#345 | Susan McWethy | Instead of "We covenant..." I suggest "We aspire..."

Submission 345
Susan McWethy
UUCA Atlanta

What is your suggestion or idea?

Instead of “We covenant…” I suggest “We aspire…”

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

Covenants are promises. Promises are antithetical to a liberal faith–they feel dogmatic and creedal. In the proposed document, we are covenanting to make changes in the world that are impossible to fulfill.

If these are promises, what happens to a person if they are not fulfilled? Does someone get to judge them? Who? On what basis? Is there a punishment? This threatens our belief in the democratic process and Freedom of Belief.

Instead of covenants, which motivate through obligation, we would be better served with stated aspirations, which motivate as spiritual goals.

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

I have discussed this language with several people in my congregation. It is unanimous that use of covenants as proposed does not feel consistent with our Freedoms of Belief and Conscience, and opens the door to being applied in an authoritarian, anti-democratic manner.


I agree with this. The overuse of covenants in the past 5 years or so has been uncomfortable—it seems that we cannot simply gather without creating a covenant.

Agree with the statements in original post and follow. Also think that the use of covenants constricts our religion and in some ways supplants natural goodwill among congregants.

Amen to this. In our experience, covenants are used as weapons against dissenters. Eliminate them.

1 Like

I agree with this. We don’t want to stand in judgment of each other. We join congregations to support each other. The word “covenant” should be used sparingly. I’m okay with congregations joining in a covenant to support the Principles, but one of those principles is specifically about each person’s right to engage in a free and responsible search for truth and meaning.