#153 | Gretchen Grimm | No Mention of ANIMALS!

Submission 153
Gretchen Grimm
Fourth UU Congregation of Westchester County, NY (Mohegan Lake, NY) 6335

What is your suggestion or idea?

There is no mention of ANIMALS! For that reason, Article II is very speciesist. For clarification a speciesist is ““prejudice or discrimination based on species”” or the ““human held belief that all other animals are inferior””. A speciesist may believe, for example, that dogs are more important than eagles, and eagles are more important than cows The 1st Principle Project took care of this, by substituting ““being”” in place of ““person””. Because humans are beings too, the word ““being”” in UU’s First Principle, widens the circle for ALL ANIMALS to be included, not just people.

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

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


One of the strangest things about the anthology JUSTICE ON EARTH (written by and for UUs) is that the approach to environmentalism outlined in the book ignores animals (!). Now we see the same thing w this revision. Why are the leaders ignoring animals, even in a book on environmentalism? Maybe it’s because they want us to serve marginalized communities that we’ve built relationships with and to take direction from them. You can’t have a relationship with “marginalized animals” or take direction from them on how to make tomorrow better. Anyway, the leaders could sure do us a favor by telling us why they don’t include animals in their thinking on environmentalism. Maybe my inference is wrong.

Note to the Board: I believe this is a specific proposal to add the word “beings” to the First Principle (though with a lot of commentary surrounding it) and should probably be re-tagged. Thanks!

I agree that our respect and reverence for life cannot be just for human life, if for no other reason than that we understand life to be a system, or web, that includes all living things from microbes to sequoias. I have offered a slightly edited version of our principles to be included in Article 2, whose first principle is this :" •Reverence for the earth, its natural processes, and all the interdependent life it supports." I look forward to seeing my proposed amendment posted soon.


My suggestion is now #269.

Thank you Gretchen. The Commission has located concern for all beings in the Interdependence section, and I think it fits well there.

For folks who might be interested: 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

1 Like