#68 | Dick Burkhart | Changes to Freedom of Belief

Submission 68
Dick Burkhart
Saltwater Unitarian Universalist Church (Des Moines, WA) 8135

What is your suggestion or idea?

Replace the wording of Section C-2.5. Freedom of
Belief, by

“Our circles of
mutual respect extend to those whose right of conscience leads them to ethical,
but dissident or uncommon, convictions or practices. This freedom of belief
applies to all UU organizations, subject only to broad consistency with our

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

The proposed A2SC
wording does not clarify the actual meaning of the “right of conscience”, suggesting
that it applies primarily to creedal tests. My wording clarifies that it
applies primarily to dissident or uncommon views and practices, which may have nothing
to do with theological creeds, but may be of a cultural, ideological, or even
political nature. And in this larger context, it is important to specify limits
– it’s not “anything goes” – but that basic ethics and our own principles impose
broad limits, hence the phrase “consistent with”.

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

Yes. Many are concerned today about freedom of belief and want that clarified, and not just on matters of theology. This includes some in my congregation and almost all in the other UU groups have contact with.


This is a useful amendment , which helps make “freedom of belief” section more “actionable”, that is it actually states how this clause might lead to some different policies by UU-affiliated organizations.


I like this. I will be proposing an edited version of the Principles to be added back into this Article, one of which is • “Free speech and tolerance for diverse viewpoints held in good faith and good will.”


This is a useful Amendment as it makes clear that Freedom of Belief is broader than what might be understood from the A2SC proposed wording.
Allan Lindrup, delegate, UU Community Church, Park Forest, IL


I like this because it specifies that freedom of belief explicitly includes having uncommon beliefs or practices, and that it is possible to have dissident convictions and still be ethical.


I don’t disagree with the main ideas in this post, but I’m not sure this level of detail is useful in this specific part of the Bylaws. I may not understand the issues well enough.