame
Harold Heie has rendered invaluable service to evangelicalism, the church, and society by providing a model for sustained and constructive discourse among people from all points on the political spectrum. Evangelicals and non-evangelicals alike will be surprised by the diversity of evangelical views, but all of us will learn and benefit from the comity exhibited in these pages.
--Randall Balmer, Mandel Family Professor in the Arts & Sciences, Dartmouth College, Author of "The Making of Evangelicalism"
Time to tune out the histrionics of modern political discourse and tune in to this conversation! From the outset, this fine volume seeks to model responsible civil discourse, which is a duty of every citizen in a political community. While the contributors hold diverse views, Harold Heie skillfully guides the "Alternative Political Conversation" to identify areas of agreement. Readers will be encouraged by the sustained and principled commitment to address the remaining differences, leading to responsible action for the sake of the common good.
--Stephanie Summers, CEO, Center for Public Justice
Political discourse today all too often exhibits a general lack of respect, as political conversations degenerate into name-calling, distortions of the positions adopted by one’s political opponents, and the outright dismissal of any merits associated with the proposals of those adopting different positions other than one’s own. However, here at last, we see modeled serious political engagement. Though their perspectives and positions may differ, here proponents of different policy positions take the opposing perspectives of others seriously and respond courteously. Hopefully, this effort at political reflection and discussion can begin to encourage others, including evangelical Christians, to engage in deeper and more respectful political reflection and conversation.
--Corwin E. Smidt, Research Fellow, the Paul B. Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics, Calvin College
Lots of people talk about “dialogue” in a pious way, but what they actually have in mind is a staged event that proceeds to the right conclusion (theirs). Harold Heie, like Michael Oakeshott, genuinely believes in conversation for its own sake. I’m grateful to Harold and the contributors to this volume for reminding us all that real conversation is indeed possible—and worth the effort it requires.
--John Wilson, Editor, Books & Culture