Respect for Human Life

Our common humanity demands that we have a consistent ethic regarding the protection, support and sustenance of life.  Empathy and compassion are shared values of all faiths. We should honor these values with policies to ensure that the poor, the weak, the sick, the infirm, the elderly and any others who are vulnerable are not forgotten or ignored.  They should be treated fairly and compassionately, as all of us might wish to be treated if we were in similar circumstances.

To protect human life, we should make our best efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, military actions that kill innocent civilians, genocide, use of torture, sexual abuse and human trafficking as well as devastation from world-wide pandemics such as HIV/AIDS and Avian flu. It is morally wrong to single out one or two life issues such as abortion or stem-cell research at the expense of others. In these issues the lives of the living must be considered as well as those of the unborn. 

Access to Health Care

Combined with the principle of equal worth, respect for human life demands that there be equal access to adequate health care for all so that each one of us may derive the benefits of good health. Our most immediate responsibility is to make sure health care is available to the neediest and most vulnerable among us—the children and the working poor. Children are the future of our nation and should be nourished in a stable and healthful environment, whether as part of a two-parent family, single-parent family or any other setting. Our laws and programs should support parents in the critical task of parenting.

Abortion

Intelligent people of good intent are deeply divided over the struggle between preserving a woman’s right to privacy and control of reproductive decisions, and upholding respect for human life.  The obvious way to move toward reconciling these emotionally charged divisions is to work to reduce the need for, and the number of abortions performed in our country.  Education that emphasizes personal responsibility and self-discipline and also informs and gives access to all available means of birth control information can reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. Adoption programs and programs that provide social support for single mothers can also help bring us together on this issue. Abortion should be legal, safe and rare.

Military Actions

Recognizing that military action inevitably involves loss of both military and innocent civilian life, we view military force as a method of last resort, action that should always be decided upon and supported in the context of respect for human life.

Strong national security is necessary to defend our institutions and the lives of our citizens. We should ensure that the men and women who defend our country receive proper training and equipment and proper levels of personnel to accomplish their mission.

  1. National security should include protection for vulnerable industries, institutions and infrastructures that could be targets of terrorist attacks.  Our ports and our borders should be protected.  Intelligent immigration policies should balance the need to deter terrorist infiltrations with our traditional role as the world’s great melting pot and as a center for intellectual exchange.
  2. In our foreign policy we need to reassert our national commitment to international cooperation in the search for peaceful solutions to international conflicts. Military force should only be used when all attempts at diplomacy and economic incentives fail. Wars of choice are usually not moral.
  3. There should be open debate about decisions to take military action and the debates should be accessible to the people. National security issues should be balanced with humanitarian considerations in determining the benefits and costs.
  4. The U.S. is a signatory of the Geneva Conventions and should observe the ban on torture of prisoners as mandated. Cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment of detainees or denial of basic legal rights to prisoners under U.S. control can never be justified. Condoning any of these practices violates our nation’s humanitarian values and sense of justice. These actions damage our reputation in the world and they make us less safe by provoking more terrorism and endangering our own captured military personnel. And they cost us our national soul.