Core Principles

INTRODUCTION

IPPA is a group of American citizens who have come together from very diverse religious and cultural backgrounds to put forth a vision for the United States rooted in our common spiritual values. This vision represents a renewal and restatement of our country’s powerful historic legacy and has its foundation in core moral principles that can guide all of us, citizens and leaders alike. These principles should lead us to propose and implement policies that canensure a better world for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren. 

 

We are concerned about the direction our country is taking in both domestic and international policies. A sense of fear permeates the country and its politics. We are determined to reintroduce hope and an optimistic world view that can inspire pride in who we are and what our country stands for. We love and respect our country and take seriously our patriotic duty to promote its legitimate strengths and to work for the well-being of all its citizens. 

The societal values that we emphasize here have appeared at various times in our history in both Republican and Democratic platforms. Recently, many Democrats have come to believe that their Party no longer presents a clear value system or vision. Some citizens have been enticed into the Republican fold because they have been convinced that the Democratic Party does not represent their moral positions. Moderate Republicans fear that their party has been taken away from them by the religious right. Our mission is to put forth a set of progressive values that we see as the traditional moral and ethical bases for inclusive discussion and debate by citizens all across the political spectrum.

This document proclaims a consensus on basic principles that unite us rather than divide us, principles that can provide a moral imperative for political candidates we can be proud to support.  We wish to serve as a counterweight to those who promote exclusivist and intolerant policies and who impugn those who disagree with them as lacking moral standards.

 

Our agenda begins with a simple but powerful idea– that policies rooted in common principles arising from our shared humanity serve us better than policies based only on an economic model that says material success is the best measure of human happiness and well being. This idea is consistent with the foundational values of all the world’s religions. Spiritual commitment does not impugn the quest for material goals but provides an ethical framework for securing and using those material resources wisely. For both society and elected representatives, ethical values should serve as an ultimate guide.

 

To affirm our commitment to public policies consistent with spiritual values is not to ignore the need for strict separation of church and state. Beliefs may guide an individual’s actions and influence decisions but public policy should also draw on publicly available facts and sound reason.

 

When we bring our beliefs to public debate we should also practice tolerance. One of our country’s greatest strengths is its pluralism. Maintaining our rich diversity requires absolute tolerance for each person’s private religious faith or choice to reject faith.

           

It is time to restore the moral fabric of our country and to heal some of the political rifts by emphasizing the basic human principles we share, principles that transcend divisions between different religions, and that transcend differences between believers and non-believers. These principles should be tempered by wisdom and attention to context. The Interfaith Partners for Political Action urges all candidates and policy-makers to emphasize this message and reflect its importance in their platforms in coming elections.

 

We do not anchor our principles in any specific religious or sacred texts. Rather, these principles represent a consensus on our core values about which people of different backgrounds can agree. Individuals may have divergent views on the origin of these principles, some finding them in sacred texts, some in intuition and others in what biology reveals about human nature.

 

We reject the commonly stated opinion that the Democrats have no consistent positions on ethical issues, and that the religious right owns the moral values topic within the Republican Party. We wish to provide a resource that progressive Democrats, Republicans, and Independents can use to help establish a new positive vision for an America rooted in our core values of equality and respect for life. It affirms that moral values apply not only to individuals and families, but also to governmental policies.


We base our political actions on our belief in the equal worth and dignity of all individuals and respect for human life. These two principles provide the bases and imperatives for the other shared principles: the sanctity of our planet Earth; tolerance for one another; respect for privacy; the responsible pursuit of knowledge; the need for truth and trustworthy leadership.

 

Our approach is unique.


1. We are not a religious group, but our declaration of principles is derived from the foundations of a wide range of religious and secular belief systems. This consensus document is called, “INTERFAITH PARTNERSHIP FOR POLITICAL ACTION-Common Guiding Principles.” (See Links )


2. We wish to highlight the moral imperatives underlying specific political policy positions. If a person does not consider the motivating ethical imperatives, how can he/she forcefully justify a position?

3. We have worked together to achieve an internally coherent set of positions. Each of the individual values in the declaration derives from the basic ones: the equal worth of all persons and respect for human life.

4. We wish to shift focus from political policies that appeal solely to the economic model of improved monetary gain and incentives for individual material success to the stronger need for policies derived from foundational ethical principles. We favor using moral guidance to inform the standard economic model.

5. We use our statement of principles to take political action: we participate in town-meetings with candidates for Congress and other political offices. We provide ethical guidelines for evaluating positions and for endorsing candidates.

We set forth the following vision for our country stressing these shared principles: the equal worth and dignity of all individuals; respect for human life; the sanctity of our planet Earth; tolerance for one another; respect for privacy; the responsible pursuit of knowledge; the need for truth and  trustworthy leadership. We regard equal worth and respect for human life as foundational, providing the basis and imperative for the other shared principles.