#169 | Rachel Feltner | "Declare" to "Commit to Taking Actions"

Submission 169
Rachel Feltner
Miami Valley UU Fellowship (Dayton, OH) 6838

What is your suggestion or idea?

Equity. We declare that every person has the right to flourish with inherent dignity and worthiness. We commit to taking actions that will promote every person’s access to life’s opportunities and benefits. We covenant to use our time, wisdom, attention, and money, and voice to build and sustain fully accessible and inclusive communities. Our work for equity demonstrates the worth and dignity of all people.

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

For me, the rewrite of the equity portion serves two purposes. First, it changes the actionable portion from “declare…” to “commit to taking actions”. Declaring values or theological beliefs, while important, does not in itself create tangible change. As Rev. Nancy McDonald Ladd said in her book After the Good News, “…a genuine faith can never manifest primarily as a commitment to an abstract and unrealized notion. The religious value that exists only in the abstract is not a religious value at all…and of itself, does nothing to affect the healing of the world or any salvific enterprise within it.” Secondly, worth and dignity is removed from the first sentence and placed in a third sentence at the end of the value. For me, saying that “every person has the right to flourish with inherent dignity and worthiness” equates dignity and worthiness (aspects I consider inherent and immutable for living creatures) with rights which can be denied, suppressed, or stolen by the corrupt. I believe that framing work for equity as our recognition of people’s inherent worth and dignity better reflects the spirit of the current first principle.

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

I am submitting this recommendation in support of Rev. Alice Diebel who wrote the recommendation. She asked for feedback from myself as well as other UUs. Their contributions were integrated into the final recommendation.

1 Like

Excellent rationale!