Adding an Eighth Principle

Included as a point of reference: UUA version as of now
We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote:

journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.”

Canadian version:
“We, the member congregations of the Canadian Unitarian Council, covenant to affirm and promote: ‘Individual and communal action that accountably dismantles racism and other oppressions in ourselves and in our institutions.’

If we want to have a voice in this process as a Congregation, then we need to have as much discussion among members of LUUC as we are motivated to undertake. It may be that finding a consensus will be straightforward — but maybe not. If you are interested in participating in this process, please indicate in the comment area below, and we will proceed from there.

I suggest the report of the CUC Dismantling Racism Committee serve as the starting-point for our discussion:

https://cuc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/CUC-Dismantling-Racism-Final-Report.2021-05.pdf

Access the entire process that the CUC has outlined for approval here:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/16DEDgfJc8w1wDcpoBFxvQ8qSzEnLgwWOq2CvYTkf8Jc/edit

2 Responses to “Adding an Eighth Principle

  1. Hi Susan

    I have read your articles and thought about this over the past several days….. I must say I am not in favour of this being adopted as a Principle because to me this is not a Principle – it is a call to action, and I think it should be just that. It reminds me of the Welcoming Congregation discussions and process – it didn’t become a new Principle (it, like this one, is part of the Inherent Worth and Dignity of Every Person principle #1). Instead, congregations were resourced with suggested process, resolutions and actions to take to make the Welcoming Congregations happen. And they did (I think we lost 2 members in our process…). I think it is a waste of time to discuss whether this should be a Principle – instead I would want to see and hear concrete ACTIONS UU congregations and individuals could do to realize a more diverse understanding, and face to our congregations. Let’s get doing and stop all the blithering! And in Canada it should certainly include all people of colour with a strong focus on our First Nations we have ignored, neglected and abused for so long. I would rather work on the How to be an Ally list of actions than discuss this proposal.

  2. IT is reassuring to have Sheila’s endorsement that referring to a Call to Action as a principle is to embrace a linguistic gaffe. What is the reason why we want to insist on referring to a ‘Call for Action’ as a Principle? Perhaps because the UUA is doing so?

    The goal is the dismantling of racism. This does not require invoking another principle. If we were fully living out our seven principles, racism would be being dismantled. All the necessary admonishments are there.

    Read these words thoughtfully::
    We, the member congregations of the Canadian Unitarian Council, covenant to affirm and promote: “Individual and communal action that accountably dismantles racism and other oppressions in ourselves and in our institutions.”

    In what sense are these words a statement of a principle? They are a call to affirm and promote specific ACTIONS that our principles call upon us to undertake. Let us be clear about the distinction. Understanding that most of us are oblivious to our ‘white privilege’ does not involve espousing some 8th principle. It involves analyzing our own behavior. It involves rejecting deep seated assumptions about the artificially created concept of race – just as it was necessary to reject long held beliefs about human sexuality in normalizing perceptions of the LGBTQ members of our communities.

    What we need now is an inspirational Plan of Action for the current moment. The mantra that will break us from our automatic discomfort/evasive reactions as light-skinned North Americans interacting with people of color. We have impressive examples to follow: the process that leads to becoming a Welcoming Congregation, or the development of Reflection Guides for participating in the national Truth and Reconciliation process, provide models for what is needed to illicit effective action for dismantling racism. Enshrine what is working in a step-by-step process of reflections, interrogations and public actions.

    If we were to put aside insisting that another ‘principle’ is somehow necessary to dismantle racism, I posit that the major stumbling block to moving forward would disappear. I would be surprised if there is any Canadian UU congregation that would not agree to using the above covenant as a basis for a serious program of congregational action.

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