A Possibility: Evolving from Principles to Values
Unitarian Universalism evolves. We balance our living tradition with change. In Article II of UUA’s 1961 Constitution and Bylaws we established six Principles. These 1961 Principles used language of those times, including these phrases:
- “the dignity of man”
- “universal truths… summarized in the Judeo-Christian heritage as love to God and love to man”
- “a world community founded on ideals of brotherhood”
- “encourage cooperation with men of good will”
The 60s and 70s were a time when the voice of women was rising and by 1985 the male-centric language was out of sync with those times. The six Principles were rewritten, and in addition we were beginning to see the interconnectedness of everything and we added a seventh Principle, “Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.” Those 1985 revisions were the last substantial changes to UUA’s current Article II.
In 2020 an Article II Study Commission was charged with discerning if another revision would help us become more in sync with the world as we now experience it. In its proposed revisions we see a greater emphasis on love and justice, anti-racism and anti-oppression language, explicit statements of our Values rather than our Principles, and a greater emphasis on action based on these Values. We encourage you to read the full report of the proposed revisions, including information about the charge to the Commission and its process.
You may want to do more than read. Delegates to this year’s UUA General Assembly in June may propose amendments, and will vote on the proposed revision. To be adopted, the revision must pass with a majority vote in 2023 and a 2/3 vote at the 2024 General Assembly. We encourage each Iowa congregation to send its full allotment of delegates to ensure that you are represented in this decision. Ask your UU congregation if you can represent them, and register here for the 2023 General Assembly in Pittsburgh, PA. (Note that delegates may attend online, making it more accessible and affordable.)
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