TIA-PA GOALS VALUES AND ISSUES –
To create an interfaith movement in Pennsylvania where citizens committed to the American values of justice, equality and compassion are encouraged to speak out in support of issues and policies which promote that vision.
To create politically resonant religious language derived from that progressive social vision, and engage our community by restoring that language into the larger society.
Perpetuated by the Religious Right, a myth has developed in the larger society that liberals (people who assert the principles of personal freedom, communal as well as individual responsibility, and the inherent human dignity of all persons) are not motivated by any core religious values. This myth has, in turn, misled many people to believe that supporting liberal issues or causes is to support positions antagonistic to religion, morality and family.
To counter these misperceptions, religious leaders must articulate an unequivocally clear message linking our moral concerns for social justice, human dignity and communal responsibility with the religious roots and sacred texts of our nation’s various faith traditions. We will bring our powerful and positive message to the public square where it can inspire Pennsylvanians to work towards a society in which all people can live more decent and full lives.
The Interfaith Alliance of Pennsylvania is non-partisan. TIA-PA will primarily focus on domestic issues within the state, or on a national level where Pennsylvania can have a meaningful impact. Because we believe that a healthy democracy requires at least two viable political parties, TIA-PA is not aligned with any political party.
Interfaith dialogue, interfaith networking, interfaith study, and interfaith-based advocacy.
Preserving Religious Freedom and Pluralism –
“There is no freedom for religion without freedom from religion.”
“Many faiths, one nation.”
“America is not only a very religious society, but also the most religiously diverse society in the world.”
“Religion is strengthened by open inquiry and freedom of expression.”
Protecting Separation of Church and State –
-Religion in Public Schools
“We oppose forced prayer, and all school prayer is forced prayer.”
-Creationism/Intelligent Design (Let science be science and religion be religion, and do not make science teachers into unwilling and unqualified teachers of religion);
-Abortion laws (Do not put into law the morality of one set of religious traditions: Keep abortion legal, safe and rare.);
-Marriage Equality – Grant citizens the freedom to create families of their own choosing;
Promoting the Human Dignity of Each Individual–
Every human being deserves justice, equality and compassion.
Many religious traditions insist human beings are made in the Divine Image.
Poverty, crimes of hate, discrimination, demonization of other on the basis, for example, of ethnicity, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, disability or other innate character traits are attacks upon human dignity.
-Dignity of work
Communal responsibility -
“As a matter of conscience, we are required to care for all of humankind and all of creation.”
Our Board has voiced a particular concern for issues that undermine religious liberty, that undermine separation of religion and state, and that lead to increases in the number of children living in families affected by hunger.
We will select issues according to the following criteria:
a) the issue is domestic and on a state level or on a national level where Pennsylvania makes a difference.
b) we can adopt the issue in a non-partisan manner.
c) the position is in accord with our values and the issue helps further our message.
d) we can have an impact upon furthering the issue and/or the issue can be helpful to us in putting forth our religiously-based values and language into the public realm.
e) the issue has been met with notable silence by many other religious groups and denominations in the face of the Religious Right.
f) when we can take the issue on, in light of everything else we are doing, without becoming over-extended.
As a matter of principle and efficiency, we will strive when possible to work in cooperation with the national office of The Interfaith Alliance and with other groups with complementary goals.
1) Religious Liberty – which includes LGBT rights and non-discrimination/pluralism because these are areas that the religious right uses to impose themselves on society.
2) Social Justice – as a statement of what we think faith communities should be focused on, but can cover a lot of things.