Politics – A Five-Point Agenda
Sacred Values: Peace, Community, Family
For us, the sacred is embodied in the living systems of the earth and the human community. We see all things as interconnected and interrelated, and these values inform all our political stands.
None of these values can be implemented without peace. War destroys human lives and environmental integrity. It devastates economies, wastes our precious resources, and blights lives. We support efforts to bring about peaceful resolutions of conflicts, and oppose the glorification of militarism and the use of enormous resources to support military endeavors.
Our communities and families are important to us. We support a broad definition of family, one that honors the diversity of our cultures and life choices.
Because children are the next generation, and because they are vulnerable physically, emotionally and economically, government has a special responsibility to assure the well-being of children regardless of the economic status of their parents. We favor programs that support families in all the diverse forms they take.
We place a high value on human ingenuity, creativity, intelligence and intuition.
The education of children is the responsibility of the broader community, not of biological parents alone. We recognize that we all benefit when the next generation is well-educated. We support quality public education for children that encourages their creativity and empowerment, and programs such as school lunches that ensure their well being and further their capacity to learn. We support higher education that is available to all who want it.
Our elders are also important to us. In them, the history, experience and wisdom of our communities live. We support to right of every person to age in dignity, to continue to contribute to society, and to know that their basic economic and health needs will be provided for.
We see mutually pleasurable erotic expression in all its diverse forms as a sacred act. We believe all people, including and especially young people, have the right to information about sexuality, health, and sexual responsibility.
Freedom of religion is an inherent right of all people. We strongly support the separation of church and state, but also recognize that political discussion necessarily contains an element of the sacred. However, we oppose attempts to restrict freedom and self-determination according to religious strictures that we do not hold.
We recognize that political decisions are made out of our deep sense of what we most value. We also recognize that many different value systems confront each other in the political arena. We do not want to legislate our values or impose them on those whose spiritual traditions differ from ours–but we do uphold our right to have our values considered on an equal footing with those of other traditions. We welcome and encourage dialogue with people whose views differ from ours, and we respect the core of sacred being in those whose views oppose ours.
We encourage the building of alliances across the barriers of difference.
(Some related issues: religious freedom, economic safety nets, funding of education, student loans, etc., control of local school boards, anti-censorship, AIDS education, no prayer in school, etc.)
We embrace diversity as a positive good–we see a multiplicity of genders, races, cultures, languages, sexual orientations and lifestyles as integral to our country’s strength and central to our common heritage.
We understand the vital importance of biological diversity and the need for preservation of species and habitats.
We support education that includes many viewpoints and heritages and teaches respect for differences.
We know that historically many groups of people have been kept from access to political power and economic opportunity, that these division are built into the very structure of our institutions, and that their legacy of inequality is still with us. We support equal access to resources and decision-making power for all people. We oppose prejudice in all its forms: sexism, racism, heterosexism, anti-Semitism, classism, able-ism, ageism, etc.
(Some relevant issues might be: support for multicultural education, Lesbian, Gay, bisexual and transgender rights, access for the disabled, affirmative action programs that increase diversity within organizations and redress historical inequality, habitat preservation laws, laws protecting endangered species, support for family farms and agricultural diversity, etc.)
We stand for the right of all people to have a voice in decisions that affect them, the right of individuals to make free and informed choices regarding their bodies, their sexuality, their powers of reproduction, and their manner of life. We recognize violence, sexual violence, abuse and incest as systemic violations of these rights.
We see the debate around abortion as a question of the sacred, and uphold strongly a woman’s right to act out of her own deepest values.
We recognize the right of the terminally ill to choose to end their suffering and receive medical help and assistance in doing so. We also recognize the right of medical personnel to choose not to participate in acts that contradict their own values.
Economic violence also functions as a form of coercion. All people have a right to meet their basic needs of survival, and to determine the manner in which they will work to meet those needs.
We support the right of all peoples to preserve their cultures, lands, heritage, and dignity, and to secure conditions which make possible sustainable and long- lasting communities.
Human beings have a right to free expression and free exchange of information. We oppose censorship. We support the right of individuals and peoples to challenge authority and engage in political struggle to gain their rights.
We oppose coercion, force, threats, and torture, and refuse to subsidize or support institutions that function by instilling fear.
We recognize that individuals’ goals may conflict. The right to self-determination does not include the right to harm others. We favor negotiation and mediation whenever possible as ways to resolve conflict.
We oppose war as a means of settling differences, resolving conflicts, or furthering our ends as individuals or as nations.
(Issues: abortion, human rights issues, indigenous people’s land rights, prisoner’s rights, anti-violence campaigns, anti-intervention, community economic development, etc.)
We recognize that the interconnected life-systems of the earth, in all their diversity, have a right to be and an inherent value that goes beyond their usefulness for human ends.
We also recognize that human life and culture depends on the health of the ecosystems that sustain all life on earth, and that our understanding of their complex interrelationships is still embryonic.
Therefore, our prime concern must be the health of the environment, of the earth, the air, and the waters, and the diverse matrices of biological life.
Any government that allows the despoiling of its own lands has failed in its primary responsibility to its people. We support laws and programs that further environmental preservation, conservation, habitat restoration and healing. We oppose laws that allow the exploitation of the environment for the ends of individuals or small groups of people. We oppose programs that work toward the loss of biological diversity, or that allow individuals, institutions or corporations to claim ownership of a universal genetic and biological heritage.
We know that toxicity is unfairly distributed and is often foisted onto indigenous communities, communities of people of color and of poor people.
We work for environmental justice and for urban environments that can be safe, healthy and sustainable.
We support the creation of rural jobs in ways that work with the environment and can be sustained in the long run.
We support the absolute right of indigenous people to protect their sacred lands from despoiling and development.
We recognize that human beings have a right to live and to draw on the resources of the environment to create our livelihood.
We believe that this can and must be done in ways that are compassionate, sustainable and that further the overall quality of life.
We favor solution-oriented responses to environmental problems.
(Issues–environmental issues: clean air, clean water, endangered species, humane and sustainable agriculture, forestry, wilderness preservation, anti-nuclear issues, etc. opposition to gene-licensing and the patenting of life forms, toxic clean-up, urban ecology, food and health issues–pesticides, irradiation, food additives, cancer and environmental issues, alcohol, drug abuse and the promotion of smoking, etc. to young people and communities of color, infant mortality, etc.)
Human Needs and Social Justice
Human beings have a right to those things that make possible a fulfilling life: food, clothing, shelter, education, health care, and the opportunity for meaningful work, intimate relationships, and connection with future generations. A fulfilling life is not just a life of survival, but includes participation in the making of culture, of art, music, dance, and poetry, the freedom and time for spiritual development, and time for nourishing recreation and fun.
Government has a responsibility to use its power and resources to assure that each person has access to the means and opportunity to pursue a fulfilling life. Because great disparities of wealth and power exist, government has the right to redress inequalities. Citizens have a responsibility to care for each other, to assure the health of the whole community rather than protect the privilege of the few.
Misfortune comes to everyone in life. The cost of illness, disability, or natural disasters should not be borne by individuals alone but be shared among many.
(Issues: job creation, public education, health care, AIDS funding, arts funding, taxation–we would support taxes for education, health care, etc.)