Congregational freedom and the individual’s right of conscience are central to our Unitarian Universalist heritage.
Congregations may establish statements of purpose, covenants, and bonds of union so long as they do not require that members adhere to a particular creed.
What is the reason for your amendment idea?
The current version merely acknowledges that freedom of belief has been historically important. The amendment adds language calling on the UUA to interpret the bylaws, and take actions, in ways that uphold freedom of belief. This changes ““freedom of belief”” from being rhetoric to showing how it will be upheld by action.
Have you discussed this idea with your congregation or other UUs?
“Right of conscience” currently exists along with democracy because the right of conscience is an important right for minorities in a majority-driven system. In this section, split off from democracy, the term “right of conscience” isn’t as good as “freedom of belief”. After the pushback from UUs in the fall, the UUA shoehorned well-loved phrases from the Principles into the revision, and “right of conscience” got put here probably so that the leaders could say “the right of conscience is still in there”.
Regardless of whether the term “right of conscience” is used, versus “freedom of belief”, the key provision of this proposed amendment is to reposition ROC or FOB as not just historical commitments, but as “principles/values” that the UUA should take ACTION to uphold.