#309 | John Eichrodt | Keep 7 Principles with Revisions

"Submission 309
John Eichrodt
Church of the Larger Fellowship (Boston, MA)

What is your suggestion or idea? / What is the reason for your amendment idea?

Proposed Section C 2.1 should be replaced by the original text.
Why? because it turns our faith into a social just collective instead of promoting the ethical and spiritual development of its members as its primary objective.

Proposed Section C 2.2 Values and Covenant. This should be deleted and replaced with the present 7 principles and purposes.
Why? I do not think the current principles should be revised for the following reasons:

  1. They have become a sacred symbol for Unitarians-Universalist around the world for generations.

  2. They are interdependent, and interconnected, forming a coherent theological framework that UUs understand and identify with .

  3. Covenental Love, the central focus of the proposed rewrite, is vague and can be potentially divisive even oppressive in its interpretation and application.

  4. The 7 principles already form a transcendental covenant among us, and have for generations. A significant portion of UUs have relied on the principles in engaging with our faith and communities.

  5. They are at the heart of our community and personal identities, and have served to shape the faith of UUs who rely on them for reference and serve as the symbol of our faith.

  6. Revising the principles would be like revising the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Some symbols should not be touched and this is certainly one of them.

  7. There are alternatives ways of expressing shifts in the focus of our faith, without revising our principles. For example, a solemn declaration could be adopted, which might even be associated with the Principles and Sources in some way without modifying these. An example of such a declaration that has echoed for more than a half of a century is the ILO’s Declaration of Philadelphia. It could even serve as a model in form.

In conclusion, I plead that we show good sense, and wise restraint in trying to modify our principles and sources.

Proposed Section C 2.3. Inspirations This section should be replaced by the original.
Why? Our faith is already quite open, and our six sources serve as a welcome spiritual reference and compass for members and congregations in their activities, and worship.

Proposed Section C. 2.4 Inclusion This should be replaced by the original.
Why? This proposed section is discriminatory. Our 7 principles, especially the first 5 already deal well with the need for inclusion.

Proposed Section C. 2.5 Freedom of Belief. This should also be replaced by the original.
Why? Our faith is founded on the inherent dignity of each person, not on the congregation. This proposal tends to shift the theological focus towards the congregation instead of the person, undermining our liberal tradition.

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

I submitted my plea for maintaining the 7 principles and our 6 sources to my Church of the Larger Fellowship months ago."