Finding the balance between individual freedoms and actions society should endorse is often controversial in today’s culture, particularly in issues of sexuality, said Lloyd Harsch, director of an upcoming forum to promote conversation between opposing viewpoints.
“Rights and Sexuality: where individual freedoms and civil rights meet” is Sept. 26, 7 p.m. at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, 3939 Gentilly Blvd. in New Orleans. Featured speakers include Tony Campolo, noted author and professor emeritus of Eastern University; SarahJane Guidry, of Louisiana’s Forum for Equality; Travis Weber, Family Research Council; and ethicist and political scientist Craig V. Mitchell.
The event is sponsored by the NOBTS Institute for Faith and the Public Square. Pre-registration is $15 with a $10 per person admission for groups of 10 or more. Special rates of $10 for pastors and $5 for students are available. Prices increase by $5 at the door.
Harsch said in today’s increasingly polarized world, people of differing views tend to either “huddle together” with like-minded people or “shout at or talk past” those of differing views in order to make political points.
“The Institute for Faith and the Public Square wants to change that dynamic,” Harsch said. “We want to create an environment where difficult issues can be discussed in a reasoned atmosphere.”
Harsch said common ground can be found though forum speakers represent both the religious and political left and right. Harsch recounted a remark made by an attendee of a previous forum who expressed surprise at finding points of agreement with a more conservative viewpoint.
“It is only when we listen to each other that we can discover those surprising places where we have common ground,” Harsch said.
Campolo, sociologist and author, provides leadership for the progressive Christian movement, Red Letter Christians, and the Campolo Center for Ministry. Guidry is the executive director of the Forum for Equality, a Louisiana LGBT human rights advocacy organization.
Weber, director of the Family Research Council’s Center for Religious Liberty, advocates for religious freedom on national and international issues in a variety of public forums. Mitchell, a Christian philosopher and economist, is a senior fellow for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation and a former research fellow for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Harsch said the forum hopes to benefits the community by providing a forum in which ideas are respectfully discussed. To register and for information, visit www.faith-publicsquare.org.
Marilyn Stewart writes occasional community news stories about New Orleans for NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune.