#202 | anne schneider | Welcome All Regardless of Shared Values

Submission 202
anne schneider
valley unitarian universalist congregation

What is your suggestion or idea?

Revise as shown:

Section C-2.4. Inclusion.

Systems of power, privilege, and oppression have traditionally created barriers for persons and groups with particular identities, ages, abilities, and histories. We pledge to replace such barriers with ever-widening circles of solidarity and mutual respect. We strive to be an association of congregations that truly welcome all persons who share our values. We commit to being an association of congregations that empowers and enhances everyone’s participation, especially those with historically marginalized identities.

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

This revision says we welcome only those who share our values, where we ought to welcome all regardless of whether they share our values or not. Also, we should make special efforts to insure the full participation of all persons who currently have marginalized identity, not just those who have historically experienced marginalization.

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

Yes, and most agree that we welcome people with a wide variety of beliefs, not just those that agree with us.

10 Likes

I personally would not want someone who does not share our value of equity to be in my congregation. If they don’t think I am a human being with dignity and worthiness, why would I be ok with them? I’m reminded of the quote from Robert Jones, Jr: ’ We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.’

4 Likes

I agree with both concerns. My suggested change (in earlier feedback) was that we welcome all who “respect” our values. There are risks of non-inclusivity in both directions, in my view.

8 Likes

I do agree that potentially the “share our values” language may be interpreted in ways that are problematic.

Separately, in amendment 92, I propose dealing with this by modifying Article II to say:

We strive to be an association of congregations that truly welcome all persons who broadly share our values. even if they differ on the best means to reach the goals represented by those values.>.

So, this doesn’t go as far as Anne Schneider’s amendment in dealing with this prhasing, but does minimize the risk of saying that if someone disagrees with some UUA position, because they think it is not the best means to our collective goals, they somehow should not be welcomed because they do not “share our values”.

4 Likes

Thank you, Anne, I think this is a good suggestion

I think this is HIGHLY problematic. Does mean that when we welcome people to our services saying ““whoever you are, wherever you’ve come from… you are welcome here” was need to add “but only if you share our values” Those who come to us who don’t like how we express our values won’t stay anyway. We simply don’t need to say this – UNLESS, we want to use it as a tool to declare them “out of covenant” in order to punish/remove them. It’s simply unwelcoming.

6 Likes

I’m a science-minded liberal who likes evidence, I’ve been told that I have the opposite values of the social justice leaders in my congregation. If we only allow people who share our values, that gives leaders in my congregation leverage to squeeze UUs like me out.

4 Likes

This also gives “anti-CRT” led congregations leverage to squeeze out “illiberals,” or those who believe this is a valid way to address marginalization issues.

I agree this language is too presecriptive and feels like “exclusion” rather than “inclusion.” I believe the problems this wording seeks to address need to be addressed in another way, probably more at the congregational level.

My suggested change of “respect our values” rather than “share” them might still be too prescriptive, but I think gives the message that while we don’t need to think alike to love alike, and we should welcome all on their own search for truth and meaning, it violates other principles or values to use congregational spaces to demonize, ridicule and otherwise disrespect those who believe differently than ourselves.

If we can get to a point where we can hammer out and broadly agree on shared values or principles, then a reminder of “inherent worth and dignity,” or “respect,” may be all that is needed in this clause–which I agree should welcome, not warn off, people.

2 Likes

yes, I agree with this

I call “we accept others who share our values” the I don’t want anyone to be able to tell me that I have to accept a Nazi who might come to my congregation. In this regard, the principles are too wishy-washy and unclear.
a[quote=“Poster1, post:1, topic:379, full:true”]
Submission 202
anne schneider
valley unitarian universalist congregation

What is your suggestion or idea?

Revise as shown:

Section C-2.4. Inclusion.
Systems of power, privilege, and
oppression have traditionally created barriers for persons and groups with
particular identities, ages, abilities, and histories. We pledge to replace such barriers
with ever-widening circles of solidarity and mutual respect. We strive to
be an association of congregations that truly welcome all persons who share our values.
We commit to being an association of congregations that empowers and enhances
everyone’s participation, especially those with historically
marginalized identities.

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

This revision says we welcome only those who share our values, where we ought to welcome all regardless of whether they share our values or not. Also, we should make special efforts to insure the full participation of all persons who currently have marginalized identity, not just those who have historically experienced marginalization.

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

Yes, and most agree that we welcome people with a wide variety of beliefs, not just those that agree with us.
[/quote]

@anne schneider
Thank you, anne, for raising this issue. I appreciate your concern and the sentiments of all who have posted here in response. Personally, your proposed solution strikes me as the most ideal because it eliminates the question altogether. I don’t know that we need a statement on this because different congregations determine differently who and whom they welcome according to their circumstance.

I appreciate that in my local congregation, we “welcome all of good will”. And that seems to suffice perfectly well. Combined with the recognition that we all change and transform, good will works as a starting point for exchange. Ostensibly to transform even Nazis into anti-racist egalitarians (and yes, that has happened).

2 Likes

I have read your suggestion and the replies thus far. I, too, find the inclusion of the phrase “who share our values” more than troublesome. The statement without the phrase is in our current Article 2 and I have never reacted strongly to it, other than to agree. I find myself wondering what was intended in the sentence. Does it mean welcome into membership or welcome when we walk through the door? I have always assumed that it means we welcome all who walk through our door, in which case the proposed change is abhorrent in the extreme. Even if it means welcoming into membership, I believe we will find that we are a diverse people who do not share all the same values; realistically, why would we? With that in mind, I agree with striking the sentence in its entirety.

4 Likes

I worry that your concerns might be valid, Jonathan. Here’s hoping you don’t get “squeezed out”.

1 Like

No!! Maybe you want to spend your limited hours trying to convert Nazis, but I don’t!! There are an endless number of other tasks that I can devote my time to that would be much more effective at helping more people.

@CSTownsend I suppose I spoke unclearly. I did not mean to say that I or any UU congregation necessarily wants to focus on converting Nazis, merely that “good will” seems to serve as a sufficient criteria for welcoming people in our local congregation. Maybe your congregation has other criteria. Fine. If so, I support you in that.

I see this as another reason to not inscribe in our Principles which criteria should apply universally: so that we can better maintain institutional diversity and local congregational autonomy.

3 Likes

I hear this “Nazi” argument a lot, and it seems overblown. Today we don’t have “who share our values” in our Article II, and as a result do we have a problem with Nazis? Not that I can see. If, on the other hand, we currently have a “Nazi problem” that I’m unaware of, then maybe this new, restrictive wording would be a good idea.

I understand your discomfort with the “share our values” language. But it isn’t true we’d welcome all values. Our principle of respecting the humanity and dignity of every person means, for instance, that we can’t welcome any kind of bigotry. I think retaining the principles and sources would provide useful clarity in defining what leads someone to identify as a Unitarian Universalist.

1 Like

Tao Te Ching – Verse 49

The Master has no mind of her own.
She works with the mind of the people.
She is good to people who are good.
She is also good to people who aren’t good.
This is true goodness.
She trusts people who are trustworthy.
She also trusts people who aren’t trustworthy.
This is true trust.

1 Like

“Openness to change is fundamental to our Unitarian and Universalist heritages”
But also, agree with us or you are unwelcome.

“Love is the power that holds us together and is at the center of our shared
values. We are accountable to one another for doing the work of living our
shared values through the spiritual discipline of Love.”
And we close our doors and hearts to those who don’t share our values.

“We covenant to learn from one another in our free and responsible search for
truth and meaning.”
But we have to already agree before learning can start

" We declare that every person has the right to flourish with inherent
dignity and worthiness"
Flourish elsewhere, though. Not here. Our welcome is conditional.

I really like this compromise solution.