Amendment 56 to Article II - Proposed by Bruce Rieder

Bold underlining indicate insertion ; [brackets indicate deletion.]

32 We covenant to dismantle racism and all forms of systemic oppression. [We support the use of

33 inclusive democratic processes to make decisions.] We support democracy and aspire to trust in democratic decision-making processes within our congregations and in society at large.

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This amendment seeks to recognize the brokenness of the “democratic process” in ways not conceived more than 40 years ago when this language was first written. The addition of “inclusive” is not enough to make this recognition and is problematic to some because “Inclusive Democracy” is a political movement with meanings I’m not sure are intended to be implied here. Among oppressions implemented using the “democratic process” are allowing women’s reproductive rights to be taken, voting rights to be diluted, transgender children’s security to be taken, books to be banned, history to be ignored, and same sex marriage to be relitigated. This process has been accelerating for 40 years to use these processes to vote on people’s rights with the accelerating affect of removing rights and freedoms. I use the language of trust that is currently used by the UUA in its posted reflection on the 5th Principle found at: 5th Principle: The Right of Conscience and the Use of the Democratic Process Within Our Congregations and in Society at Large | What will it take to restore trust in the democratic process? That’s what “aspire” is about-the recognition that we do not fully trust the democratic process as it is currently used but aspire to create processes based in democracy that do engender trust.

This is thought-provoking; I realize that when we who support the democratic process think of it, it is in the pure/ideal form, not as it is often practiced and manipulated. I need to look up Inclusive Democracy, had not heard that as a formal term before. I’d like to see something more concrete than “aspire to trust”; “work to improve” or “work to ensure full participation”? not sure, exactly.

Here is info on Inclusive Democracy: Introducing the Inclusive Democracy Agenda | Demos At first glance, it seems to be something I would support, but I agree that the intention was not to support a particular program. I am not sure that the use of the 2 words, particularly uncapitalized, actually did indicate such support to most folks.

Thank you for taking the time to read my amendment proposal. The concern about Inclusive Democracy came up during the workshop sessions from some participants. Personally, uncapitalized, I share your thought that it was not intended to reference the specific political movement but, after hearing the concern, I felt it best not to push that thought, since it’s a distraction from the main thrust of my proposal.

I just really feel that the language of the Fifth Principle as written 40 years ago is wholly inappropriate today to say that we support the “democratic process”. Using that unchanged language strongly implies the existing practices of the “democratic process” as the proper default to respect democracy and it just is not imo. In the mid-1980’s we were still fairly recently out of the Watergate era which restored significant trust in the democratic process. Nothing approaching that level of trust in, or understanding of, our democratic process exists today I would submit. After a great deal of thought, I arrived at “aspire to” because it raises the question: what do we aspire to in supporting democracy? That’s the question I think we all need to be asking ourselves today. I think matters such as this is one of the reasons in the living tradition that we revisit Article II. I’m happy if we just get folks thinking about the current meaning and understanding of the words we use.

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Thanks for that explanation; very helpful. Still sorting through all the various suggestions; so many thoughtful folks here!

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I think the amendment asks the right question about democracy. I think we are responsible for (and hopefully have more control over) democracy in our congregations. …and society at large, that faith wavers and aspire to trust is a truth of our time that resonates.

I would like to see “our denomination” included with “our congregations” and “society at large” as places that should be democratic.

Thank you, Bruce. I like “support democracy” instead of “inclusive democratic principles.” It is less limiting and does not cause unintended confusion associating us with political movements.
Thank you for the addition of “within in our congregations and society at large,” which say we are for more than ourselves.

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To presenters or promoters of 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).

If you want to find people to coordinate with for the 15-congregation amendment process, you may use the group to do so while it remains open. There’s now a specific post for this in the group (“A post for those wishing to do the 15-congregation amendment process to coordinate”). Please read both the rules and the pinned post about the pending suspension of the group before posting or commenting there.


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