NOMAS Position Statement on Spirituality

NOMAS recognizes that deeply held social beliefs in equality and justice are often grounded in an understanding of the world that might include theological statements, whether the instinct takes expression though tikkun olam or the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. These sentiments from those who hold some sort of belief system go beyond the simple conviction of intellect to something deeper, called the spiritual. These persons may or may not identify with traditional religions (such as Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, or Christianity), religions without a personified diety (Buddhism, and so on) or from less formally structured religious movements (whether agnostic, eclectic or pagan). Nevertheless, energy and intellectual support to do the work of ending oppression and injustice flow out of those spiritual convictions.

NOMAS is not a religious organization in any way, but encourages its members who affirm the NOMAS statement of principles who also hold some spiritual belief to join together and work to develop and extend that understanding. The best of what religion teaches, and the truest expression of the great traditions of faith include respect and tolerance for others, and upholds the dignity and value of persons, both those with whom we agree and those with whom we disagree. David James Duncan has said of religious faiths worldwide, “[in their] Wisdom literature the principal evil to be attacked by the person of faith is the evil in oneself, and a secondary evil to be opposed is the power of anyone who victimizes the weak.” The work required within these traditions by those with a foot on their neck is sometimes exegetical, interpretive, and hermeneutical, as when dealing with ancient and canonical texts. Sometimes it is educational, as when dealing with the traditions’ unintentional adoption of sexist, heterosexist, racist, or otherwise oppressive tenants. Many times, the work required is to act in society to end the oppression itself. Therefore, NOMAS always seeks to empower that work which must be societal and systemic.

A robust spirit of interfaith, intrafaith and interreligious dialog should nurture the exchange of ideas. Such work would not shrink from honest appreciation of differences, while forming alliances and mutual understanding when possible. The work would share the task of upholding those oppressed by society, and seek always to end that oppression. For example, members of Christian traditions associated with dominant and oppressive groups have the daunting task of trying to become aware of the societal privilege currently granted to them, as well as the Christian history of triumphalism and anti-Semitism. Christians also would have to denounce what has been variously called Christianist or Dominionist theocratic impulses to impose upon those of other faiths or no faith. Recognition of these uniquely Christian tasks in no way minimizes the support for equality and justice found by many within Christendom, nor does it diminish the support for equality found in other faith traditions.

May the God/ess attend and bless those who work to end the oppression of all of Her creatures.