Sunday, October 22, 2006

New Progressive Alliance

A New Progressive Alliance

A Call for Unity between Secular, Spiritual, and Religious Progressives

June 3, 2006

Realizing that our shared commitment to human rights, religious freedom, and peace and social justice, significantly outweighs our differences; we the undersigned, comprised of both secular and religious progressives, declare an alliance between progressive, rational-minded people regardless of one’s spiritual, religious, or secular perspective.

While our beliefs about the existence of God may differ, progressive Americans share a common tradition of humanism dating back to at least the Renaissance. Many spiritual and religious thinkers have significantly contributed to the advancement of doubt, free thinking, and the sciences, laying the ground work for the Enlightenment and modernity. There is no “cultural war” dividing us.

While we make no apologies for the beliefs that have helped to shape our character, we acknowledge that neither faith in God nor atheism suffices to define one’s ethical character. We maintain that the character of a human being can only be defined and evaluated on the basis of one’s actions.

We agree that fanaticism, be it religious or secular, is the true enemy of reason and of human progress.

We therefore formally reject the proposition that one cannot be both religious and rational. And we patently reject the notion that people of faith are incapable of respecting modern science and evolution.

We equally reject the point of view that implies one must believe in God or hold a specific religious belief in order to be valued as a moral/ethical being.

We call upon our movements to unite for the betterment of our society and to reject the enmity of pundits who have made their careers out of promoting intolerance and hatred.

We affirm the plurality of our nation and the importance of maintaining the wall of separation between civic and religious authorities in order to preserve the democratic principle of freedom of and from religion.

Our nation has been carved into a maze of horrors: torture, war, poverty, gross spending on warfare, corruption, religious fanaticism, sexism, homophobia, bigotry and intolerance. Progressive people both with and without religious faith must work together if we are to correct these injustices.

We, the undersigned, agree that given our nation’s many ethical and societal challenges, secular, spiritual and religious progressives must set aside their differences to work together to create a better world.

To view the signatures, please visit their website.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Not abortion again...

Campaigns Wikia has a mailing list, and we broke into an abortion discussion today. Temporary, I hope. Here's my position today:

Doesn't the Bible teach that life begins at the first breath? Isn't
part of the mythology that Mary had to decide whether or not to end
her pregnancy? Or at least whether Joseph would stay with Mary until
the child was born?

If it is against the Western tradition to "kill babies" or (my
addition) allow them to be killed, why don't our laws require that all
children receive free health care paid for by the community from the
moment of conception to the moment of natural death? Why aren't we do
everything in our power to prevent abortions by teaching our teenagers
about birth control along side the "just say no" concept that is
failing us so badly?

I'll tell you why. Because the Catholic Church teaches that we will
pay for our sins in some future eternity, and that any suffering that
we have to endure in this life is insignificant. The same mentality
teaches radical Muslims that their reward in a future life will be
beyond their imagination if they create suffering for their enemies in
this life.

It's a lie. It's a tool used to encourage the domination of the many
under the hand of the few. It's a justification used to force people
to tolerate the intolerable, to allow the inexcusable and to
accomplish the unthinkable.

We have one world. This one. We have one life to have an influence
over. This one. The Bible tells us to be "fruitful and multiply".
It does not tell us to be fruitful and multiply to the point that our
population numbers make life unbearable and unsustainable. G-d set
the rules of the game, and has granted us with free will to play the
game. If we destroy the game board, G-d is not going to save us. He
will wait a few million years and try again with a new species. He
has all the time in the Universe. We don't.

I will agree to a 100% ban on abortions when we have completely
eliminated unwanted pregnancy from the earth. If we could work
together, we could do both. Big "IF", isn't it.