Why Retain The UU Principles?

Kenneth Ing

UU members and congregations have a responsibility to thoughtfully consider whether the proposed rewrite of Article II of the UUA bylaws is wise. This commentary makes the case that the rewrite of Article II is counter-productive and would transform UU in ways that are unhealthy and unwise.

The full commentary, with detailed explanations of a case for retaining the UU Principles and Sources, can be found at the bottom of this web page.

Here are the major points the commentary makes:

  • A strength of the current Principles is that they are clear and concise. The current Principles and Sources show what makes UU unique. The rewrite is too verbose.
  • They do a better job of protecting the freedom and sovereignty of every person.
  • They explicitly protect individual freedom of belief. The rewrite removes this.
  • They list specific Sources of Inspiration. The rewrite eliminates the list.
  • They establish that the primary purpose of the UUA is to serve the congregations. The rewrite removes that role, which will change the distribution of power in UU.
  • They allow us to decide how to express our values. New covenants in the rewrite would determine our priorities. We should act in the world because we feel called to do so, not because we are told we have to, or else be judged as out of covenant.
  • The rewrite adds an accountability statement. It is very unclear who we would be accountable to and what criteria we would be judged by. UUs judging other UUs, especially using subjective criteria like values, would be divisive and toxic.
  •  The rewrite adds ambiguous words and phrases that have special meanings. How can we covenant to be accountable if we don’t interpret the values the same way?
  • The rewrite establishes that congregations would have a covenant with the UUA for the first time ever. This would reverse the flow of power and authority in UU.
  • The rewrite adds covenants that turn the Values into tests you need to pass. Non-specific words make good aspirations but are a problem when used to judge us.
  • The rewrite has a laser focus on activism. The purpose of UU would be changed. UU would transform from being a truly Liberal Religion into the equivalent of a Social Justice Activism Organization.

Much more detailed explanations of the points made above can be read in the full commentary.

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