Unitarian Universalism

The 8th Principle of Unitarian Universalism

Borrowed with permission from Rev. Paula Cole-Jones.

I’ve definitely been getting more into UUism lately. I’m joining groups and reading books, and I even volunteered to be my church’s Collecting Treasurer, a role I take over on July 1st. (Do I know what I’m doing? Heck, no. When has that ever stopped me?)

One of the groups concerns promoting the 8th Principle and getting it passed in our congregation. So what is it? Basically our version of critical race theory, apparently.

So it might help newbies to know what the other 7 Principles are, huh? I’m happy to oblige:

  1. The inherent worth and dignity of every person
  2. Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations
  3. Acceptance of one another and encouragement of spiritual growth in our congregations
  4. A free and responsible search for truth and meaning
  5. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large
  6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all
  7. Respect for the interdependent web of existence of which we are all a part.

So now, along comes the 8th Principle and apparently some people are freaking out.

The 8th Principle is:

“We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote: journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.”

I’m still learning what this will entail in its entirety, but if this will help us dismantle racism, I say go for it.

I guess some people are being offended because they think the people who came up with the 8th Principle are accusing them of being racist when they’re not. But we white people benefit from white privilege without even being aware of it, most of the time. It’s not that we’re racist, just that we need to increase our awareness, and then act in ways that get rid of white privilege and make systems fair for everyone.

I confess that my understanding is still evolving, but one of my groups is/was reading the book “Me and White Supremacy,” which is helping me to see things the way they really are. I’ve also read “How to Be an Antiracist” and that was also eye-opening.

I realize that not everyone likes Amazon (I have a love/hate relationship with them myself), so here are Wikipedia links for more info on the books I reference (and this way, you can choose your own dealer if you wish to purchase):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Me_and_White_Supremacy

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_to_Be_an_Antiracist

If you’re a UU, what do you think of the 8th Principle? Do you think it’s redundant? Or do you think we need it to help us be more inclusive? Did I get anything wrong in this post? (Like I said, my understanding is still evolving.) If you’re not a UU, what do you think of this whole debate?

Sources: https://www.uua.org/beliefs/what-we-believe/principles, https://www.8thprincipleuu.org/

2 thoughts on “The 8th Principle of Unitarian Universalism

  1. I am not sure I will continue membership in the Unitarian church. Behind all the talk of love there seems to be a dark side of blaming, judging, over the top resentment and divisiveness. I fear that the 8th principle will lead to the re-election of Trump because Liberals will kill themselves off by internal fighting

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    1. I guess I haven’t been around long enough to have been witness to some of the dark side (although a church history class mentioned that the UUs managed to tick off the African American contingent in the 1960s or 1970s – I was like, why would you do that?). These days we’re trying to be better by educating ourselves, mostly by reading books written by people of color. Lastly, with all due respect, I hope you’re wrong in your prediction. We can’t afford the destructiveness of Trump’s lies, and I don’t understand why the Republicans, some of which should be intelligent enough to know better, are throwing themselves behind him lockstep. Hopefully the liberals can unite at least long enough to take advantage of any weaknesses the situation presents.

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