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Immigration Talking Points

The NSP is structured around an acknowledgement that human beings have spiritual as well as material needs. We hunger for a sense of participation in something larger than ourselves and more meaningful than amassing wealth, power, and possessions. We long for love, connection, and recognition of our worth. These spiritual needs find expression, however hypocritically, in right-wing language about family values and about the sanctity of marriage and of life, but they have found little expression in progressive politics, which tends to focus on economic and material solutions. These talking points seek to deepen progressive positions on the issues so that we acknowledge spiritual as well as material needs. Our solutions are unabashedly “idealistic” because we believe in the possibility of radical transformation through the spirit of love and generosity that permeates the universe and because we reject the idolatry of worshipping what the powerful tell us is “realistic.”

  •  We have a sacred obligation to “welcome the stranger,” to care for what Jesus called “the least of these.” This means providing for the basic needs of immigrants and refugees and supporting their ability to sustain strong relationships with their families.
  •  Human beings long to contribute to the world in a meaningful way, to have an impact. Immigrants are no exception. We must acknowledge the valuable contribution made by immigrants and open up ways for them to contribute even more meaningfully.
  •   At the same time, we are ethically and spiritually mandated to look at the root causes of our immigration crisis—namely the vast inequalities in wealth and opportunity between the United States and most of the rest of the world.
  •  We propose a Global Marshall Plan that would dedicate 1-2% of the gross domestic product of the wealthiest nations, starting with the United States, to eliminating global poverty—the driving force behind much immigration--once and for all. We do so not as a grandiose gesture from the most fortunate to those who are somehow “less than,” but as a humble expression of genuine concern for the well-being of everyone on the planet, and with an acknowledgement of the ways in which the United States’ actions have contributed to poverty around the world.
  •   We need to address directly the ways in which anti-immigrant rhetoric appeals to a false sense of community predicated on exclusion of “the Other” and find other ways of resolving the alienation and hunger for genuine community that makes Americans susceptible to such rhetoric.  

Environmental Sustainability Talking Points  

The NSP is structured around an acknowledgement that human beings have spiritual as well as material needs. We hunger for a sense of participation in something larger than ourselves and more meaningful than amassing wealth, power, and possessions. We long for love, connection, and recognition of our worth. These spiritual needs find expression, however hypocritically, in right-wing language about family values and about the sanctity of marriage and of life, but they have found little expression in progressive politics, which tends to focus on economic and material solutions. These talking points seek to deepen progressive positions on the issues so that we acknowledge spiritual as well as material needs. Our solutions are unabashedly “idealistic” because we believe in the possibility of radical transformation through the spirit of love and generosity that permeates the universe and because we reject the idolatry of worshipping what the powerful tell us is “realistic.”The current environmental crisis represents a spiritual crisis as much as an economic, technical, or political one. A culture of materialism and me-first-ism encourages us to view other human beings and the earth as “resources,” whether “human” or “natural,” to be used for our own advancement.

  •  Addressing the deep spiritual roots of the environmental crisis requires that we acknowledge our addiction to endless consumption and challenge the belief that the price and number of things we own are the measure of our worth in the world.

 

  • Deep denial prevents many of us from acknowledging the severity of the environmental crisis. That denial will not be overcome through scare tactics and doom-and-gloom predictions but through an invitation to become more mindful and happier human beings by reducing our consumption and instead finding meaning in the gifts of the natural world and of human community.

 

  •  One of the core spiritual teachings of all our great wisdom traditions, and increasingly of science, is that all life is interdependent. That means that it is impossible to tend to one’s own well-being without also tending to the well-being of all life. Our public policies should be revised so that they are fully in alignment with this insight. Likewise, federal environmental agencies should take as part of their mission the explicit teaching of our interdependence with all life.

 

  • We must champion voluntary simplicity and ethical consumption while simultaneously changing the global economy so that it is ordered in rational, just, and sustainable ways.

 

Foreign Policy Talking Points

 

The NSP is structured around an acknowledgement that human beings have spiritual as well as material needs. We hunger for a sense of participation in something larger than ourselves and more meaningful than amassing wealth, power, and possessions. We long for love, connection, and recognition of our worth. These spiritual needs find expression, however hypocritically, in right-wing language about family values and about the sanctity of marriage and of life, but they have found little expression in progressive politics, which tends to focus on economic and material solutions. These talking points seek to deepen progressive positions on the issues so that we acknowledge spiritual as well as material needs. Our solutions are unabashedly “idealistic” because we believe in the possibility of radical transformation through the spirit of love and generosity that permeates the universe and because we reject the idolatry of worshipping what the powerful tell us is “realistic.”

 

  •  One of the core spiritual teachings of all our wisdom traditions, and increasingly of science, is that all life is interdependent. That means that it is impossible to tend to Americans’ well-being without also tending to the well-being of all other peoples on the planet and of the planet itself. Our foreign policy should be aligned with this insight. We need a foreign policy of universal care and generosity.

 

  • Recent foreign policy has instead been predicated on the notion that we must look out for our own interests first. The unbridled pursuit of American self-interest has contributed to gross inequalities in wealth and opportunity around the world and fed anti-American sentiment and thereby terrorist recruitment. Increasing our efforts to dominate and control the world is not the solution. Instead, we need to demonstrate our care for all the world’s people.

 

  • To that end, we propose a Global Marshall Plan that would dedicate 1-2% of the gross domestic product of the wealthiest nations, starting with the United States, to eliminating global poverty and healing the environment. Such a plan must be offered in a spirit of humility and generosity rather than as simply a more savvy way of advancing U.S. interests.

 

  • In proposing such a radical shift in our foreign policy, we must acknowledge the very real fear of many Americans. So much in our culture tells us that the world is a scary place in which one must look out for one’s self. That makes a foreign policy of generosity look suicidal. We need find ways to evoke another, equally valid worldview, one in which each of us is nurtured and sustained by a spirit of love and caring that expresses itself through other human beings and through the bounty of the earth.

 

  • We commit ourselves to serving that spirit of love and caring rather than worshipping the false gods of weapons, power plays, and the free market.

Healthcare Talking Points

 

The NSP is structured around an acknowledgement that human beings have spiritual as well as material needs. We hunger for a sense of participation in something larger than ourselves and more meaningful than amassing wealth, power, and possessions. We long for love, connection, and recognition of our worth. These spiritual needs find expression, however hypocritically, in right-wing language about family values and about the sanctity of marriage and of life, but they have found little expression in progressive politics, which tends to focus on economic and material solutions. These talking points seek to deepen progressive positions on the issues so that we acknowledge spiritual as well as material needs. Our solutions are unabashedly “idealistic” because we believe in the possibility of radical transformation through the spirit of love and generosity that permeates the universe and because we reject the idolatry of worshipping what the powerful tell us is “realistic.”

 

  • Universal healthcare is a necessary corollary to the belief that every human being is “created in the image of God” or is “an embodiment of the sacred” or “has inherent worth and value.” We have a sacred obligation to care for one another. Healthcare workers should be honored as the conduits for this community care.

 

  • Incremental, step-by-step reforms of the for-profit healthcare system have failed to inspire the mass movement necessary to pass them because such plans are not sufficiently visionary and inclusive. So long as it is possible for any potential voter to imagine that she or she would not be covered by the plan—would be left outside of the circle of care—the plan will not evoke the spirit of communal caring that is the most powerful force behind the idea of universal healthcare.

 

  • The campaign for universal healthcare should involve an acknowledgement that human beings are more than material bodies. Our physical health cannot be divorced from environmental, social, spiritual, and psychological realities.

 

  • The entire medical system needs to be reshaped so that it addresses these environmental, social, spiritual, and psychological realities. For example, how can the practice of medicine address loneliness and social disconnection? Can a health center help build community? How might hospitals be re-imagined if we took seriously the human need for beauty, wonder, and celebration?

 

  • The practice of medicine should be imbued with a sense of awe and wonder at the complex workings of the human body.

 

  • These reforms would have powerful ramifications for the training of medical professionals. Students would be encouraged to pay attention to their emotions and intuitions as well as their senses and to assess patients’ emotional, spiritual, and social lives as well as their physical symptoms.

Poverty Talking Points

The NSP is structured around an acknowledgement that human beings have spiritual as well as material needs. We hunger for a sense of participation in something larger than ourselves and more meaningful than amassing wealth, power, and possessions. We long for love, connection, and recognition of our worth. These spiritual needs find expression, however hypocritically, in right-wing language about family values and about the sanctity of marriage and of life, but they have found little expression in progressive politics, which tends to focus on economic and material solutions. These talking points seek to deepen progressive positions on the issues so that we acknowledge spiritual as well as material needs. Our solutions are unabashedly “idealistic” because we believe in the possibility of radical transformation through the spirit of love and generosity that permeates the universe and because we reject the idolatry of worshipping what the powerful tell us is “realistic.”

  •  We have a sacred obligation to care for one another. That means that we share resources so that everyone has what she or he needs.

 

  • Our message to every American, no matter what his or her situation, must be “You are not in this alone.” We must begin talking about our social safety net programs as manifestations of our desire to care for each other.

 

  • Human beings long to contribute to the world in a meaningful way, to have an impact. The material and social conditions of poverty limit people’s ability to do that. Lack of opportunity causes immense spiritual suffering, and the whole society loses out on the contributions that its members would make were they not consumed with providing for their most basic subsistence.
  •  Every human being has inherent worth and value independent of the material conditions into which she or he is born. We all benefit when every person is provided with the resources to live out his or her full potential.
  •  We need a national conversation about how much is enough. The relentless pursuit of wealth and the fervent acquisition of more and more things are symptoms of a spiritual crisis in our culture. Americans are trying to satisfy spiritual longing with material goods. Liberals are in a much better position to critique the materialism of our culture than are conservatives (who often have vested interests in preserving that materialism), yet we have ceded that issue to the religious right.
  •  The radical message of all of our religious and spiritual traditions is that transformation is possible. We cannot fall into the idolatrous belief that poverty is intractable. We can end poverty in our lifetimes.

 

All talking point papers are available for downloading.

Immigration

Environment Sustainability 

ForeignPolicy

Healthcare

Poverty