Thursday, June 22, 2006

A Call for Unity Between Secular and Religious Progressives

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.
June 3, 2006