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Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: I'm writing regarding "Open-Minded in the South" (Nov. 24), the Christian woman who's a supporter of the LGBTQ community. She's concerned about her boyfriend's mother's inability to see her viewpoint. I experienced something nearly identical.

Fast-forward 20 years: I get along with my in-laws fabulously. We don't agree on pretty much anything politically, but I do still voice my opinion if the family says something I don't agree with.

— BEEN THERE AND STILL THERE

DEAR BEEN THERE: My readers used "Open-Minded's" letter as an opportunity to have a forum about respect, love and civility. I found their comments both valid and refreshing. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: It is interesting that open-minded people are often open-minded only if you agree with them and are otherwise dogmatic. Neither party will convince the other that they are wrong. The solution: Don't talk about the problem issue.

We have a relative who holds office in a political party opposite ours. We have a tacit agreement to never talk politics. We get along great. Life is short. There's nothing more important than family and friends. Agree to disagree! — CALM IN KENTUCKY

DEAR ABBY: When people have an opposing point of view, it doesn't mean they hate you or are ignorant. Our culture is increasingly unable to engage in reasoned dialogue. Instead, people resort to shouting down reasonable thought and civil debate. My wife and I disagree over substantive issues, but we cope. Our society needs to work toward a renewal of civility. — NO HATE IN TEXAS

DEAR ABBY: BOTH women are entitled to their beliefs and opinions. It's commendable that they discussed their differences. Now the question is, "How do I respond to someone important in my life with whom I disagree?" The answer is RESPECT. Rather than demean each other, the women should choose to find some solid ground on which to build a relationship.

To advise "Open-Minded" to consider leaving her boyfriend because of his mother's beliefs shocked me. In my family there is an array of different views. We all know where we stand and steer clear of the bombshells. We have chosen to love each other, accept each other as is and be as close as we can despite our differences. It takes some work, but it's worth it. We have even been able to joke with one another in a good-natured way. THAT is love and respect at its best, and more of what our world could use today. — HAPPY IN KANSAS

DEAR READERS: I confess I wholeheartedly agree.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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