We are asking our Fifth Principle Project’s 625 members to take advantage of an opportunity to provide feedback to the Article II Study Commission. The proposed Article II language will face a preliminary vote at the June 2023 General Assembly in just a few weeks. There is now a process by which specific proposed language can be questioned and alternate language provided.
To submit feedback to the Article II Study Commission, follow this link. Any UU may submit feedback. “Each suggestion or idea should describe specific language changes to the proposal, explain the reason, and be limited to a single section of Article II. Individuals may submit multiple suggestions and ideas.”
The timeframe to submit feedback is April 1 – 30. After April 15, “all qualifying suggestions” (whatever that means) will be posted publicly at discuss.uua.org. We suggest you bookmark this webpage. You do not need a login profile to submit feedback, but a login profile is needed to participate in future discussions. All are encouraged to get a discuss.uua.org profile. Go to discuss.uua.org and select the Sign Up button at the top of the screen
The feedback submission form will request the following:
- Email (not posted publicly)
- Phone Number
- All suggestions should be based on the Article II Study Commission’s proposal.
- What is your suggestion or idea? Please show text to be deleted, replaced, or new text to be added, and limit each suggestion to a single section of the proposal.
- What is the reason for your amendment idea? Imagine you were giving an explanation to the General Assembly.
- Have you discussed this idea with your congregation or other UUs? If so, please describe who you have talked to and their response(s).
- Do you have a profile on discuss.uua.org? If so, what is your username?
You may also upload a document.
Share Your Comments Here
We ask those who provide feedback to the Article II Study Commission also add a Comment to this post with the details or the gist of your submitted feedback.
The Big Question: Why is Article II Being Rewritten?
The proposed rewrite of Article II, our Principles, Sources, statements of belief, etc., should be judged on how well the new language addresses the problem that sparked the revisions. It is on this critical “why” question that the Article II Study Commission has been inconsistent. The Fifth Principle Project asked the Commission the following question: “What are the top three issues discussed regarding deficiencies in the current language of Article II?” The Commission’s official response was, “Over the years, the UUA has expressed concerns that the principles are too long and wordy and not poetic or memorable.” Let’s consider this “too long and wordy” problem: current Seven Principles—95 words, proposed Values and Covenant—300 words.
We found other reasons on the A2SC Frequently Asked Question web page under the question “Why Change Article II now?” Here are some excerpts.
- The digital age has shifted our interactions with community and truth.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted our interdependence and where individualism falls short.
- There is a rise in global autocracies and attacks on democratic institutions, and climate catastrophes and mass extinctions threaten the delicate balance of the web of life.
Are these reasons sufficiently compelling to rewrite Article II?
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Suggestion Section C-2-2 Values and Covenant Justice. We work to be diverse multicultural Beloved Communities where all thrive. We covenant to dismantle racism and all forms of systemic oppression. We support the use of inclusive democratic processes to make decisions. Democracy. We value that every voice deserves a vote as a means of self-expression and collective participation in our congregations and society. We covenant to protect and extend the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large. Reason Democracy is a form of governance that Unitarian Universalists have long embraced.… Read more »
I will have more to say regarding the questions on the rest of the form, but I want to open with the first request it makes, “suggestion or idea.” This is a draft of what I want to offer. Out of all the words generated by the multiple versions of the proposed changes, there is only one paragraph that conforms to your agenda and that of the UUA. Slightly edited, it is the following: Section C-2.4. Inclusion. Systems of power, privilege, and oppression have traditionally created barriers for persons and groups with particular identities, ages, abilities, and histories. This includes… Read more »
I find these statements, supposedly in answer to “why change Article 2 now,” to be absolutely ridiculous– as they are in fact non-reasons for changing Article 2: The digital age has shifted our interactions with community and truth.The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted our interdependence and where individualism falls short.There is a rise in global autocracies and attacks on democratic institutions, and climate catastrophes and mass extinctions threaten the delicate balance of the web of life. [End of quote]Of course, ironically, seems to me Article 2 is being proposed to be drastically changed out of the rise of UUA autocracy and… Read more »
I feel the dissection within UUA May be the reason there is only one candidate for President. To me, that seems a separate issue from other evidence of autocracy in UUA leadership.
I meant dissensions
I feel the draconian and sudden change implemented by the UUA Board in which presidential candidates have to get 50 congregations to back them, in 2 months time, and cannot even put out feelers to congregations before that 2 month window, has made it impossible for anyone but the Nom Comm’s chosen candidates to actually become a candidate. And I find that to be a democracy-killing and autocratic decision. Just my opinion.
There’s only one candidate because there’s dissent within UU?
Perhaps some people should look up in the dictionary the definition of “democratic processes.” It’s not: “When all UUs agree with us, then we’ll allow a second candidate.”
what I meant, David, was that nobody wanted the job in the midst of all this controversy. I agree that competing candidates would be desirable, but maybe nobody else really wanted this hot potato?
The most revealing question on the form is “why are we only just hearing about this?” The fact that this was a frequently asked question is an indictment on the lack of awareness and participation by the UU population writ large. Communications to the congregations depended on leaders in the congregation acting on the requests from the Article II Study Commission for feedback on surveys regarding our existing principles. The Study Commission gives no indication of the percent of congregations that submitted feedback. Communications to the congregations never mentioned that the proposal was to replace all the principles at once.… Read more »
I’m having a problem establishing a login on https://discuss.uua.org/. They tell me they are sending me an email to activate my account but after a half dozen or so tries it is clear the email is not coming. There is no indication on the site of who to consult.
Having the same problem. Completed the Sign Up form on discuss.uua.org. Did not received email to confirm my email address. Checked Spam. Asked for Resend. Still nothing.
This lack of a logon id does not prevent people from submitting feedback. Hopefully, people will take this opportunity to send feedback to the A2 Commission. Please post your feedback as a Comment on this Discussion post.
I was able to email the admin. He claims the email is being blocked on my side. Called ATT&T. The did some hokus pocus but no cigar. Gonna try another email address, which is the other thing the admin suggested.
You people really like to hear yourselves talk and post shit on the net.
Maybe use some of the energy you are spewing here to actually help people.
Our sincere apologies, dis gusted. It is not often we are visited by an anonymous paragon of virtue such as yourself. 🙄
When I used a gmail.com account, the sign-up process worked.
My suggestions were to put the word “serve” back into the Purpose of the UUA section, and in the Equity section, I wrote words that stated clearly that everyone has inherent worth and dignity. (The current proposal says we have the “right to live with inherent worth and dignity” which makes no grammatical or philosophical sense). In the section where I gave reasoning for my suggestion, I gave detailed reasons based on the evolution UU theology, and also mentioned that many people will vote against article II because they feel voting for it will be a tacit approval of the… Read more »
Jerry, thank you for submitting feedback to the A2 group and posting your suggestions.
Article 2 with its 7 Principles, 6 Sources, etc., has been the core of UU language—our language—for roughly 40 years. Though it could use a couple of small (and significant) tweaks, it has served and continues to serve us well. So why the sudden urgency–not just to review and improve–but to change it completely? Disorientation by changing language By now we have all heard how colonizers seek to deprive the colonized of their own language. (U.S. and Canadian Indian Schools are a good example.) Assuring that the colonized themselves achieve fluent mastery of a new language (like English) is never the real… Read more »
In her essay Language as an Instrument of Totalitarianism, Alexandra Kapelos-Peters writes: “In order to maintain its power, George Orwell claims, a political regime uses language to produce a reduced state of individual consciousness in its residents. As it structures and places limits on ideas that an individual is capable of forming, language is established as a type of mind-control for the masses. The primary purpose of political language is to eliminate individual thought and expression.”
And political theorist Saul Alinksy famously said, “He who controls the language controls the masses.”
Link: Language as an Ideological Tool
Thanks, David, for contributing to the discussion these great quotes that describe well what UUA and the Article 2 Commission are trying to do to our congregations right now.
Regarding the weaponization of language, here is a document from the other side of the political spectrum regarding language. Of course authoritarians are authoritarians first–and only liberals or conservatives secondarily or even accidentally. The only difference really is the ideology that is used to gaslight people into submission.
Authoritarianism is a matter of psychology not politics, with authoritarianism existing within both the extreme left and right. Separate psychology studies at Emory University and the University of Montana showed that authoritarians on left and right share similar personality traits.
How Extremes within the Right and Left Mirror Each Other (substack.com)
Authoritarianism is a matter of both psychology and politics. Authoritarians have similar traits. And authoritarianism is a very effective means to political ends.
Thanks for the reference. I’ll take a look.
Authoritarians are authoritarians. It’s just a truth of the world.
It is not authoritarian for a minority member to demand better treatment.
I think this group is engaging in projection when it tells the vocal minorities that they are authoritarian because we want to be treated better.
It is not the position of the Fifth Principle Project that minorities are authoritarian because they want to be treated better. Never was. Never will be.
The UUA’s position of wanting to eradicate the 7 Principles is so indefensible– The only way people are able to defend it, is by resorting to lying, deceiving and manipulating people.
It’s become a fad on the right to make a straw man out of Saul Alinsky. Us on the left generally don’t respect him at all.
The cancellation of ‘The Chicks” for speaking out against the Iraq war showed how the right is also a fan of cancelling folks they disagree with. For the most part the right pioneered the use of doxxing and canceling.
The anti-abortion movement really brought doxxing into the public eye with their “Neuremburg files” site where they posted the addresses of people working at abortion clinics.
Article II Feedback Submitted Submitted feedback on Section C-2.3. Inspirations, striking the narrative paragraphs and offering our enumerated list of Sources be restored. Reason Unfortunately, the Article II Study Commission has eliminated the enumerated list of Sources. The 2009 Article II Commission also replaced the list of Sources with narrative paragraphs and met with strong disapproval. Unitarian Universalism is home to a wide diversity of beliefs. Our Sources are a public statement of those beliefs. Our Sources support our Principles. The breath of our Sources from Jewish, Christian, humanist, earth-centered, and other teachings demonstrate our acceptance of one another… Read more »
Section C-2.3. Inclusion. Systems of power, privilege, and oppression have traditionally created barriers for persons and groups with particular identities, ages, abilities, and histories. We pledge to replace such barriers with ever-widening circles of solidarity and mutual respect. We strive to be an association of congregations that truly welcome all persons and commit to structuring congregational and associational life in ways that empower and enhance everyone’s participation. Section C-2.3. Statement of Welcome The Association affirms its special responsibility and that of its member congregations to welcome and promote the full participation of all people regardless of religious backgrounds and beliefs,… Read more »
Section C-2.5. Freedom of belief. Congregational freedom and the individual’s right of conscience are central to our Unitarian Universalist heritage. Congregations may establish statements of purpose, covenants, and bonds of union so long as they do not require that members adhere to a particular creed. Section C-2.5. Freedom of Belief. Nothing herein shall be deemed to infringe upon the individual freedom of belief which is inherent in the Universalist and Unitarian heritages or to conflict with any statement of purpose, covenant, or bond of union used by any congregation unless such is used as a creedal test. Reason The rewrite… Read more »
Response to the Proposed New Article II I oppose the proposed Revision of Article II of the UUA Constitution for two reasons. While it proposes the affirmation of several attractive values, it fundamentally changes our Association of congregations without having asked the congregations if they wanted such a change—a procedure that ignores our fifth Principle, commitment to democratic processes. My two reasons go to the heart of Unitarian Universalist identity: First, the proposal replaces the covenant of congregations by which the UUA is constituted (in keeping with our tradition of “congregational polity”) with a covenant of individuals (those who consider themselves Unitarian… Read more »
I am very considered about what is happening to the UU Church. I hear members are being attacked emotionally and verbally hen they disagree with the direction the UU Church is going. I left after a thirty year membership because I questioned what they were saying in that because you are white, this automatically makes you a white supremacist and a racist. I’m hearing now that things have become worse. Is the UU Church becoming a cult. Is Free Speech not allowed anymore?
There is an effort from uua currently that some may feel is cult-like. I feel they are just misguided in wanting an overbearing tie to social justice, especially racial justice, rather than allowing each UU to find their own way in the social justice labyrinth. Many of us are not part of the cult-like language and attitudes, treasuring the true diversity in the UU tradition. Please, Joan, do not judge us all but know that there is a vote coming up during which, I hope, the 7 principles will be preserve as they are today.
All that talk about “de-centering” white people turns me off.
Suggestion: Scrap the process and start fresh.
Reason: The removal of the 7 principles other than small inclusions in the comments below the basic graphic is just too much of a change. No mention of democratic principles, humanism, science or reason (other than as heritage- in the past only?) and the expansion of religious sounding terms such as covenant and beloved community is very irritating to me as an atheist. I’m sure a lot of work went into this, but I’m afraid the process needs to start over as far as I’m concerned.
My preference is to stay with the current Principles and Sources statements. They are succinct and encompass what UUism means to me. I can read them and understand them. I do believe there is the need for updates in the principles and sources. Among those includes growing the sense of democratic process (principle 5) to be more inclusive and not the 51%-49% that often happens in our churches to leave 49% out. The fourth source should be explanded to include Buddhism, Hunduism, and Islam. I have read and reread the proposed revisions to Article II and still have little clarity… Read more »
On the whole, I think that the proposed Article II revision should just be voted down, as I think the probability of them being amended to be better is very low. However, I have suggested amendments to various sections that try to do the following: (1) Make it clear that the covenants are between congregations, and are not binding on individual UUs; (2) Emphasize individual rights, including the right to dissent, and emphasize that diversity includes diversity of perspectives as well as ethnic and racial diversity. (3) Specifically calls on the UUA to make sure that it welcomes a diversity… Read more »
Suggested amendment to Article II Sectino C-2-1. This is as I have revised it — I can’t figure out how to do this as marked up version. Purpose: scale back the top-down nature of current draft, and make it clear that UUA serves congregations, who in turn seek to empower individuals in congregations. The original version is a bit grandiose in the role it imagines for the UUA in transforming the world. The revised version makes it clear that people choose their own individual paths. Section C-2.1. Purposes. The Unitarian Universalist Association will use its resources and powers for religious,… Read more »
For the values and covenant section, I do significant revisions to almost every paragraph. I make it clear that this is a covenant between congregations, not between individual UUs. I try to define what the terms “love” and “accountablity” mean, I make it clear that diversity includes a diversity of perspectives, which should be welcomed. I also call on the UUA to maximize participation in its decision-makings. Note: below is this section WITH MY SUGGESTED REVISIONS. To see all the changes requires doing side by side with current draft from Commission. Section C-2.2. Values and Covenant. As Unitarian Universalist congregations,… Read more »
For article II C-4, Inclusion The purpose here in the amendment is to add in including different perspectives. And specifically the UUA is called on to use its communications media to reflect the diversity of both IDENTITIES and PERSPECTIVES. Here is my AMENDED version: Section C-2.4 Inclusion. Systems of power, privilege, and oppression have traditionally created barriers for persons and groups with particular identities, ages, abilities, histories, and perspectives. We pledge to replace such barriers with ever-widening circles of solidarity and mutual respect. We strive to be an association of congregations that truly welcome all persons who broadly share our… Read more »
Below is suggested amended version of Article II C-5, Freedom of Belief Basic idea here is to empahsize that freedom and the right of conscience are not just history, but are a continued guiding principle, which should be upheld by the UUA Board and UUA affiliated organizations. Proposed amended version: Section C-2.5 Freedom of belief Congregational freedom and the individual’s right of conscience are central to our Unitarian Universalist heritage. We need not think alike to love alike. Therefore, nothing in these Bylaws should be interpreted in a way that infringes upon the freedom of congregations and individual members to make… Read more »
Thanks to all who have submitted recommended changes to Article II. It was indicated that changes submitted via the A2SC form would be posted on discuss.uua.org after April 14. Today is April 17, and still, nothing has been posted. Once we see postings on discuss.uua.org, we will publish a new Discussion post that will be distributed to our membership.
The form is not structured to accept higher-level comments such as “the whole process should be scrapped.” Still, the collective impact of comments on specific elements of the proposed language will allow others to draw such higher-level conclusions.
Sign up for UUA Board-sponsored Article II amendment discussion workshops. We encourage all Fifth Principle Project members to sign up now. “Every voice deserves a vote,” but you have to show up to have your voice heard. Amendment Discussion Workshop #1 Thursday, May 11, 2023 7pm ET / 6pm CT / 5pm MT / 4pm PT Register now for the May 11th workshop. 6 Amendment Discussion Workshop #2 Thursday, May 18, 2023 7pm ET / 6pm CT / 5pm MT / 4pm PT Register now for the May 18th workshop. 6 Amendment Discussion Workshop #3 Sunday, May 21, 2023 4pm ET / 3pm CT / 2pm… Read more »
Section C-2.1. Purposes. The Unitarian Universalist Association will devote its resources to and use its organizational powers for religious, educational, and humanitarian purposes. Its primary purposes are to assist congregations in their vital ministries, support and train leaders both lay and professional, to foster lifelong faith formation, to heal historic injustices, and to advance our Unitarian Universalist values in the world. Section C-2.1. Purposes. The primary purpose of the Association is to serve the needs of its member congregations, organize new congregations, extend, and strengthen Unitarian Universalist institutions and implement its principles. Reason Every Unitarian Universalist should be alarmed… Read more »
saw a u-tube video by ken ing, about his views on atricle II. all debate aside the damm thing should be voted down. what won’t happen is a defenestration of the uua of the the twits that started this. it will be years, a decade, before this mess sorts itself. and those that started it? they will be wondering ‘what happened? what did we do? why did it go wrong?’
Thank you for paying attention and posting the feedback form !
I see they are now posting comments and appear to be including posts from here including mine. A little glimmer of hope at least.
Post a lot, that way we can look like we are not just a tiny angry minority.
That is among the characterizations advanced by the proponents of the changes desired by UU leadership. It’s related to their charge that we are MAGA types, or some kind of right wing rage. It’s crap. Besides, anger is not an illegitimate response to those who are telling us our historic commitment to Enlightenment values is nothing more that white racism.
I just filled in the form asking for comments on the proposed rewrite. I found the filling in format difficult to follow. I did what I could and asked that the original sections be maintained for many of the reasons given already on this site. I am indeed grateful for the information you have given us steadily over the last months. Below is the small brief I sent in favor of keeping our principles. They reflect also my own feelings and thoughts. In faith, John Eichodt. Proposed Section C 2.2 Values and Covenant. This should be deleted and replaced with the present 7 principles and purposes. … Read more »
John, thank you for this thoughtful submission. I recommend you also review the latest Discussion post (https://fifthprincipleproject.org/2023/04/24/the-game-is-afoot/).
You will see other people support your position.