The Unitarian Universalist Society of Geneva, IL (Geneva, IL) 3316
What is your suggestion or idea?
Democracy should be promoted to a Core Value.Proposed words:
““Everyone deserves a voice in their personal lives, their voluntary associations, and in the institutions that represent their aspirations and ideals. Democracy is, at its best, inclusive, diverse, and representative, and is a necessary and fundamental feature of progress and human flourishing. Defending and expanding Democracy is both a right and the obligation of all Unitarian Universalists.””
What is the reason for your amendment idea?
What has become clear over the last decade is that Democracy is under systemic attack at home and abroad by illiberal and immoral actors, and these attacks have been deep, devastating, and wide-ranging. And this threat is still growing – and yet the current proposed changes to Article II almost entirely ignores it.
Given that Democracy is inextricably tied to both freedom and social justice, our faith clearly calls us to meet and challenge authoritarianism, nationalism, and fascism, in our communities, our nation, and our world. Our faith calls us to defend and expand democracy and democratic processes, to challenge disenfranchisement, to expand human rights and the right to self-determination, to secure the rights to life, liberty, and freedom for all, and not just some, and to grow the circle of concern to include ever-widening definitions of diversity, equity, and inclusion – this is the call of Unitarian Universalism in the 21st century.
Hence, Democracy cannot be an afterthought, an appendage, or ignored – it must be centered as much as any of our values, principles, or virtues.
Have you discussed this idea with your congregation or other UUs?
Yes. Our congregation has discussed the proposed changes several times since they were announced in the Fall, and my comment above springs from my congregation’s concerns that we are trading broad and meaning-filled statements of aspirational orientation for ““political talking points””.
Regarding politics, we have been working through various ARAOMC programs, but we also talk a lot about the rise of authoritarianism at home and abroad, and meeting the challenges of ““Accelerationist Politics”” with not only protests, testifying, and voting, but also strong statements of identity and aspiration, statements that clearly and usefully separate us from other faith traditions, social movements, and political activist groups. And there is deep concern that the new words muddle the distinctions in ways that that harm and not help.
I should note that this proposal is in no way affiliated with the so-called Fifth Principle Project.