Saving The Principles And Sources

Last Site Update: May 29, 3:30 pm

  1. Overview — About this site
  2. A Printable, Introductory Handout
  3. Site Map
  4. Who are We?
  5. Change log

Overview — About this site

In 2020, a commission of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) was tasked with reviewing and proposing changes to Article II of its bylaws, containing the long-serving Principles and Purposes. What that commission has proposed is problematic to many Unitarian Universalists because of its sweeping changes to our fundamental identity as a liberal faith.

In short, the 7 Principles and 6 Sources that so beautifully articulate our liberal faith tradition would be eliminated. They would be replaced with Values statements and Covenants that hold us “accountable,” while threatening our freedom of belief and our individual search for truth.

UUA omitted members of UU congregations as stakeholders in this process; consequently, there is a lack of awareness and understanding of the proposed changes among UU membership. UUA clearly articulates their justifications in the Article II Study Report, but opposing views have not been adequately expressed.

This web site is an attempt to correct that omission. It begins with two pages that take no position: Current vs Proposed and Pro/Con Review. The former is just the facts: a markup of the changes proposed side-by-side with the current text of Article II, so that the changes can be reviewed objectively. The latter is a balanced overview of the arguments, both pro and con.

The majority of the web site brings together writings from concerned UUs and associates from all over the country who have made the case for rejecting this radical UUA proposal. These essays can be found under “Discussion.”

  • Some writers think it is a mistake to replace the clear, brief, poetic principles with much more wordy and limiting value/covenant statements.
  • Some are uncomfortable with the new accountability language.
  • Some find the new Freedom of Belief section actually removes freedom of belief.
  • Some are troubled by the rewritten Purposes, which delete “serving the needs of UU congregations, and organizing new congregations,” instead positioning congregations in the role of serving the UUA.
  • Some think these changes, if adopted, will lead to changes in the very nature of Unitarian Universalism.

It is valuable to be aware of the arguments on both sides of this debate before deciding how to vote. If the proposal passes at General Assembly (GA) in June, 2023 by a majority of delegate votes, it will be carried forward to GA in 2024, where it must pass by a 2/3 majority of delegate votes.

A Printable, Introductory Handout

The following document encapsulates the concerns about the Article II rewrite that have been expressed by UUs from around the country. This can be used as a handout in your congregation.

Download and Print:

Site Map

Following is a guide to the main content in this site

What is Changing?Discussion GroupSide-by-side presentation of existing Article 2 and the proposed changes.
Pro/Con ReviewAnne SchneiderA balanced presentation of arguments both for and against the Article II rewrite proposal.
Discussion:VariousEssays opposed to the Article II rewrite proposal
Why Retain the UU Principles?Kenneth IngIn-depth discussion making the case for retaining our Principles and Sources.
Detailed AnalysisLincoln BaxterDetailed examination and commentary on the proposed changes.
Alternate Answers to FQAsKenneth IngAlternate views to Frequently Asked Question responses by the Article II Study Commission.
Heart of UU IdentityRev. Dr. George Kimmich BeachRev. Beach (now retired) was one of the creators of the bottom up process that lead to the 7 Principles and 6 Sources we have today. In 1981 one he argued for a “strong” statement of Principles “with religious integrity, intellectual coherence, and literary quality.”
Centered on LoveJames Anderson On what kind of love is this new radical restructuring of the foundational Principles of the UU faith centered?
What We Will LoseSteven Myles What we will lose if the proposal is passed at GA
Faith in UUsRev. Jerry Mikula Kerr Could it be that the UUA does not have faith that UUs can engage in a truly open, democratic debate, could make a good decisions?
Resistance To ChangeStephen Polmar and Karen Brown Response to charge that we are resistant to change
Without a MapRebecca Pace A Certified Public Accountant’s view of the Article II process.
A Law Professor’s PerspectiveWilliam JordanA law professors perspective on the Article II proposal and the UUA
On Elders in UnitarianismTerry Anderson What is the role of Elders in Unitarian Universalism
JudgmentBarbara L. Barnes Judgment in the Proposed Article II and the UUA — from Heritage Universalist Unitarian Church (Cincinnati, OH)
Process QuestionsSteven MylesQuestions raised by the process used by the Study Commission
A Short PrimerSusan McWethyA short video presentation of the possible consequences if the proposed Article II rewrite if successful at General Assembly in June
Genealogy of 7 PrinciplesRev. Richard TrudeauA video overview of the origins of the 7 Principles and 6 Sources.
On Accountability…Kenneth IngA convincing case that the accountability language, combined with the covenantal language, the redefinition of the Purposes paragraph, and the changes to the Freedom of Belief paragraph in the Article II rewrite, WILL change Unitarian Universalism. Kenneth backs up his assertions, with UUA leader statements, and UUA documents going back to 2015, and as recent as 2022 GA statements by current UUA President nominee Sofia Betancourt. Everyone who is thinking about how to vote on the Article II proposal should take the time to watch this video.
Background:VariousBackground information on the UUA
Blocked and ReportedBlock & Reported PodcastAn excerpt from this Podcast entitled “How the Unitarian Universalist Church Melted Down.” It tells the story of what happened to Rev. Dr. Todd Eklof and Rev. Dr. Kate Rohde
Unitarians and Universalists at the UNBruce KnottAn overview of the role Unitarians and Universalists have played at the UN from the first UUA GA in 1962, until the closing of the UN office by the UUA in 2021.
GraphicsPrintables for promoting this web site and for use at GA.

Who are We?

We are a group of more than 120 UUs from across the country representing at least 25 different congregations (and growing), who have been closely following what is happening at the national level. Many of us have been leaders or ministers of our congregations, serving on Boards, representing our congregations as delegates at past General Assemblies, and contributing in myriad other ways. Our group has no affiliation with Unitarian Universalist Association.

Change log

Date/TimeWhat was changed
June 7, 2023 4:30QR Code added to the Introductory Handout.
May 31, 2023 3:30Revised Overview.
May 29, 2023 2:30 pmMajor reorganization of the site. Expanded this home page, to consolidate redundant material. Added Table of Contents to this page. Reduced the number of items in the menus at the top of each page. Moved all essays expressing opposition to Article II to a new “Discussion” section (and menu). Published two new pages: Alternate Answers to FAQs and Without a Map (in the Discussion Section). Removed the Congregational Voices section, consolidating those essays under the Discussion Section. Note: Some saved links may have been been broken, but the content can still be selected from the Menus at the top of the page or from the Site Map above.
May 20, 2023 6:45 pmAdded Retired Law professor William Jordan’s view to Congregational Voices, and to the menus under Congregational voices.
May 20, 2023 2:16 pmChanged name and URL of “Judgement in the proposed Article II and the UUA” in Congregational Voices, to just “Judgement,” This could result in a page not found for someone who has saved the URL, but it can still be found from the Conversational Voices page and from the Menus
May 12, 2023 12:00 pmUpdated A Brief Commentary
May 2, 2023 1:55 pmAdd Bruce Knotts’ essay on the closing of the UUA’s UN office: Unitarians and Universalists at the UN
May 1, 2023 11:27 amAdd Rev. Dr. George Kimmish Beach’s article on the Heart of UU Identity to Additional Essays
April 29, 2023 3:16 pmUpdate “contact us” footer message on every page
April 28, 2023 3:40 pmAdded Rev. Jerry Mikula Kerr’s essay Faith in UUs to Additional Essays
April 28, 2023 3:40 pmAdded this change log