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A Spiritual Covenant with America

from the Network of Spiritual Progressives

We stand for a world based on love and compassion, kindness and generosity, and ethical and ecological sensitivity, even though others will call us unrealistic for doing so. We will do our best to respond to other human beings as embodiments of the sacred and to the universe with gratitude, awe, and wonder. We do so in accord with the fundamental teachings of all religious, spiritual, and humanist traditions. Specifically:

1. We will strengthen American families not by blaming gays and lesbians, feminists, or liberals for weakening them, but rather by advocating for social changes that would strengthen them. These policies would include childcare, health care, living wages, and a commercial-free childhood, but would also explicitly challenge the dominant selfishness, cynicism, materialism and “looking out for no.1” that make it hard to sustain friendships and families. We want policies that encourage caring behavior, love, kindness, generosity, and compassion and that provide work through which we contribute to the common good and not just to the accumulation of money and power. Being pro-family today requires us to challenge the values that make it hard for people to be generous or caring

2. We will take personal responsibility for ethical behavior, shape a purpose-driven life connected to our highest values, revive the sacred element in sexuality, build an inner life, and devote time to caring for others as well as celebrating and enjoying each other and the natural world.

3. We support efforts to require corporate social responsibility for the well being of their employees, the communities in which they function or sell their goods, and the environment.

4.We will transform education to emphasize, alongside necessary skills, the values of love, caring, generosity, intellectual curiosity, tolerance, gratitude, awe and wonder at the natural world, democratic participation, and environmental responsibility.

5. We will seek universal single-payer health care that takes into account emotional and spiritual as well as physical health.

6. We will be stewards of our environment, developing sustainable global economic policy and practicing conscious consumption.

7. We will build a safer world through a strategy of nonviolence and generosity that acknowledges that our own well being depends on the well being of everyone else on the planet and of the planet itself. We support a Global Marshall Plan that would donate 5% of the Gross Domestic Product of the U.S. and other G-8 countries for programs aimed at ending global poverty and repairing the damage done to the environment.

8. We will protect separation of church and state while encouraging the free discussion of spiritual values in the public sphere. We will resist scientism, the worldview that only those things that can be measured or experienced with the senses are valuable. And we will protect scientific research from being subservient to the needs of the economic marketplace.

Note: A full version of this covenant is available online at www.spiritualprogressives.org, and a thorough discussion of it can be found in Rabbi Michael Lerner’s bestselling book The Left Hand of God: Taking Our Country Back from the Religious Right (Harper San Francisco, 2006). Network of Spiritual Progressives is a trademark of the Institute for Labor and Mental Health, Inc.
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