#34 | Jay Kiskel | Center Democracy

Submission 34
Jay Kiskel
The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta, Inc. (Atlanta, GA) 3032

What is your suggestion or idea?

Section C-2-2 Values and Covenant

Justice. We work to be diverse multicultural Beloved Communities where all thrive.

We covenant to dismantle racism and all forms of systemic oppression. We support the use of inclusive democratic processes to make decisions.

Democracy. We value that every voice deserves a vote as a means of self-expression and collective participation in our congregations and society.

We covenant to protect and extend the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

Democracy is a form of governance that Unitarian Universalists have long embraced. We have cherished the right to vote as a UU value, an American value, and a value that people, as we do, in nations around the world see as central to freedom.

On the Article II Frequently Asked Question page, the Commission noted that among the reasons that Article II has been rewritten was to address the “rise in global autocracies and attacks on democratic institutions.” Yet the currently proposed Article II language relegates the notion of democracy to a subordinate sentence under the Justice value.

There can be no justice if people are unable to vote. We have seen in America a sweeping injustice as aggressive actions are taken to limit voter access to the ballot box.

As Unitarian Universalists, we should not hide our support for democracy in a subordinate sentence but proudly and openly proclaim our value in the democratic process.

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

I have had many, many discussions with fellow UUs. I follow a very active discussion group on the website Save the Seven Principles (https://savethe7principles.wordpress.com ). In my congregation’s Men’s Group weekend Retreat, our theme was a discussion on Article II. My congregation will be holding a congregation-wide discussion on June 3. BTW: Much of the discussion on Article II has not been supportive of changes. There is generally a lack of awareness of this rewrite. Those who are aware do not understand the rationale for making such substantial changes to the Seven Principles.


I would support this amendment. Maybe it could also include something about the free press as well (thinking UU World here).

I would also prefer to have it replace the “Equity” value instead of “Justice.” “Equity” as a value is over-rated at best and toxic at worst, while “Justice” is definitely something worth pursuing.


I agree that democracy and the democratic process need to be included. Their absence is extremely conspicuous in this draft. This invites abuse and the easy take-over of interpretation to an elite group. You may think it doesn’t, but like my comment in one of the “definition of love” comment threads, any concept can be hijacked by any person or group in power to satisfy its own ends.

Therefore it’s important to reinclude and then emphasize democracy. It belongs most in equity, therefore it could be placed in that section: “…dignity and worthiness, and for all people to have influence through participation in and the application of the democratic process.”

Someone will figure out a better way than that to say it, but there you have my particpation and addition in this democratic process of commenting :wink:


I totally agree with this proposal to elevate the importance of the democratic process as an essential value of UUism. I, and most of the people I talk to in my congregation, feel that democracy (including due process) is a central element of our faith. Dropping it devalues the importance of our individual and collective participation in our congregation and our society.


Here, here! In the face of encroaching autocracy here in the US and around the world, we should be putting democracy at the front and center of our religious values.


Yes, value democracy. And assure that it is understood as one-person, one-vote, and opportunities to influence elections and elected officials.

1 Like

I agree that our commitment to democratic process should be central. I have proposed retaining the principles and sources in Article 2, and I’ve drafted a slightly amended version of the principles to include some good ideas I think are embedded in the new proposal. One of the principles is “Self-governance by open democratic process.” There’s really no other safeguard for fairness, at every level of human organization, from congregational to national. If we stand for justice and inclusion, democracy is the means.

I agree with centering democracy. I agree that, “Democracy is a form of governance that Unitarian Universalists have long embraced”, and I’m proud of that fact. I’m not sure whether I align with use of the phrase “the democratic process,” only because I associate it with voting and various versions of majority rulings-- which, in most cases, are Good Things. My question is whether the phrase, “democratic process” also includes consensus decision-making, which can be very fruitful in smaller groups.

Democracy doesn’t always work for marginalized individuals. Witness the extreme laws being passed against LGBTQ+ individuals by a small “democratically elected” minority.


It certainly does for me; all collaborating together to come to consensus seems completely democratic to me.

Note re amendments that weren’t prioritized or presented: This forum is closing for comment tomorrow, but our lay-led public Facebook group, Blue Boat Passengers, will remain open for another few weeks for commenting (and still be viewable after that).

People who want to find others to coordinate about the 15-congregation amendment process may use the group to do so while it is open. Please read both the rules and the pinned post before posting or commenting there.


Blue Boat Passengers: Info & Constructive Discussion re Article II, etc. | Announcement: This group will soon be suspended | Facebook