The Fifth Principle Project encourages all to share their thoughts with the Article II Study Commission via a survey developed by the Commission. See below for the survey link.
Article II in our Association’s bylaws (e.g., Constitution) contains our Seven Principles, Six Sources, the Purpose of the Association, Inclusion and Freedom of Belief statements. The Article II Study Commission correctly noted that Article II “is the foundation for all of the work of our UUA and its member congregations and covenanted communities.” As a result, modifications to Article II should be done only to advance the heritage values of UUism and not to satisfy transient causes.
Concern arose in December 2019 when the UUA Board of Trustees granted the Article II Study Commission the freedom “to revise, replace, and restructure” Article II. The Board acted solely on a clause in our Association’s bylaws requiring that Article II be reviewed every 15 years.
A commission similarly charged that faced defeat at the 2009 General Assembly observed that they had no grassroots support and operated solely on the bylaws review requirement. We have posted Chapter 5 “Article II Study Commission: Story of Our Principles” from Used to be UU to give readers more historical context.
There is no grassroots support for a revision of Article II. This revision is a UUA Board sponsored effort that comes on the heels of numerous controversial Board decisions. Decisions that have brought disharmony include the declaration of UUism complicity with white supremacy culture, overt efforts to silence dissenting voices with cries of “out of covenant,” issuing letters of censure and dis-fellowship, probation of alternative viewpoints and banning books at General Assembly.
UUism does not need more controversy but a message that again unites our highly diverse liberal community.
Please make an effort to submit your survey comments by December 31, 2021.
Article II Study Commission Survey
Share your thoughts with the Article II Study Commission by responding to its survey. Take Survey.
Parallel Article II Study Commission Survey
We also ask that you copy your Article II survey responses to a parallel survey. This survey contains the same questions. By sharing your responses, people can see responses submitted to the Article II Study Commission by other concerned UUs.
Take Unofficial Parallel Survey.
Link to Parallel Survey Responses.
What are your thoughts?
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The survey is worthwhile. It has a focus on UU values and principles and the meanings of “covenant”. I emphasized that our 7 principles are similar to a covenant but are intended as “aspirational”, not enforceable. That is, no one should be censured for supposedly being “out-of-covenant”, particularly since there has been extremely serious abuse of this phrase in the attacks Rev. Todd Eklof. You can also make general comments at the end of the survey. Here is where I brought up the proposed 8th principle and serious issues with its wording. But be forewarned: Certain members of the Article… Read more »
Though we may not be a “covenantal” religion, our SEVEN principles are treated as a covenant which all member congregations agree to support. The preamble says so. What is “out-of-covenant” is allowing any member congregation to “adopt” an 8th principle by themselves without consent from all the other congregations. No one has explained the rationale for allowing such actions and the justifications we hear like “living tradition” and “organic change” don’t cut it.
Thank you, Steve Miles, for reminding me of use of the word “covenant” in the Preamble of the Seven Priniciples. The Preamble states, “We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote:” In the Preamble, “covenant” is used as a verb, not as a noun. After the Preamble and the Principles, you can see the six sources, and then the final sentence states: “As free congregations we enter into this covenant, promising to one another our mutual trust and support.” So, here “covenant” is used as a noun; I also noticed that it’s proceeded by… Read more »
Yes, well, this certainly captured a lot of attention… I have no idea what it will take to engage UU congregants who are happily ensconced in their communities and pay little attention to these kinds of things. At some point, I suppose, it will be unavoidable, but that may be too late. The Article 2 Study Commission is really an 8th Principle Promotion Commission intent on fundamentally rewriting all the Principles and Purposes. Just look at their “Reports and Reflections” The Article II Study Commission and the 8th Principle https://www.uua.org/uuagovernance/committees/article-ii-study-commission/blog/8thprinciple-0 When the 8th Principle project began, it addressed something vital… Read more »
Well said. One only has to look at the composition of the Article 2 Study Commission to realize what a sham it is. Paula Cole Jones is a management consultant who has lead the charge for the rogue idea of allowing congregations to simply “adopt” an 8th Principle on their own and two of the members of the commission are either still in high school or barely graduated, surely lacking life experience which should be pre requisite for a commission member charged with the monumental responsibility of examining all of our principles. As for what it will take to engage… Read more »
I find it truly distressing to read the comments in the parallel survey of so many of us who feel that they can no longer remain a member of this denomination, largely because the UUA has violated the very principles upon which our religion is based. For those who are UUs only because they wanted to sing in a choir or have a social community that is not religiously demanding or wanting some way to deal with a religiously mixed marriage or find a Sunday school for their children, perhaps the path that UUA leadership has taken is not of… Read more »
Thank you everyone. I too appreciate this forum, and am deeply concerned about what is happening. And I particularly agree with Stephen. Some of my favorite ministers have been censored and/or resigned from the UUA. My UU friends in my congregation seem to have drunk the kool aid, and I don’t feel safe speaking up because I’ve been shut down by “leaders.” UUism has been a big part of my identity and is literally in my DNA; yet I don’t know if I can continue. I would like to see more ‘concerned’ UUs chiming in.