#183 | Virginia Nixon | Add it BESIDE what already expresses us

Submission 183
Virginia Nixon
OUUF, QUUF, SUUF, all Unitarians

What is your suggestion or idea?

Thanks for continuing to listen and revise as we out here let you know how we want to be led and represented.

The 7 Principles are, to me, a precise guide and inspiration for my religious life…as are the inspired Sources.

If you believe that new information is needed to express who we are and where we are headed, simply ADD it BESIDE what already expresses us and is. Held sacred by the great numbers of us out here.

The 7 are bullet pointed rather than loose so their meaning is clear without further explanation.

UUA is repeatedly forcing change in a confusing world when we need to be able to trust what has stability and hard earned wisdom as well.

Give us your new perspective BESIDE our beloved Principles and my trust in UUA will improve.

Of course LOVE matters…Undefinable, and unable to be held accountable without risking unwelcome control.

Be careful.

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

I LOVE the invitation that the 7 Principles offers us to uphold the very best that UU has meant in our lives.
Along with the Sources, it offers folks like me seeking a safe and inspired haven from creedal belief systems where they can grow in a worthy direction without control.
Radical change destroys what we have built. Adding love words is enough. Following of universal love is being swallowed up inside tight political UU governmental structure.
It will not grow our denomination! What grows us is offering a safe haven from autocratic top down religions. It is all that has ever grown UUism. UUA has gone off track seeking positive change for good causes in ways that destroy our core of wide open doors.
Nationwide, newcomers who DO come do so for what we have already built and lived out in acceptance of differences and support of marginalized peoples.
Celebrate that, UUA! Open back the doors of discussion, of sharing the differences that challenge and grow us. Lead wisely and UUism will grow again for seekers that joyfully join us in loving wide open democratic dialogue!

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

As a Board member of our Beloved congregation I speak these words to all.
As Paula Jones taught us, we need to be and protect that we are a “Community of Communities under our one big Tent”


Dear Mona Lee (#23), Eric Burch (#29), Kenneth Button (#30), Ronald Schaeffer (#42), Diane Conrad (#132), Jerald Ross (#156), and Virginia Nixon (#183):

Your suggestions are all very similar. You all appear to want to add the 7 principles back into Article II. You are encouraged to work together, combine your suggestions into one proposed amendment, and decide who will be the delegate to sponsor it.

This makes sense to me. If folks think that there’s something wrong with the seven principles so that they need to be downgraded, I’d like to hear what that “something wrong” is.


I agree that our Principles are important and must be retained. I believe they articulate the meaning of our denomination and are very attractive to people seeking a religious affiliation that isn’t freighted with a history of sectarian intolerance and blind faith.


I have neither heard nor seen an explanation why any of the existing 7 principles should be eliminated or demoted.


nor have I

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The vague “love” idea concerns me too, especially without any definition or accountability. Seven, now 8 principles is okay for now, until a grass-roots growing of UU want to revise it. But this process hasn’t been clearly enough explain, just seemingly pushed through.


We would love to be able to work with all of those who want to amend the current Article II proposal to add the 7 principles and sources, but there does not appear to be an means to do that.

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@BobBeekman At GA in 2019, the chair of the commission on institutional change said that the middle five principles needed to be downgraded because UUs are terrible at social justice issues.

Waa any explanation provided for how downgrading principles would enhance UU social justice actions?

I’m @eburch and the author of submission #29. Charles DuMond recommended we consolidate our similar ideas to one thread. During the May 18th Zoom call, the breakout room I was in discussed my idea for adding the current seven Principles verbatim as Section C-2.1-and-a-half (then renumbering the sections). I will propose that as an amendment. There was discussion about adding an 8th Principle or reworking the current principles but that will not be the scope of my amendment. My amendment can serve as a base for additional changes; we can do this a step at a time until we get through the pre-GA discussion, mini-assemblies, then final plenary vote. If we want to collect some of the other discussions into the submission #29 thread that is OK, just keep in mind my submission is a simple first step.

Virginia Nixon: I too want to insert the 7 Principles into the Revised text ( # 30). Question: How do we combine all of the proposals to do the same thing into 1 effort with strong backing? My email is kennethbutton@aol.com. What is yours? There are some people who support my proposal which is very straight forward in inserting the 7 principles (without the “sources”) after the “values” section. It is as follows: "I move the approval of an amendment to the Proposed Revision of Article II to insert after line 43 the text of the current 7 Principles of the existing “Section C-2.1 Principles, " excluding the “sources” test. The text of the insertion is as follows: “Section C-2.3. Principles” We, …” (list of the 7 principles. Please let me know how we can cooperate. Thank you.

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We say we’re NOT creedal nor dogmatic yet we must, we need to hold onto the same 7 principles that have been used to beat us into submission. Your free speech trumps my need for safety. Your use of democratic process is to take over our congregation so we stay the same. Your need for dominance is to encourage funds be withheld from our congregation so that its torn assunder. All for the name of control and dominance shielded by guise of keeping our principles. I’m a member of the same fellowship Virignia is in. I too was a member of the Board and cherry picking principles to assert control is WRONG. Hiding behind the principles to keep status quo is wrong. Our faith is suppose to be a living tradition meaning we adjust to conditions in our world that call for justice that need repair and healing. We do nothing by keeping our principles.
-Cecilia Flickinger


I agree with the thrust of these suggestions. Because there are so many similar suggestions, and because I will be attending GA remotely (for health reasons), I will not move forward with an amendment of my own. I will support any amendment retaining the 7 principles.
Jerry Ross, First Parish in Bedford, MA.

Ceci, I hear you expressing your pain and regret that someone twisted the principles as I understand them to do what they did. From my perspective, you are talking more about misuse of our principles than about the principles themselves, but I do not have your experience. My interpretation of them would not allow the sort of abuse you describe, but obviously other interpretations have done so. I am not sure what to do about that; I don‘t find all of the values to actually be values in my interpretation, and other items from the principles that I would want to keep I find to be missing. I am supporting some amendments through sign-up forms and will look for more discussion here and at the miniassembly.

Sally thank you for your interest and taking time to reach out. Virginia and I go to the same
church where Eckloff’s influence has meant arguing against any BIPOC movements.
They have accused UUA of being a top down influence on our fellowship. The 2017 old boy
hiring fallout where UUA male leaders left with pensions and the latina whistleblower
is still unemployed was the start of our rift.
They promoted Eckloff’s book to disrespect the UUA then led BIPOC triumvirate.
Calling them irrational and unable to reason.
Eckloviavns blame BLUU and DRUUMM at every turn. We’re not even
voting on the 8th because proponents of the 4th and 5th encouraged members
to withdraw pledges in an attempt to tear our church apart. They want control.

Maybe the principles are pristine in all of this but how do we then claim we’re not a dogmatic faith??? Principles which motivate division.

A dear friend and I, in an attempt to understand our vast chasm on this, sat down and she
taught me parallel construction and I explained how the principles are there in the values.
After this exercise she came to see the relevance of the values for our current times.
I came to learn how familiar construction helps to get the message across.

Missing in our strife has been love. That we don’t know what love is is evident.
LOVE A goal we need strive to understand and embrace.
That’s my main reason for the new Article 2. To learn more about the rift you might
read Dennis McCarty’s book Gadfly Report.

Thanks again, Cecilia

Thank you, Cecilia! It has been a bumpy time indeed, and caring for each other has often seemed to go missing. I actually see both sides of this, because I see UUA leadership disrespecting/ignoring delegates (we asked for 2 presidential candidates; they sent us 1; we said Divest in 2014, they took until March of this year to actually do it—and along the way bought ore fossil-fuel stocks), so I see the top-down issue—but I also see how the processes can be and have been manipulated. Of course, I cannot speak to your fellowship and my society tends to be very isolated from UUism writ large—I am a consistent delegate, and usually without companions (I am pleased to have 2 others this year), and also our representative at the N.J. UU advocacy network, so the conflicts I see swirling around the denomination have not really intruded into Central Unitarian yet.

We had one discussion of the 8th principle, which unfortunately I missed; no vote. We are shrinking, and just this year had a difficult vote to sell our building (and parsonage, which the board did without communicating with members—speaking of top-down!) and buy a smaller building in a nearby town. We have been right next to a county park, on a good-sized property, and we’ll miss it.

Sally I’m sad to hear toxicity is further out than just our church.
There were 2 candidates but Sofia’s resume is quite impressive maybe intimidating?
We’ve been shrinking too.
I’m sad to hear about divesting slow and then picking up
another. Will the current divest resolution rectify their blunder and get us squared?

Our annual meeting is tomorrow. The first since COVID. I don’t know how its
going to turn out. We have angry members. I’m a tired one. Its a stressful time.
Good luck Sally. Good luck to us all.

Thank you, good luck to you as well. Our annual meeting was last week, went about as expected. Tomorrow is our “church-year-closing” picnic, the last in our current space, and the last performance of the choir there. We’ll be renting for a year or so while we renovate the new building (assuming the closing goes through and the zoning issues are resolved quickly). Difficult times, for sure!

Dennis Prager and other equally revolting conservatives will use “Christian” values to demand authoritarian submission with nice sounding ideals: “gratitude”, “honesty”, even “Love” can and have been used to demand any kind of compliance. It’s very sad that the 5th principle had been improperly weaponized against the idea of Beloved Community and the fight against systematic oppression – both of which certainly live in the hearts of most UUs – but I don’t see how the “values” are any less prone to this exact same abuse. In fact, I think the values as written are easier to negatively manipulate than the principles.

I would like to know your perspective on what evils one can do with the principles which cannot be done with the values? Hierarchies are inherently unjust and must therefore justify themselves or be dismantled; we already removed the singular Godhead of our religion, why do we need to put it back using the same language seen in the Christian tree that rejected us almost a century ago?

Sure, if we make our values positive and vague enough, then they can’t be used to invalidate someone, but they also can’t be used to uplift them either – not with generic, vapid platitudes. I doubt that rejecting the principles just to upset the status quo will work because they are not the systematic issue at play. The principles are not a document about how an international organization operates – they are a moral philosophy held by individuals which we try to live by, and I don’t think it’s fair to “throw the baby out with the bathwater” and retaliate against UU congregants for the transgressions of a person in power.

I do completely agree with you that Article II is Doctrine – though the values will not change that. I know that most UUs have real beef with that word, but it’s undeniable that Article II is “a belief or set of beliefs held and taught by a Church, political party, or other group”… which just happens to be the definition of Doctrine.