While the first step of building a community is recognizing the inherent human value of all people, then the second step needs to be a recognition that we are going to have different perspectives on different issues.
All of you probably know if you have read this website very much that I am very pro-life and am strongly opposed to abortion. I recognize that a lot of people are pro-choice. I think these people are wrong, and they think I am wrong. That’s just the way it is. Similarly, we’re both going to advocate for governmental policies that reflect our own opinions. I do believe that there needs to be more restrictions on abortions while pro-choice individuals would argue for less restrictions on abortion. Again, that is just the way it is.
Now, we think back to my first suggestion for community building on Monday. I do believe that all pro-choice advocates have inherent value as human beings; I do not believe that any individual belief can take away that inherent value. I do think that pro-choice advocates are tragically wrong in their thinking, and I am happy to have a debate or discussion about why I think their position is wrong. However, no matter how much I disagree with them, I cannot lose that first concept that all people have value.
Consequently, I now find myself in a situation where I have these people who I believe are indeed valuable, but I can’t convince them to see the issue of life in this example from my perspective and think they are blatantly wrong. Now I have a difficult task. I have to accept that my community is inevitably going to have people who disagree with me on sometimes major issues that I take very seriously.
Do I have to automatically affirm that the other side is right? Obviously not. Just like I have to accept that people are different for me, other people have to accept that I am different from them. This brings to mind a quote from John Stuart Mill,
This is then step two. We need to affirm that all people are valuable, and we also need to affirm that people are free to hold opinions that may be different from our own. Beyond that, people are free to voice their opinions and attempt to make change. This entire website is built upon the premise that in the marketplace of ideas, the best ideas are going to ultimately rise to the top. That’s why I’m not afraid to discuss Christianity in the public square. I believe that it can withstand the scrutiny that people want to bring to it. I am entirely interested in discussing issues, and I think that it is something that we ought not suppress as suggested by Mill. If you have ever had a Facebook discussion with me, you know I am certainly willing to debate and talk about ideas.
Our community is beginning to take a rather nice shape. We now have a community where people affirm the innate value of other people and respect their freedom of opinion and freedom to disagreement. At the very least, there is a baseline recognition that we don’t have to hate those we disagree with. We don’t have to label those we disagree with as a basket of deplorables. Instead, I think this model is a little bit better.
On Friday, we have one more important step for our community.
 John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (New York: Walter Scott Publishing, 1859), 19-20, Kindle Edition.