Perhaps one of the most striking images of communities coming together for a common cause happens every year in Washington DC at the March for Life. In the National Review’s report on the 2017 March, it was reported that, “The March for Life has always been a highly inclusive event, with Feminists for Life and Atheists Against Abortion standing shoulder to shoulder with Catholic priests and nuns, Protestant ministers, and rabbis.”
I wrote about Christians and Muslims uniting behind religious liberty on Wednesday, and we can see a similar coming together of divergent communities here. All of these groups have radically different views on a variety of different issues. There are times when these groups would be standing on opposite sides of the stage in a debate, but because there is an element of common ground in their support of pro-life causes, they were willing to come together for the common good.
Also, notice that this event meets the first two criteria I suggested for building successful community. Obviously, these people are willing to march side-by-side with each other. The atheists don’t think that the Jewish people shouldn’t be marching beside them for example. It is obvious that all of these communities recognize each other as valuable members of the alliance. If they did not affirm each other’s inherent value as human beings, they would not be willing to ally with each other and work together.
Secondly, it is obvious that members of these communities were identifiably different. When you see a nun and a Rabbi marching side-by-side, the differences are going to be rather clear. They did not surrender their unique identities to be part of this march. Rather, they displayed their differences openly and honestly. The March for Life does not pretend to be a march of identical people who believe everything. Rather, they are actually proud of the diverse coalition that makes up their movement.
From the national website directly, “The mission of the March for Life is to provide all Americans with a place to testify to the beauty of life and the dignity of each human person.”
They don’t say that this is only a movement for 25-year-old women from Tucson, Arizona who drive convertibles. This is a group for all Americans who are committed to the pro-life cause, period.
Now, let me take this a step further though. Obviously there are a lot of people who are pro-choice. They would disagree with many or many other members of the pro-life movement. Clearly, that is not an issue where we can come together. However, perhaps some of these pro-choice people are for religious liberty as I am. Maybe that will be an issue where, even though we disagree about abortion, we might be able to come together and work towards a common good that we both agree on such as religious liberty.
It is not easy to come together with people who are different than us, but I hope that in this short series on community has been of some use and provided you with some hope. There are examples of people who are different working together for the common good. It is all built upon three very important keys:
1. Recognize inherent human value.
2. Recognizing differences of opinion.
3. Come together where we can