I have several concerns about the 8th Principle, as well as the Article II project that will be the vehicle for the addition of the principle.
I feel that the mission of the 8th Principle is already contained within the first and second principle, and we’d be better off refining those.
I also feel that the proposed 8th is representative of an unfortunate and intolerant trend within the UUA. I strongly believe in anti-racism, but I believe that there are many paths, and that we each need to follow our own. I feel that the new principle, instead of promoting a diversity of action creates a new orthodoxy, almost dogma, from which diversion will be discouraged or even punished.
In the process of finding our way, some of us will be clumsy, others will even fail to see the need for specific action on anti-racism. We need to meet people where they are and help them in their discernment, and not make personal prioritization of anti-racism as a litmus test. We each have something to bring to the table to make our faith stronger.
Failing to be anti-racist isn’t racism on its face, and is a long way from active racism. Some people are just built to flow with the tide, and that doesn’t reduce their value as a human, or their belonging as a fellow UU.
One other major concern is procedural. This is the wrong time to take a stand on the proposed 8th principle, and instead we should be looking at Article II. There will be a transition from study to proposed Article II revisions this fall, driving towards a vote in 2023. Major discussion will happen this year at GA. Had I known this, I would have asked to be nominated as a delegate this year.
The UUA offers materials for discussions about Article II. I think they have an idealogical tilt, but can provide structure. Time is short, but we should do at least some of these exercises before June so that our delegates can have a sense of where Westside is, even though we’re asking them to make decisions based on their own discernment.