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The Primary Value: Integrity

By Jen Scott On Sunday, September 1, 2019 7:04:00 PM
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The Community of Reason (COR) was created to connect and support atheists, humanists, agnostics, freethinkers, skeptics, and other like minded individuals to achieve our common goals, and most importantly to do it in a way that a way that was consistent with our shared values of integrity, equality, curiosity, and compassion. 

The dictionary defines integrity as “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.” Most people would agree with that ideal.  The challenge comes in applying this value in everyday life and in personal interactions.

The Community of Reason (COR) was created to connect and support atheists, humanists, agnostics, freethinkers, skeptics, and other like minded individuals to achieve our common goals, and most importantly to do it in a way that a way that was consistent with our shared values of integrity, equality, curiosity, and compassion. 

The dictionary defines integrity as “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.” Most people would agree with that ideal.  The challenge comes in applying this value in everyday life and in personal interactions.  

When you act with integrity, as an individual or as a leader, your words, actions, decisions, and methods are consistently applied both in public and in private. If you value equality for women in public, and then treat them with disrespect in private, you are not acting with integrity. If you fight for LGBTQ rights in public and aren’t an ally away from the spotlight, you are not acting with integrity. If your real goal is to be revered as a leader, and you choose to place that over the mission of the group you lead, you are not acting with integrity. 


Integrity is choosing your thoughts and actions based on your values rather than personal gain.‚Äč

What does integrity mean?  

COR has defined integrity as:

Doing what is right, even when the right thing is not easy. Incorporates honesty, truthfulness, transparency, accountability, dependability, decency, justice, sincerity, commitment, good judgement.

 

Doing What is Right

The right thing is not always the easiest thing to do, and is often the more difficult path to travel. Examples of this can range from taking the higher road, when those who oppose you choose to mislead, exaggerate, or outright lie about your actions or intentions. The higher road is filled with facts and intentional decision making that places the interests of the group and the community above your own needs. The low road is filled with reactive emotion based decisions that are misleading and often inconsistent messaging.

Honesty

Honesty means not telling lies. Honesty is simply telling the truth. The facts, and nothing but the facts. 

Truthfulness

Being truthful means actively making known all of the factors and providing context when discussing a matter. 

Honest vs. Turthful. Those without integrity will try to manipulate others by being as honest as possible, while avoiding being truthful.

Transparency

 

Transparency is being upfront and visible about the actions an individual or an organization takes, and whether those actions are consistent with its values. Transparent leadership is the key to creating a culture of trust between individuals, between donors and nonprofits, between volunteers and grassroot organizers. Without transparency at COR, we would be no better than the policies we challenge. 


Transparency means: being upfront and truthful, creating a shared understanding, communicating clearly, sharing relevant information, being open to feedback, and no hidden agendas.
 

Accountability

Accountability is defined as “responsibility to someone or for some activity.” At COR, we demonstrate accountability by taking responsibility for our actions and decisions, as well as owning our mistakes, and determining ways to do better in the future. We demand accountability from our government for the decisions and laws that affect us. We demand accountability from the businesses that provide us with services or goods, or that employ us. We expect accountability from ourselves as we build the Community of Reason.  We will make mistakes, there will be miscommunications, we are human; these things happen. Being accountable means learning from those missteps and making better choices moving forward. 

 

Dependability

Dependability is the quality of being trustworthy and reliable.  When you are reliable, you are acting with integrity. When you agree to do something and complete that activity, you are being dependable.  

 

Decency

Decency is “behavior that conforms to accepted standards of morality or respectability”. Decency includes adhering to our Community Standards, and expands on those definitions to include our interactions with those we do not agree with and the larger community.

 

Sincerity

Sincerity is “the quality of being free from pretense, deceit, or hypocrisy.” Merely appearing to have integrity or one of the other values listed here, is not enough. Hypocrisy is unfortunately prevalent in our society, saying one thing, and doing another. 

 

Commitment

Commitment is “the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.” The mission and vision we have defined for COR are ambitious and will take a substantial effort. The journey will not be easy.  We have all dedicated our time and energy to create COR and will continue to direct our passion for a better world into building the Community of Reason.

 

Good Judgement

Good judgement is a value that allows one to weigh and balance conflicting values or concerns, and making the best decision for the overall good. Oftentimes, this comes up with regard to transparency.  Ideally, every choice or action can be communicated in a clear and very transparent way. However, there are times were transparency and truthfulness needs to be balanced with privacy, an aspect of decency.  For example, if an individual acts in a way that is not consistent with our Community Standards and action is taken to address that behavior, the transparent and truthful thing to do is to communicate that fully; however, that is not the appropriate or decent thing to do.  An individual’s privacy, in this case, outweighs the need to be fully transparent. 

 

Summary

Acting with integrity 

  • Creates better relationships with our members and partner organizations. 

  • Creates alignment with our mission, vision, values and our everyday activities. 

  • Encourages better problem solving and creating solutions together. 

  • Creates better engagement within our own community and with the larger community. 

  • Builds trust

 
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