Guest Contributor – Julie Hotard
Last November, I attended a Fifth Principle Project Discussion Forum (Oct 25, 2022) about the need to save the Seven Principles. The forum was attended by many people who share the same values as notable Unitarians, Universalists, and UUs. Many UUs are simply unaware of how many diverse and bright lights UU congregations have attracted.
There was a feeling of electricity from all the brilliant, caring, and insightful people ready to make constructive things happen. Talking with them and listening, I envisioned us teaming up over time to save the Seven Principles together.
There was so much strength in the people and their interactions.
How to Keep the Energy Going
Then I panicked. “Oh, no. As soon as this Zoom session ends, the interconnections among these people are gone!” I wanted these brilliant people to keep putting their heads together for our common goals.
I decided to connect us all. I put my email address in the Zoom chat so anyone who wanted could email me and join an email list. Many did!
Some volunteered to give out my email at other Zoom sessions where I wouldn’t be present or to people at their congregations who wanted to save the principles.
Thus the UU inter-congregational email list was born. Ever since I’ve been amazed at the members’ talent.
From the beginning, I didn’t want to limit our projects to only the ones I could lead as an individual. I encouraged people to start their own projects with others on the list.
One member pulled together a group of us to do a Zoom conference with a stimulating panel discussion of strategies to inform and work with our congregations to help save the principles. Some people also delve together into understanding and clarifying the latest little-known and mystifying decisions and practices by the UUA.
We give each other reports from our congregations on what we’ve been doing to inform them and to find 7P-friendly delegates to go to General Assembly in June this year. We discuss the obstacles we stumble upon and give each other suggestions on what else we can do to attain our goals.
It’s great to put our heads together to figure out how to approach the different types—depending on how open or aware they may be. We’re also documenting and figuring out how to deal with the gaslighting that is being done by illiberal leadership at some congregations.
Some of our list members have been chosen as General Assembly delegates. Others are communicating their concerns to any open-minded delegates who’ve been chosen. Others are trying to see if they can get congregation-wide votes on the Article II revision proposal—to inform delegates of the wishes of their congregation.
People even appear on Zoom discussions at each other’s congregations to explain our concerns with the proposed revision.
Join the UU Inter-Congregational Email List
If you would like to join the UU Inter-Congregational Email List to help save the Seven Principles, just email me at julie.hotard at gmail dot com. Give me your full name and let me know that you are interested in saving the Seven Principles. Also, let me know which congregation you are in or have been associated with in the past.
Saving the Seven Principles Website
Perhaps our finest achievement is our website for publishing documents to inform congregants of issues with the Article II Revision proposal and the need to save the Seven Principles. Visit the Saving the Seven Principles website.
Below is a list of articles on the website’s home page. These articles have been highlighted because they help to inform you and other UUs about the proposed Article II changes.
- Current vs Proposed. A side-by-side comparison (just the facts, no opinions) of the current UU principles and bylaws vs. what has been proposed.
- Pro/Con Review. This document can be used to introduce people to what is happening. It summarizes the primary arguments for and against Article II changes.
- A Brief Commentary. This commentary is a compilation of concerns from Save the UU Principles Discussion Group.
- Why Retain the UU Principles? An in-depth discussion making the case for retaining our Principles and Sources.
- Detailed Analysis. A line-by-line examination and commentary on the proposed changes.
Visit the Website
The Saving the Seven Principles website is curated by a talented group of individuals, including Lincoln Baxter, Karen Brown, Kenneth Ing, Anne Schneider, Patricia Mohr, Barbara Kidney, Susan McWethy, and Jim Anderson. Steven Myles created the artwork.
I’m bursting with pride to be associated with these folks and what they have created.
How to Use the Website
Please visit our website and consider how you might use it to inform your congregation or UUs you know in other congregations. If you have a Facebook page or other website to which fellow UUs travel, you are free to put a link to our website or any of the articles there.
UUs can use the website to print handouts or send links to congregants—for example, before or after congregational discussions on Article II—or any time a congregant expresses a desire to be informed.
Of course, the most important use is reading and committing some of the articles’ points to memory. None of us wants to be caught flat-footed in discussions. Also, many people don’t read much because they’re busy. Or they read a lot due to their responsibilities and are reluctant to read more. Also, some people are more likely to be persuaded by personal conversations rather than entirely by reading.
UUism has made vast contributions to our world during our history due to its unique status as a very open-minded liberal religion. Reverend Kate Rohde calls this “UU Classic.” Please feel free to use the material on the website to help save classic UUism. That way, we can all keep sharing its many benefits.
Two Important Things
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Join the Fifth Principle Project. It’s free. The Fifth Principle Project is an organic grassroots initiative to gather into community Unitarian Universalists who want to reinvigorate the right of conscience and renew the democratic process in the governing of our denomination.
I’m so glad that the 5th Principle Project hosted that Open Forum via Zoom last November, because it enabled me to find out about the UUA Board’s plan to basically ditch the eloquent and elegant 7 Principles and 6 Sources statement, and replace it with something that to my mind is remarkably inferior and even at times muddled. Although I had been very active in a local UU congregation for a year, I had heard nothing about that plan (I had taken a break from active UUism from 2011 til 2021). From that Forum and the listserv that Julie Hotard… Read more »
Thanks, Barbara, for sharing your experiences on our UU Inter-Congregational email list, and for sharing the kinds of concerns that we are facing and trying to deal with together. It’s great having you on the email list discussions.
The new Article II proposal has some vague hints that refer to all the existing 7 principles except one; Principle #6 which calls on us to affirm and promote The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all. As a matter of fact, the UUA has already deleted this principle. All international programs have been eliminated. No more UU office at the United Nations, no more Every Child is Our Child program in Ghana, no more international Conference of Unitarians and Universalists, no more Partner Church Council. No engagement with UUs around the world and no engagement… Read more »
Thanks for sharing this info, Bruce. It concerns me that some UUs are still donating to UU international programs that no longer exist because UUA stopped them.
Thanks so much to Julie Hotard and all of the thoughtful folks who have pooled their many talents to help preserve Article 2 with its brilliantly crafted statement of UU Principles, Sources, and Purposes. In contrast, I do not think that UUA leaders or the current Article 2 Commission clearly understand the value of what they are planning to replace. Here’s some evidence: Several years ago I was startled to discover that there had been no UUA effort to translate Article 2 from English into any language other than Spanish (an important first step, to be sure). No one had thought to commission… Read more »
Thanks, Rev. Craig, for this info about what else the UUA is doing–or actually, stopping.
How do I get to the Saving the Seven Principles web site?
Just go to https://savethe7principles.com/
I am so glad to be a part of this group of UUs who want to keep classic UUism as a liberal religion that goes beyond social justice. Julie saw a need & stepped up—and I’m so glad she did! Go to the web site to read the papers covering all the issues surrounding this re-write of Article II. Yes, we’re upset to lose our 7 principles, but we’re just as deeply concerned about the change in governance & the imposing of creeds (sorry, “covenants” that will be enforced). You will hear only the pro side of this proposal from… Read more »
Definitely agree, Pat. It’s great to have you on the email list and the web site team. Yes, there is a bounty of information and perspectives there on the web site, about what we’ll lose if we lose the 7 Principles–if the Article 2 Revision passes. If it were to pass, the nature of UUA and its relationship to the congregations would change radically in a way that would make the whole Unitarian Church a lot more of a top-down organizatioin.
I am so glad you are here to fight for us conservatives who are in or used to be in the UU world.
Gotta fight against that woke agenda !
Woke is not a word that I use. It is used by large groups of people to mean totally different things.
I also am fighting to preserve UU’s 7 Principles–not fighting for any particular national political camp.
I don’t know, but my guess is this post is trolling.
Probably so. Thanks for noting that, Amanda.
Sometimes people believe trolls. So that is why I wanted to make it clear to others who might read the comments, what the email list and its associated web site are about. They’re about saving the 7 Principles–and thus saving Classic UUism, with our long held freedoms of speech and expression, and the other values contained in our Principles and our current Article 2.
I am dead serious. Woke-ism is very much what is happening in liberal churches.
There is no equality in identity politics. This is something “wokeism” shares with right-wing politics. That, in a nutshell, is the concern of this page. We are not in the business of arguing that cis white folk are any more entitled to lead than any other race or gender.
Yep. The liberal progressive “woke left” is functionally the same as the KKK or Richard Spencer.
Good work Julie and all of you involved.
Very necessary and important work being done to save the 7 Principles that convinced me the join the local UU congregation and gave me hope in having an honest open-hearted and open-minded personal exploration of spiritual pursuits.