#23 | Mona Lee | Name the Seven Principles

"Submission 23
Mona Lee
Saltwater Unitarian Universalist Church (Des Moines, WA) 8135

What is your suggestion or idea?

I have only one problem with the Article 2 Study Commission Statement. It left out the most important guidelines of our faith, the Seven Principles of Unitarian Universalism

The bottom line is that, no matter what else they want to include, the Seven Principles must all be there intact as such and not buried in other verbiage. They must be intact either at the beginning,
somewhere in the middle or at the end. All seven of them must be together and recognizable as follows:

1st Principle: The inherent worth and dignity of every person;

2nd Principle: Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;

3rd Principle: Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;

4th Principle: A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;

5th Principle: The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;

6th Principle: The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;

7th Principle: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

We don’t really need a wordy 8th principle about race. The inherent worth and dignity of every person covers everybody. But if you want a separate 8th principle, it should just be: The color of your skin has absolutely nothing to do with anything.

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

The Seven Principles are at the heart of our faith. They are what converted me and many others to Unitarian Universalism

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

I have spoken out a Article II Study Commission discussion meetings at our church and posted my opinion on our list serves. The majority of people I have spoken with agree with me. We must keep the 7 principles prominent and intact."


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.


I agree we should keep the 7 Principles in some form. The present draft does little to address “A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our
congregations and in society at large; and
The goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all.”


I agree with keeping the Seven Principles and Six Sources. The Article II team has never provided a clear reason why they eliminated these statements that are such a part of UU identity.


I do support this to a large degree, but another option to scrapping the Article 2 draft (which I think this basically does), would be to change the central values so that they actually reflect the eight (here in Canada) principles. I have a post on here suggesting entirely different core values which I think stops the values of the principles from being entirely lost. Right now we are losing some of the core values of the faith (like the 5th principle of democracy/voting is not a core value in the proposed draft and is only mentioned later, which I don’t support), and are also adding new values (like generosity) that are not in the current principles, which means we are not only changing the format of the principles to a set of core values and a longer document of explanations, but we are actually fundamentally changing those values. A third option, rather than keeping the principles or keeping the Article 2 draft, would be to keep the principles but add new ones that consolidate other UU values, including a) covenant, communication and respectful relationship, and b) Working towards Beloved Community, which is an anti-oppressive concept.

I strongly disagree however with speaking against the 8th principle, and think that statement comes from a place of privilege and/or ignorance. It is already passed here in Canada, and some Canadian congregations are still members of the UUA. The 8th principle is also not just about racism, but about all anti-oppressive work, and the reason we need it is because our congregations have huge problems with oppression and exclusion, and it needs to be clearly spelled out that being anti-oppressive is part of being a UU. As you say, it’s included in the other principles to some degree, but the other principles overlap with each other too (justice is in three of them), so that’s not a reason not to include it. People are facing serious trauma in our congregations because they aren’t being heard, so we need to put it in writing that that’s wrong.


I totally agree - we need to include the 7 principles. Otherwise the words are too vague and ambiguous. That can lead to easy misinterpretation. I can only remember Animal farm where the pigs modified the added words to completely reverse the intent and the meaning.


I agree that we need to keep our principles. We need a brief, distilled set of statements that define our denomination. I have offered a slightly amended version, incorporating some common suggestions, and I hope it will be posted soon.


Please provide instructions on how the people who have made various different suggestions of a similar idea can work together to combine their suggestions into one proposal. Also, is this discussion only open to UUA GA delegates?

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Discussion here is open to all; not sure about gatherings before GA, but tradition at GA is that anyone can attend miniassemblies, but only delegates may propose amendments there. I can’t remember whether nondelegates may speak at miniassemblies. At business sessions, only delegates may actively participate (speak and vote).

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The three workshops in May are open to all and are for doing this (delegates are the only ones who can eventually present an amendment at GA, one per delegate). People can also form their own discussion groups, which I think is a good idea to decrease the bottleneck at the May workshops and because not everyone can attend those. Our* Facebook group Blue Boat Passengers is specifically for the purpose of addressing Article II revisions, amendments, and other GA issues, as well as sharing information on these topics. It is an open and public group, so people may see it even if they aren’t a member or aren’t on Facebook. To comment and exchange ideas, you do have to be on Facebook but don’t have to join the group.

*This is a lay-led group of ordinary UUs, not associated with the UUA.

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Thanks! A couple of questions (for anyone who knows the answer; IDK if you will):

  • why only 1 amendment per delegate? That is too restrictive.

  • I have been banned from Facebook, and cannot get back without giving them a government ID, which I find inappropriate. Others may have other reasons for not being on Facebook. Is there another option to connect with the Blue Boat Passengers group? Slack, Discord, this site?


Just think briefly on how many days there are for GA, how much has to get done, and how many delegates there might potentially be. The Board has said that as few as TEN amendments (total) may be presented at GA. If every congregation sent its full complement of delegates, and each presented just one amendment at GA for voting on, well, I’m not good at math, but I have no idea how many days that would actually take . . .

You can read the content on Blue Boat Passengers without actually being on Facebook. It is not ideal, but people could certainly go back and forth between commenting here and commenting in that group. Example: If you see something in the discussion there that you think relates to a proposal here or could be proposed here, you can copy and paste. It is a public group, so there is no prohibition against sharing outside the group (just don’t share out of context in a misrepresenting way).

I am aware of other venues discussing these issues, but they are all either individual congregational spaces or groups that have more of a particular viewpoint (i.e., SaveThe7Ptinciples is opposed to the Principles being removed). Our group is for every opinion and point of view as long as people stay on topic, are civil, and follow the other rules. I think you also should be able to see the rules without joining Facebook, but if you can’t, I can copy and paste them here.

Thanks. Generally, when I scroll down in a Facebook group, I get a message “log in to see more of [group name]”. I can try again.

You have to be careful what you click on. Also, you may have been trying to look at groups that were not public and open. I have been able to read comments in full from my phone without logging in, but if I accidentally click in a way that looks like I want to comment, I get that message and have to back out and start over.

I went here: https://www.facebook.com/blueboatpassengers and got a log-in screen. I’ll try a search. . . .nope; this link, with a group number and “pending”, led to a blank log-in page

I have no problem seeing the group without logging in, just doing a google search just now, I was able to see the group and read comments, as I have been able to do from my phone as well. Sorry, I don’t know how Google and Facebook might be interacting or if your being banned from Facebook messes up you trying to access it even without logging in. Maybe try with a different browser? Go to a public library and see what happens? I don’t have any other ideas, sorry, not a techie.

In any case, I expect those who want to take their ideas further will be posting their amendment ideas here, so at least you will see those, if not prior discussions. @Janet and @beccaboerger and @TimBartik and @clandrum and @BekWheeler have already posted amendments here that had prior discussion (or incarnations) in that group and elsewhere, and I’ll be posting my own soon, for continued input from @CSTownsend and my other fellow congregants.

Thanks; yes, social media interact in disturbing ways. Your device is known, even if you are not logged in. Thanks for the mentions of others from the group, I am trying to get through a lot of the discussions here.

I’ve been to GA miniassemblies with a few dozen amendments, though it is true that at the business session itself, very few actually get discussed. The CSW’s justification is that nobody cared enough about the remainders, but I question who decides on the order (they go alphabetically, as each amendment is identified by a letter of the alphabet) and whether the majority of the delegates, who do not go to the miniassemblies (a definite problem; as a delegate, I feel that it is my job to attend them all), might in fact be quite interested in some of the others, but do not have time to digest them all.


It may be that commentors have listened to the Commission report that contains a reading of the suggested revision to article II.
January 2023 presentation of the Article II Study Proposal (YouTube) 32 minutes.
I have lived with UU Purposes and Principles for 20 years (half their adopted span). I recommend the link so that people can hear how the work of the Commision sounds and then reflect again on the insistance of keeping the 7 principles intact (or slightly modified).