#438 | Merridy McDaniel | Principles and Discussion of Our Shared Values

Submission 438
Merridy McDaniel
West Hills Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (Portland, OR) 7132

What is your suggestion or idea?

Amend Section C-2.2 to delete the heading, ““Values and Covenant””, and replace the C-2.2 heading with ““Principles and Sources””, followed by the existing seven principles with the addition of an 8th principle: ““We will conform our actions within our fellowships and communities with these principles”” and our current sources.

Further amended to create a new section, titled, ““Discussion of Our Shared Values””, to include the current Sections C-2.2 through C-2.5.

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

I have served as a congregational president and have spent hours welcoming visitors to our fellowship as well as participating in many ““New UU”” classes to explain what Unitarian Universalism is. Without exception, it was our existing 7 principles and sources that had most appealed to our visitors and led them to wish to join with us instead of any of the thousands of other protestant denominations that would have also welcomed them. The current proposal Article II, Section C-2, while waxing eloquent with various aspirational statements, lacks the concise clarity of the Seven Principles we currently affirm, and as such, is far better a worthy addition to expound on what we hope to accomplish in our communities, rather than a replacement.

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

I have discussed the Proposed Article II with other UUs both within and without my congregation. All those with whom I have discussed the Proposed Section 2.2, as included in the Report, have found it to be both confusing and redundant, and fail to see, for example, a meaningful distinction between the the proposed separate values of ““justice”” and ““equity””. They also find the use of the term ““covenant”” to be needlessly evocative of Evangelical Christianity, where, at least in the South, there is a Covenant Baptist or a New Covenant or a Grace Covenant Church in just about every town, because, in Christian churches, a ““covenant”” means ““a two-way promise, the conditions of which are set by God.”” For those of my UU friends who are non-theists, using such terms fills them, at best, with disappointment. There are at least 19 Covenant Churches within an hour’s drive of Portland, Oregon. The Covenant Life Church, for example, describes itself as ““a Kingdom community built around loving Jesus Christ and expressing that love to others.”” A brief search of covenant churches in Georgia yielded over 90, from Hephzibah to Atlanta, Athens to Warner Robbins and in between. We could just Agree.

1 Like

I agree with all your points. Additionally, the process by which members are able to voice opinions & suggestions on this fundamental change to the meaning of our religion is not effective. News of the amendment came to us late, the website navigation is non-intuitive, and the torrent of comments is difficult to search. I feel these problems show us not living up to our principle of commitment to democratic process. How ironic if the very amendment whose chief concern seems to be that we should indeed put our principles into action is not itself living up to them. I realize that various opportunities have been offered along the way for member comment, but I never heard of any of them until they’d already happened.

I appreciate your skepticism of the word “covenant”. Covenants with articles of faith have a long and controversial history. They are often used to enforce conformity by purging (or threatening) those who are deemed “out-of-covenant”.