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10 July 2005 @ 07:45 pm
Understanding the other side  
Really for the past 15 years or so I've made an effort to understand conservatives--and conservative extremists. I've read their papers, watched their broadcasts, and now checked out their blogs. I really think both sides of our bitterly divided nation need to try to understand each other.

Lately I've stumbled upon the conservative Catholic blog of a television writer named Karen Hall, who is puzzled about why I'm there commenting. I've done my best to try to explain and also offered to stop commenting (but not to stop reading) if she'd prefer.

It's been giving me some insight into how conservative Catholics are uncomfortable with their progressive bishop in Los Angeles and feeling as if their services and values have been hijacked. They feel under siege by the new inclusiveness of things they believe are sinful, and the erosion of the parts of Catholic ritual they are deeply attached to. I wish their bishop would enter into a dialogue with them and find ways to have a service, at the very least, that would accomodate them--in Latin, perhaps. It seems that their parish is a microcosm reflecting the schism in our society. I genuinely wish we could find a way for everyone to find a medium between the extremes that we can all live with. I just don't know how possible it is.

For the last few years I've imagined having some public dialogues between liberals and conservatives for the simple purpose of fostering greater understanding of each others' viewpoints. All we get these days are tv soundbites of distortions of each others' views. I felt the first step is to genuinely understand each other. Then perhaps we can move on to find workable compromises on some of the issues of our day. We certainly will never reach that point when we only distort the others' views and resort to hyperbole and outright lies.

If anyone would like to read our latest dialogue in comments, here's the url:


For my liberal readers, what are the top ten things you wish that religious conservatives understood about liberals' stance on issues?

I'll come up with my own top ten sometime soon.
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