Bold underlining indicate insertion ; [brackets indicate deletion.]
Section C-2.5. Freedom of Belief.
Lines 58-59: Congregational [freedom] polity and the individual’s freedom of belief and right of conscience are central to our Unitarian Universalist heritage.
With these freedoms also comes the responsibility to choose beliefs and actions that are consistent with our values.
Lines 60-61: Congregations, this Association, and its affiliates may establish statements of purpose, covenants, and bonds of union so long as they do not require that members adhere to a particular creed.
During our congregation’s workshops and those facilitated by the UUA Board, it was clear that the last sentence of the proposed Freedom of Belief which states that people cannot be subjected to a creedal test does not adequately convey that the individual has freedom of belief. People expressed a preference that the words are stated explicitly.
The word “polity,” as it relates to congregations, is more specific than the open-ended word “freedom.” The addition of “this Association, and its affiliates” is drawn from Amendment Idea #305 submitted by Rick Holmgren in April.
The responsibility statement conveys that beliefs and the right of conscience should be informed by our values. For example, a baker might refuse to make a cake for an LGBTQ couple’s wedding, citing their personal beliefs and right of conscience. However, this would violate the Values of Equity and Justice.
I like “polity” and “freedom of belief”, but the added sentence seems a bit heavy-handed.
Teresa and I are members of the delegate team for my congregation. We added this sentence after discussing the effects and consequences of the right of conscience. Someone’s right of conscience could justify actions that we wouldn’t support. We concluded that we support anyone’s right of conscience as long as the resulting actions don’t violate our values. Is there a better way to say this that doesn’t sound heavy-handed?
One can support a right to conscience without approving of actions that hurt others.
Note to any authors/proponents of any amendments that did not pass or were not prioritized. I have heard that this site will be locked on Tuesday. Our lay-led public Facebook group, Blue Boat Passengers, created for discussing Article II and GA, will remain open for commenting a couple weeks longer (and still be visible for viewing as a public record afterwards).
Blue Boat Passengers: Info & Constructive Discussion re Article II, etc. | Announcement: This group will soon be suspended | Facebook
Anyone who wishes to use the Blue Boat Passengers group for finding each other and coordinating to do the 15-congregation amendment process may do so while the group remains open (must follow group rules).
Here are some comments about the 15-congregation amendment process, from Donald Wilson, who used to be on the GA Planning Committee:
"“Unlike how the amendment process was run for this GA (ie at the discretion of the moderators and board), the process you’ve mentioned is bylaw and subject to little to no interpretation. I wouldn’t wait however. You need to get the petition from the UUA Board Secretary in the next couple weeks, and you have to have it turned Into the Board before February 1st. You don’t even have to have a congregational vote. You just have to get their board to sign off.” ETA: You must check this–rules vary by congregation. Also, look for the UU Governance Lab group on Facebook to connect with Donald Wilson directly.
Also, a comment from another member who was participating on Discuss:
“Some of us are connecting on Slack, mainly to remain in contact with others interested in specific amendments or the amendment process in general at GA 2024.”