#137 | Lydia Obrist | Include all Non-Humans

Submission 137
Lydia Obrist
UU of Gettysburg

What is your suggestion or idea?

Please include all non-humans in your consideration of this proposal.
Thank you

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

Have you discussed this idea with your congregation or other UUs?

In 2019, I was surprised to see nonhumans left out of environmentalism in the UU book JUSTICE ON EARTH. Today I’m not surprised to see them left out of the proposal.

I understand this was previously suggested and rejected. Maybe you could resubmit this as an actual proposed amendment suggesting specific language be added to a specific section?

This was my biggest puzzlement with this rewrite, that with environmental crises abounding, there was hardly a mention of the rest of the tree of life…many millions of creatures un-noted, much less centered.

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@Lydia Obrist @KLusignan
I agree with both points.

I would suggest adopting something like others have already suggested here:

@Roland Halpern ( #4): “Why not the ‘inherent worth and dignity of every being?’ Limiting it to ‘every person’ excludes thousands of species.”

@Gretchen Grimm ( #153) noted this formulation as part of the 1st Principle Project.

@Don Price ( #157):
“We acknowledge that animals are slaughtered and often forced to endure terrible pain and inhumane treatment mostly because people enjoy eating them.”

@Birgitta McAlevey ( #264): "Interdependence. We honor the sacred interdependent web of all existence.With humility we understand our place in the web. We covenant to care for and respect the earth and all beings by fostering relationships of mutuality. We work to repair the bonds we have broken.

Dependence. We try to understand our place in the web of life with humility and gratitude. We covenant to respect and care for the earth and all beings. We commit to our fellow beings to foster less harmful and more mutual relationships.

[…] Speciesism is the starting point in understanding that the earth is not ours to trash, humans are not ours to dehumanize, and animals are not ours to abuse."

@Cynthia Grzywinski ( #154): “We humans are mainly responsible for global warming and the infringement and destruction of whole species of animals. It is our duty and responsibility to be conscious of our complicity in this woeful outcome and strive to nurture, regrow and maintain this fragile web of life”

@Laurie MacGeorge ( #131): Include all “Sentient Beings” in the revision.

Personally, I think it could also work to simply make a small addition to the end of the Interdependence principle: “we acknowledge our place in the great web of life, and we work to repair harm and damaged relationships, animals, plants, habitats, and humans alike.”

I agree Lydia! And I appreciate the thoughtful discussion here.

I reviewed the 33 comments submitted on discuss.uua.org that made mention of “all beings,” “creatures,” or “animals.” I grouped them into categories, took them all seriously, and shared my analysis with the UU Animal Ministry Board. What follows is the version that the UU Animal Ministry Board and I are currently supporting:

Interdependence. In humility and reverence, we honor the interdependent web of all existence.
We covenant to protect Earth and all beings from exploitation, creating relationships of mutuality and justice.

I look forward to connecting with other delegates who are invested in this issue. Let’s discuss!

-Rev. John Gibb Millspaugh, Executive Director
UU Animal Ministry

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