My friend, the writer Kevin Roose, just started a project where he's trying to build a bunch of little brid ges across the red-blue/atheism-religion culture gap. Not a grand Roebling-style bridge. Just a few small foot bridges. But it's a start.
To back up, I met Kevin when I was writing a book about following all the hundreds of rules in the Old Testament. During my project, I was looking for a way to address the thorny issue of biblical slavery, because certain parts of the Scriptures seem to condone the practice. The closest thing to a legal slave in the Tri-State area? An intern. It fulfills the "unpaid labor" part of the definition, at least. So I hired Kevin - then an 18-year-old freshman at Brown University - as my intern/slave for a summer. He did research. He sold my possessions on eBay for me. He baked me a delicious loaf of Ezekiel bread.
Kevin also came with me on a research trip to Jerry Falwell's church in Lynchburg, Virginia. When we got back to New York, Kevin had an idea: What if he transferred from ultra-lefty Brown University to ultra-righty Jerry Falwell's Liberty University for a semester, and wrote about the experience? Read the rest “Can a book about Jerry Falwell bring people together?”