Our Values: Defining the American Way

Adopted by the Board of Directors, May 1996


People For the American Way affirms and works to preserve the fundamental values that define the American Way. They include opportunity for all and the freedom to learn; freedom of conscience; civic participation; community and family; societal and personal responsibility; fairness and justice; pluralism and diversity. These values are enshrined in our nation’s founding documents and embedded in the collective soul of our people. The nation was founded in their pursuit, the Constitution written in their defense, wars fought in their preservation, and more than two centuries of freedom and prosperity lived in their exercise.

  1. Because People For the American Way believes in opportunity and the freedom to learn, we work to preserve public education in America, the great engine of opportunity for America’s next generation.

    • We work to defend the public schools against an ongoing assault on their very existence.
    • We work to promote moral and civic American values to America’s students.
    • We work to encourage respect for learning.
    • We work to defend the freedom to learn.
    • We work to ensure equal access to quality education for all Americans.
    • We work to ensure access for all Americans to economic opportunity and justice.
  2. Because People For the American Way believes in freedom of conscience, we work to defend Americans’ right to worship as they choose free from government interference, we work to defend freedom of expression, and we work to defend Americans’ freedom to make their own decisions about matters of conscience.

    • We work to promote appreciation for freedom of expression.
    • We work to defend against censorship in all its forms, whatever the medium of expression.
    • We work to protect religion from government intrusion.
    • We work to defend freedom of worship.
    • We work to create a community in which Americans of different faith traditions and of none are respected, welcomed and treated equally.
    • We work to protect the right of people to make personal health decisions free from government intrusion.
  3. Because People For the American Way believes in the principle of democratic participation and the democratic process, we work to foster citizen involvement in the community and in government, and we work to protect and preserve the constitutional principles that built the nation.

    • We work to lower barriers to citizen participation.
    • We work to foster civic participation, particularly among our youth.
    • We work to encourage civic activism.
    • We work to promote accountability for our political leaders.
    • We work to foster open and honest dialogue about the important issues facing the country.
  4. Because People For the American Way believes in the value of community, we work to promote pluralism and diversity, and we work to promote tolerance and respect from and for all segments of the American community.

    • We work to promote respect for diversity, particularly among our youth.
    • We work to combat hatred and intolerance.
    • We work to promote respect for the family.
    • We work to promote personal responsibility.
    • We work to support policies to redress the impact of past and current discrimination.
  5. Because People For the American Way believes in fairness and justice, we work to preserve political, civic and economic opportunity, as well as civil and constitutional liberties for all our citizens.

    • We work to oppose discrimination on the basis of faith, gender, national origin, race, or sexual orientation.
    • We work to encourage the appointment of men and women who share these commitments to the judicial branch of government.
    • We work to defend reproductive freedom.
    • We work to preserve an independent judiciary that respects individual liberty and ensures due process of law for all Americans.
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