Kathy Rawle

I’m deeply disheartened by the years of debate on this issue within the UUA and our congregation while reactionary extremists are attacking everything we stand for. Yes, our country must continue to face racism. Of course. We as UUs have been called to this work for decades, even centuries. It has therefore been shocking for many to discover racism in our own institutions and policies, even in ourselves. But lengthy grappling with this reckoning has effectively removed the UUA and many UUs from meaningful action during one of the most fraught times in our history.

I’m troubled when I hear older UUs dismissed as “not getting it” when they question how this Principle will be applied. Many of these elders have worked for decades, sometimes at great cost, to help the oppressed and to establish laws that have tangibly improved lives.

The Civil Rights Act and The Voting Rights Act, for example, passed before most of our current leaders were born, resulted from powerful, courageous activism that included many UUs. These laws have enabled far greater representation by people of color, women, indigenous people, LGBTQ+ and other marginalized communities in all places of power: elected and appointed offices, the courts, higher education, corporate executive ranks, sports, and entertainment. The impact of these laws has been profound.

But right now well-financed forces are working furiously to roll back these gains—never mind furthering them—dismantling laws we worked so hard to pass and making our country less safe for Black Americans, women, LGBTQ+ and, frankly, everyone.

While all this is happening, our continuing debate on the 8th Principle enables us to forego action desperately needed right now: sustained engagement with political and governing processes. How many of us interact with any elected officials at any time? Are we aware of the laws and policies being debated right now by our city and county councils, the state legislature, in Congress? These laws and policies directly affect the communities we say we care so much for, and you can bet our representatives are hearing loudly and persistently from those who oppose them.

We may be deluding ourselves if we think the 8th Principle will answer these pressing issues. Will grievous inequities in our healthcare, education, housing, and income be rectified? Will voting rights, marriage equality, women’s sovereignty over their bodies be assured? Will we be safer from gun violence? Will trans kids feel secure in their families and communities?

Where is Westside’s call to join the fight?

[The submission form doesn’t contain my position on the 8th: Agnostic]

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