#140 | Guy Loftman | Keep the current Article 2

Submission 140
Guy Loftman
UU Church of Bloomington, Indiana (Bloomington, IN) 3433

What is your suggestion or idea?

Delete the entire proposed draft. Keep the current bylaws until an improved
proposal is widely accepted.

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

There are improvements in the proposed draft, and parts that aren’t improvements. An open-ended discussion should be invited where more proposals can be considered integrating both versions. The initial vote should be delayed until GA 2024, to allow discussions not limited to section-by-section deletions and additions. I point to two particularly serious problems.1. The Charge to the Commission states:“The Commission is instructed to include in its considerations and deliberations the clear call at GA 2017 for the inclusion of another principle, explicitly calling us to be committed to active anti-racism (see attachments about the 8th Principle Project).”The 8th Principle was not explicitly included. Instead, a diluted version is spread out in various paragraphs. 2. The Charge to the Commission states:“… the revised [Article II] listing from the 2010 proposal and its explicit inclusion of Unitarianism and Universalism as our Sources seems timely to us.”Unitarianism and Universalism are not included as sources.I could not find the 2010 proposal. My suggestion:We honor our Unitarian heritage, which recognizes Jesus of Nazareth as a great prophet, but not divine, thereby distinguishing Unitarianism from the Trinitarian tradition. We honor our Universalist heritage, which promotes the doctrine of Universal Salvation: everybody goes to Heaven; nobody goes to Hell. I note that that the Charge specifies being brief. The Proposal is longer than the current version.Finally, a process concern. The Commission was charged with being “open and transparent in its work.” I made repeated efforts to keep up with the Article II process following GA 2021 and 2022, at which I was a delegate. The only response: “Thanks for your interest.”

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

I have discussed my ideas with many members of our congregation and our ministers and RE staff. I helped organize two spirited open ended congregational discussions, each of which was attended by about 50 people, in person and online. I facilitated a discussion of Article II concerns at MUUSA in 2022. I have corresponded with UUA President Susan Frederick-Gray and other members of the UUA staff.


Heartening to hear that your congregation has had spirited, well-attended discussions. In my congregation, there’s no official effort to inform congregants or to gage their opinions.

Sad to hear that the Commission did not exactly follow the charge they were given, as you point out.

I agree that by having the first vote be on specific amendments, this bypasses needed steps that would (1) determine whether we even support replacing principles with values, and then (2) whether we agree on which values distinguish us as UU’s. The UUA could have charged the commission with soliciting ideas from congregations and then winnowing it down with regular input from congregations, This would not ony be more democratic, but also ensure greater buy-in.

The proposal doesn’t offer a shared vision that would inspire me to live my values. Nor do I see it as information that would resonate with newcomers. Plus it’s not even memorable. Children can quote the values uplifted in Corintians: “faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love.” We need something similarly concise and meaningful, not vague terms open to confusion.

So now the question for me is if enough amendments pass, do I consider this overall to be a better relection of Unitarian Universalist than our current article 2.