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But he thinks Asheville's experiment in détente could be a model for any community to follow. He knows there will always be people who think it is wrong even to talk with people they disagree with. The hard-core "Culture-War Christians," he says, "have no interest in finding common ground. Their constituencies don't like it; they won't send in any more money." But that doesn't mean the conversation about all these issues of mind and heart and body are fated to be reduced to a fund-raising tool or political weapon. "The good news is that the Culture-War Christian can actually change because God is alive and can change the heart," Hutchinson says. "I know it. Because I was a Culture-War Christian once myself."
Once you've come to know your adversaries personally, once the cartoon villains are brushed away, the conversation becomes more complicated--and more useful. "When we talk, we really have to examine our own beliefs and why we do what we do," Lorrie says. "Abortion is a reality. For me, I feel it can be a lifesaving choice for a woman. But decreasing abortion is a goal we all strive for." As for Hutchinson, "I still keep the 'choice' of abortion off the menu. But I hadn't thought through how difficult a choice it is. I'd been pretty simplistic. I just think a lot more about the pregnant woman herself now than I had before." On issues of such weight, making the questions harder for people is the first step toward finding some answers.