OurValues — Our Statement of Purpose and Principles

All of the online projects co-sponsored by ReadTheSpirit are committed to transparency — sharing with you our values in publishing these many voices, projects and opportunities for you to get involved and make a difference. (We welcome you to read the underlying ReadTheSpirit core principles.)

HERE is Dr. Wayne E. Baker’s Statement of Purpose and Principles for the OurValues project:

  • The purpose of OurValues is to simulate — sometimes provoke — a lively and thoughtful discussion of American values.
  • OurValues is open to all.
  • We do not represent or advocate any particular political position or religious tradition.
  • In this new work we’re pursuing together, we’re guided by these 5 assumptions:
  1. Values are guiding principles. Values form an internal moral compass used to make decisions, guide actions, and evaluate people and events. Values give meaning to the world around us and the world within us.
  2. We’re especially focused on exploring “American values.” American values are the values that Americans actually have, not the values that political or religious leaders say Americans should have.
  3. No one has a monopoly on American values. American values are not owned by conservatives or liberals; they are not owned by the religious or the secular. Everyone has values.
  4. A lively and thoughtful discussion of American values requires civility, respectful engagement, and tolerance of diverse opinions.
  5. It is possible to unite our nation around American values by rediscovering our common ground, or finding the higher ground that integrates seemingly incompatible views into a greater whole.

(A Final Note: OurValues welcomes disagreement. We even welcome
sharp disagreement. You can feel free to express yourself and your
values here — but we will maintain a basic boundary in our community
of readers: We will not allow publicly posted comments that are
hateful, that are personal attacks on other readers — or that use obscenities or offensive terms to describe other people. Of course, we also
will remove spam if it is posted in comment areas.)

Please, tell us what you think. If you have questions about anything you read on this site — we want to hear your thoughts. There are many opportunities throughout OurValues to express yourself.

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