Release of Article II Language

The Article II Study Commission released its final version on October 31, 2023 of Article II language which will be presented to the UUA Board of Trustees for approval (expected) and then presented at the June 2024 General Assembly for a final vote. A two-thirds vote of congregational delegates will be required for adoption. You can download a PDF version.

There is Disagreement

There is a growing grassroots movement of UUs who have principled disagreement with the proposed language. A website, Save the 7 Principles, was launched with information that outlines the consequences to Unitarian Universalism if this proposed Article II language is adopted.

The Save the 7 Principles team has also established a mailing list so UUs can be informed and express interest in other actions they may wish to take to defeat the proposed language.

If you wish to participate in saving the Seven Principles and become involved in this crucial vote next year, please sign up for the Save the 7 Principles mailing list. This mailing list is different from the Fifth Principle Project mailing list.

The Save the 7 Principles mailing list will send you occasional emails so you can be informed and, hopefully, actively engage in saving the soul of Unitarian Universalism. The Fifth Principle Project encourages its members to add their names to the Save the 7 Principles mailing list.

We also encourage you to watch the 16-minute video Unitarian Universalism is at Risk of Losing its Soul that appeared on our October 28, 2023 Discussion post.

 

Register for Townhall Forum on Article II

The Fifth Principle Project will host a Townhall Forum to allow UUs to share their thoughts on the proposed language.

  • Date: Thursday, November 16, 2023
  • Time: 8:00 PM Eastern, 7:00 PM Central, 6:00 PM Mountain, 5:00 PM Pacific
  • Duration: 75 – 90 minutes

Pre-registration is required. Pre-register here.

All are welcome. However, if you wish to participate in the discussion, make a comment, or ask a question, you will be required to turn on your device camera and speak directly to the forum.

Notice: The Pre-registration Link will remain open until November 15. However, due to Zoom account restrictions, only the first 100 participants can be admitted to the forum.

Quick Review of Changes

  • Elimination of the Seven Principles
  • Removal of  the Six Sources
  • Abandonment of our denomination’s commitment to individual freedom of belief
  • Dropping from the Purpose of the Association “to serve the needs of member congregations”

Article II Purposes and Covenant

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,
  • to support and train leaders both lay and professional,
  • to foster lifelong faith formation and spiritual development,
  • to heal historic injustices,
  • to support and encourage the creation of new Unitarian Universalist communities, and
  • to advance our Unitarian Universalist values in the world.

The Unitarian Universalist Association will actively engage its members in the transformation of the world through liberating Love.

Section C-2.2. Values and Covenant.

As Unitarian Universalists, we covenant, congregation-to-congregation and through our Association, to support and assist one another in our ministries. We draw from our heritages of freedom, reason, hope, and courage, building on the foundation of love.

Love is the power that holds us together and is at the center of our shared values. We are accountable to one another for doing the work of living our shared values through the spiritual
discipline of Love.

Inseparable from one another, these shared values are:

Shared Unitarian Universalist Values

See Image Description.

Interdependence. We honor the interdependent web of all existence. With reverence for the great web of life and with humility, we acknowledge our place in it.

We covenant to protect Earth and all beings from exploitation. We will create and nurture sustainable relationships of care and respect, mutuality and justice. We will work to repair harm
and damaged relationships.

Pluralism. We celebrate that we are all sacred beings, diverse in culture, experience, and theology.

We covenant to learn from one another in our free and responsible search for truth and meaning. We embrace our differences and commonalities with Love, curiosity, and respect.

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 within our congregations, our Association, and society at large.

Transformation. We adapt to the changing world.

We covenant to collectively transform and grow spiritually and ethically. Openness to change is fundamental to our Unitarian and Universalist heritages, never complete and never perfect.

Generosity. We cultivate a spirit of gratitude and hope.

We covenant to freely and compassionately share our faith, presence, and resources. Our generosity connects us to one another in relationships of interdependence and mutuality.

Equity. We declare that every person has the right to flourish with inherent dignity and worthiness.

We covenant to use our time, wisdom, attention, and money to build and sustain fully accessible and inclusive communities.

Section C-2.3. Inspirations.

Direct experiences of transcending mystery and wonder are primary sources of Unitarian Universalist inspiration. These experiences open our hearts, renew our spirits, and transform our lives. We draw upon, and are inspired by, sacred, secular, and scientific understandings that help us make meaning and live into our values. These sources ground us and sustain us in ordinary, difficult, and joyous times. We respect the histories, contexts, and cultures in which these sources were created and are currently practiced. Grateful for the experiences that move us, aware of the religious ancestries we inherit, and enlivened by the diversity which enriches our faith, we are called to ever deepen and expand our wisdom.

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. 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 share our values. We commit to being an Association of congregations that empowers and enhances everyone’s participation, especially those with historically marginalized identities.

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.

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Jack Heidel
Jack Heidel
1 month ago

Adoption of Article II would mean the elimination of the 4th Principle: the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. This Principle is the basis of my own involvement in Unitarianism. I would be very unhappy to have it be discarded.

John Shea
John Shea
1 month ago
Reply to  Jack Heidel

Isn’t that language part of the “pluralism” section?

Steve Myles
Steve Myles
1 month ago
Reply to  John Shea

One could argue that the words are in there, but they are placed AFTER the words “we covenant to learn from one another”. That is clearly an effort to “center the voices” of minority folks. Though there is nothing wrong with that sentiment and one could argue that it is a good thing to do, it nevertheless places a condition on the word “free”. Can I no longer learn from nature or on my own? Free means no creeds, no preconceived beliefs and no one dictating from a higher authority. But there is catch. Our search for truth must be… Read more »

Jack Heidel
Jack Heidel
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Myles

Thanks for clarifying my comment. The 4th Principle words are there as part of a covenant. This does, as pointed out, restrict their meaning. The 4th Principle is more powerful as a stand alone statement without its meaning being restricted as part of a different context.

Mary Riddle
Mary Riddle
29 days ago
Reply to  Jack Heidel

I object to making Love the center. Why is Love capitalized throughout the rewrite? How does one practice “the spiritual discipline of Love?” Meditation, prayer, social action, liking every one we meet, agreeing with whatever the UUA or the congregation adopts, saying the word “Love” every night before going to sleep? Who or what are we supposed to Love? Since one goal is transforming the world through the liberating practice of Love, it seems that we are to Love everything and everybody–even those who are exploitative, violent, racist, resistant to our transformation of the world, or out of covenant. If… Read more »

Bill Baar
Bill Baar
29 days ago
Reply to  Mary Riddle

Have the authors defined “Love” any where? As I recall from Sunday school ancient Greeks a few different words we tend to lump into one word.

Bill Jordan
Bill Jordan
1 month ago

The adoption of these changes would rip the heart out of Unitarian Universalism. We would no longer be a free religion, emphasizing the inherent worth and dignity of every person, with freedom of belief and freedom of conscience core values. We would become a communalist religion in which the individual is submerged within and subject to the community. That is the fundamental debate.

John Eichtodt
John Eichtodt
1 month ago

I wish first to thank those who manage this web site for the opportunity to be well and timely informed.

I hope against hope that the 7 principles and 6 sources will be saved. They embody the core of our UU faith. They have served as a lighthouse and unifying symbol for generations of UUs. May they continue to do so.

Amanda Aikman
Amanda Aikman
1 month ago
Reply to  John Eichtodt

Hear, hear!

Aspen Basaldua
Aspen Basaldua
1 month ago

This new language is very vague and subjective as well as overtly controlling. It mentions little too nothing about what they mean by freedom. Plus each principle seems to follow up a commandment like call to action. By using covenant after every section. Alarming how little individual freedom and belief is mentioned. Also I am not sure what inclusive democratic process mean? Isn’t voting already inclusive isn’t debate and making ones case enough.

These new principles are watered-down anti intellectual commandments not open endless well written aspirations.I am appalled by this gross mischaracterization of our once liberal religion.

Last edited 1 month ago by Aspen Basaldua
Margot Haynes
Margot Haynes
29 days ago
Reply to  Aspen Basaldua

Whether there is a God, here on earth great mischief lies in who defines and enforces the “covenant”! Accountability = to one’s own conscience and not to BIPOC or any other supposed group(think).

Bill Baar
Bill Baar
29 days ago
Reply to  Margot Haynes

The author’s use of Accountability is my biggest obstacle with the rewrite.

Margot Haynes
Margot Haynes
1 month ago

I am particularly troubled, as commented by the editor, that there is no UUA forum to discuss these over the next 6 months in preparation for GA. Also, this year, General Assembly is only online, not in person, allowing for the changes to be more easily rammed down our throats. How to organize UUS around the country to be well-informed about this awful change and to reject it by having their delegates vote against it at GA?

Ann
Ann
1 month ago

UU will be known as the Church of Word Salad

Margot Haynes
Margot Haynes
1 month ago
Reply to  Ann

Perfect comment, Ann!

Amanda Aikman
Amanda Aikman
1 month ago
Reply to  Ann

UU won’t be known at all. This is its death-knell.

Bill Baar
Bill Baar
29 days ago
Reply to  Ann

And rightly so

John Helmers
John Helmers
1 month ago

The most significant change from the existing Article II for UUs is the change from a covenant between the congregations and the UUA to a covenant between the individual member and the UUA. This occurs in “Section C-2.2. Values and Covenant. As Unitarian Universalists, we covenant, congregation-to-congregation and through our Association, to support and assist one another in our ministries.” As there are no other qualifying statements in the remaining covenants included in the later sections, I read the “we” in those further covenants the be the individual members. This changes the relationship of the members and the UUA to… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by John Helmers
Amanda Aikman
Amanda Aikman
1 month ago
Reply to  John Helmers

Excellent point.
I’m so depressed.

Mary Riddle
Mary Riddle
29 days ago

The 7 principles avoid the need for the specificity cited in my previous comment by avoiding the adoption of a creed or accountability.

Shaun Allen
Shaun Allen
29 days ago

Several comments here note the apparent vagueness of the centering value of “Love.” But the intention is fleshed out by the accompanying covenant:

We are accountable to one another for doing the work of living our shared values through the spiritual discipline of Love.

My interpretation: what is really meant by “Love” is accountability, cancel culture, “doing the work,” and party discipline–it’s a rather Orwellian invocation.

Last edited 29 days ago by Shaun Allen
Jim
Jim
28 days ago
Reply to  Shaun Allen

The Ministry of Love was the truly frightening one – 1984

Frank Casper
Frank Casper
28 days ago
Reply to  Jim

That is the perfect reference. Thanks.

Frank Casper
Admin
23 days ago

From a devoted UU There are two states of being a Unitarian Universalist: ● Being “In Covenant” ● Being “Out-of-Covenant” A single word, a phrase, an indiscreetly raised eyebrow or a smirk, noticed by a self-appointed expert of what is disrespectful to an officially designated marginalized group, can be all it takes to be transformed from one state of being a UU to the other. Once you have come to be identified as existing in a state of being out of covenant, you will stand accused and be condemned. Like Kafka’s Josef K, you may never know your accusers. There… Read more »

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