Northern Virginia Ethical Society
"Act so as to bring out the best in others, and thereby in yourself"
Welcome to NoVES!
We are a humanist congregation that practices Ethical Culture, a movement begun in 1876 by Felix Adler.
NoVES response to the Supreme Court Decision about Roe v Wade.
Ethical Culture has eight commitments that help shape our behavior in life.
1. Ethics is central.
2. Ethics begins with choice.
3. We choose to treat each other as ends, not merely as means.
4. We seek to act with integrity.
5. We are committed to educating ourselves.
6. Self-reflection and our social nature require us to shape a more humane world.
7. Democratic process is essential to our task.
8. Life itself inspires religious response.
By taking away a woman’s right of reproductive choice, the Supreme Court violated at least three of these principles. A woman is now treated less respectfully than a gun owner, without bodily autonomy, agency, or self-reflection as to humane, moral, or ethical behavior. The American democratic process was completely thwarted and the wishes of a majority of US citizens were ignored.
Respecting each person’s right to choose includes not only health related decisions, but also religious and moral decisions. Reproductive choice is a complicated and deeply emotional decision that is different for each person’s life situation. The decision includes financial, social, and emotional issues as well as the moral framework of each person’s life. The decision is often made in response to a medical emergency like an ectopic pregnancy, a proven deformed fetus, or an incomplete spontaneous abortion (miscarriage). Forcing pregnancy when the life of the mother is at risk is not acceptable. Neither is denying the right to control your own body and requiring someone to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.
America’s founders created our form of government specifically to protect religious freedom. Many of them had been persecuted in their home countries, and came seeking a way to practice their own beliefs openly. Ethical Humanists seek the same thing. Our philosophy and religion are based on human derived moral and ethical principles, not belief in any sort of higher power. We should be allowed to make the choices that make us comfortable within our moral framework.
Another source of concern are laws in some states encouraging people to “turn in” a friend or neighbor who seeks an abortion for a monetary reward. This technique is practiced in totalitarian states. Where does this trend lead in the long run?
The best response to these threats is the ballot box. We must do everything we can to ensure that reasonable, thoughtful people are elected to represent us at EVERY level of government from local School Boards and City Councils to State legislatures and Federal representatives.
Iris Woodard, NoVES Board President & Randy Best, NoVES Leader
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