University Unitarian Church (Seattle, WA) 8231
What is your suggestion or idea?
power, privilege, and oppression transcendence, connection, and hope have traditionally created barriers for persons and groups with particular identities, ages, abilities, and histories served to bring people together into. We pledge to replace such barriers with ever-widening circles of solidarity and mutual respect. We pledge to do our part in this process. 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 who have been left out.
What is the reason for your amendment idea?
The UU tradition is one more institution that humans have invented in order to help us get along better. We’re part of a long, positive effort.
The phrase ““historically marginalized identities”” is jargon, and it’s people who get marginalized not identities.
Have you discussed this idea with your congregation or other UUs?
Online, with mixed results. One UU was shocked at the idea that we would say something positive in this space.
Your recommended changes starts the process to remove the unwelcoming language. Thanks for your feedback on this section. Hopefully more people wil share your effort to put more welcome into Article II.
I agree about the jargon!
I don’t exactly object to the “positive” language - in fact I sort of like it - but I do want to comment on it:
I feel that we shouldn’t focus ONLY on the positive - whether it be here in Inclusion or in other Sections like Interdependence or Justice.
I think we need to notice, understand, and acknowledge the negative in order to try to balance it with the positive. I don’t think our current Principles & Sources do that enough. The only two examples of negative that I can find are in the Sources: “prophets who confront Evil,” and “warnings against idolatries”.
I think that a lack in our current Principles of noticing, understanding, and acknowledging the negative is ones one reason some people have felt the need for an 8th Principle, and now we have an entire Proposed Revision.
I love this idea as well as much of the language. The text of your actual amendment idea seems to lack coherence in some places. Maybe there was an issue with merging the amendments into the original? In other words, terrific idea which needs some polishing …
For example, does it make sense to say "Systems of transcendence, connection and hope? What is a “system of hope?” In the second sentence you have “such barriers” without an antecedant.
How about this as a possible re-working:
Throughout history, transcendence, connection and hope have brought people together in spite of their differences. We pledge to both affirm difference and celebrate common humanity as we build ever-widening circles of solidarity and mutual respect. We strive to be etc., etc.,
I like everything from here to the end. I particularly like your removal of all the jargon.
I also agree with the striking of “share our values.” The last thing we want to do is approach newcomers with suspicion: “Do they really share our values?” Kind of off-putting.
I love this amendment idea and much of the language. I appreciate the removal of the jargon.
How about this re-write of your first three sentences:
“Transcendence, connection and hope have historically helped people overcome their differences and create ever-widening circles of solidarity and mutual respect. We pledge to do our part in this process.”
I like the changes you are suggesting. I particularly like the word transcendence.
Yeah, “systems of hope” is weird. My rewrite needs a little work.
I like your suggestion that we should balance good and bad better than my rewrite did
NO!! Your amendment would mean that someone in my congregation could tell me I must accept any Nazi that chose to visit my congregation & that is absolutely unacceptable. Your amendment not only doesn’t move us forward in our fight against injustice, but by deleting the words “power, privilege and oppression’” & “created barriers for persons and groups with particular identities, ages, abilities, and histories” all of which are in our current Artricle II, you would move our justice work back to pre-1985 times.
I love your approach toward the positive (transcendence, connection, and hope) rather than the negative jargon terms popular with those who are rewriting our Article 2 (systems of power). Those negative trendy terms are more than just jargon, but would introduce a kind of spiritual corruption into UUism.
This needs a rewrite to be intelligible. Removing the strikeouts and including the suggested replacement language, the first two sentences of this proposed amendment read:
“Systems of transcendence, connection, and hope have traditionally served to bring people into. We pledge to replace such barriers with ever-widening circles of solidarity and mutual respect.”
Bring people into what? And, since the mention of barriers has been removed from the first sentence, what barriers are referred to in the second paragraph?
Also, I object to term “transcendent” without explanation, as it’s often, if not most often, used, in religious contexts to mean transcending space, time, and the material world. Not all Unitarian Universalists hold something transcendent, in this sense, is in the realm of what’s real.
You’re right. The formatting is wrong, and there’s an extra word that needs to be cut. Here’s the proposed text: “Systems of transcendence, connection, and hope have traditionally served to bring people together. We pledge to do our part in this process. We strive to be an association of congregations that truly welcome all persons. We commit to being an association of congregations that empowers and enhances everyone’s participation, especially those who have been left out.”
I’d be happy to ditch “transcendence”.
Maybe you’re right. The “power” narrative that you value, however, derives from critical theory, and most UUs seem to be liberals, not critical theorists.
Thank you, Jonathan. That makes so much more sense. (I should add that I appreciate your inclusion of the current Article II text, and use of strikeouts and bold to show your changes. Where folks haven’t included the current text, I’m finding it much harder to make comparisons, so I’m grateful when people do.)
I like the move toward the positive. Our congregation and UU generally is rife with negativity these days. Let’s emphasize the positive. I specifically agree with eliminating the words “who share our values.” At our church, we say, “whoever you are and wherever you come from, this church welcomes you.” That’s EVERYONE. We welcome them there. Some complain about welcoming NAZIs, but I say let them come. I have faith that we will convince some of them or our ways. The rest will leave. Don’t exclude anyone.
I did a better job of answering this as part of my comment to suggestion #202
Overall I would prefer that the value of Inclusion remain mostly intact. I do not feel negative about sharing this value. For me, it has integrity and
brings people together in a hearty way. I would add the word "solidarity somewhere " (and so it is - so less to ask for)
This suggestion 107 might be merged with suggestion 21 to remove racism. Which I also respectfully disagree with as stated in comments.
proposed ammended Inclusion.
I would agree that “who share our values” seems abrupt (although unlikely intended to be) and along the lines of Kara’s suggestion, I think about replacing the phrase with "who respect our engagement in the practice of shared values (or just “who respects our values). And this leads me to consider the broadest use of “share” - willing to take part of. So I go back to consider, do we spell it out " who are open to learning to recognize UU values in their own search for truth and meaning.” I believe “respect,” if that is what works to move Inclusion to a consensus, is a reasonable choice.
The only changes to Inclusion I am left with is to strike “historically” from the last sentence as marginalized is broad to include contemporary and historical marginalization and “traditionally” and “historical” appears in the first sentence of “Inclusion”. I would add “race” (in the first sentence). to persons and groups who have been oppressed for clarity (and not for exclusion of other oppressions as some have argued for elsewhere.)
Systems of power, privilege, and oppression have traditionally created barriers for persons and groups with particular identities, races, 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 are open to learning to recognize UU values in their own search for truth and meaning
who share our. We commit to being an association of congregations that empowers and enhances everyone’s participation, especially those with historically marginalized identities.
Agree. The revisions shriek of toxic positivity (ok, jargon, but apt) and COMPLETE unwillingness to name the huge elephant in the room at the root of US foundations.
“Power” does not only derive from critical theory. Seems like most religions also acknowledge that injustice and imbalance in how people may thrive is wrong and should be opposed.
I haven’t seen the statistics or polls that show us what “most UUs” believe.
@KLusignan Injustice is real, and MLK knew that, but he did not promote critical theory or its “power” theory for understanding social conflict. When MLK talked about power, he referred to the power of nonviolence resistance. And the Commission on Institutional Chang reported that “perhaps a significant majority” of UUs disagree with the “white supremacy” framing.
Martin Luther King said a lot of things over his lifetime. For example, in Letter from Birmingham Jail, he referenced the “white power structure.”
I also don’t think you can summarize the findings of the Commision on Institutional Change from one quote as “evidence” for your claim about what “most UUs believe,” just as you can’t ascribe a theory you want to discredit to a person using one word that is used in so many ways.