The 8th Principle Resolution – to be voted on at our annual meeting on May 16th, 2021

As Unitarian Universalists, we have been grappling with how to address white supremacy in our institutions and the world at large. At MVUUF, the Racial Justice Committee has been calling us to actions that will make our community more welcoming and open to all people—offering the Racial Justice Pledge [insert link to the pledge page here ] and encouraging us all to actively address bias and white supremacy in our lives and in our congregational life together. Other congregations and our denomination as a whole have been grappling with questions of white privilege and power within Unitarian Universalism.

The Racial Justice committee, with support from the Board of Trustees proposes our congregation approve the 8th Principle resolution to clearly state our desire to promote justice, equity and compassion and to denounce and work against racism and other oppressions in ourselves, at MVUUF and in our wider community.

We will be voting to add the 8th Principle of Unitarian Universalism to MVUUF’s list of existing principles at our annual meeting on May 16th, 2021. The resolution we will be asking you to approve is as follows:

We, the members of Minnesota Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bloomington, MN, 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.

Why is it important for the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) to adopt an 8th Principle?

As UUs we are called to build the diverse multicultural Beloved Community that our ancestors spoke of and current generations still speak of to this day. There is much work to be done to undo 400 years of racism and white supremacy. Our BIPOC siblings of faith (Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism (BLUU) and Diverse Revolutionary UU Ministries (DRUUM)) have asked the association to adopt the principle to commit us to take action in dismantling racism and other oppressions. Adopting the 8th Principle makes it clear that all UUs strongly support the long-term work of ending white supremacy. At the 2020 General Assembly, the UUA created the Article II (section of our by-laws that holds our principles, sources and purposes) Study Commission to consider amendments and changes to our current principles. This commission has a two year charge to examine all elements of Article II to reflect “our commitment to anti-racism, anti-oppression, and multiculturalism.”

Why is it important for MN Valley UU Fellowship (MVUUF) to adopt the 8th Principle?

The time needed for the UUA to fully adopt the resolution could also be reduced by a strong show of support from individual congregations. 40 congregations have already approved the 8th Principle, we would be adding our voice to the voices of others. Adopting the 8th principle at MVUUF would represent an important step in our ongoing journey to dismantle racism in our own congregation. At MVUUF the Racial Justice Committee has been calling us to actions that will make our community more welcoming and open to all people. The UU principles were always intended as a dynamic and flexible covenant instead of a fixed creed. Unitarian Universalism is the only religion that intentionally builds in the flexibility to adjust to ongoing revealed truth; much as the 7th principle was added to respond to our interconnection with each other and the earth in response to environmental awareness, adopting and practicing this 8th principle reflects the current urgency and awareness of the need to do the personal and institutional work of acknowledging and eradicating systemic racism.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

I have issues with the wording of the proposed 8th Principle. Can we change the wording?

We are being asked to adopt the proposed wording of the principle as it stands, and many other UU congregations are also adopting it with the same wording. This is intended to show a groundswell of support for the 8th Principle from many congregations. It would not show unified support if individual congregations change the wording at this point. The wording will probably change as it moves through the UUA process before it is voted on at a General Assembly (GA). There will likely be opportunities for GA delegates to change the wording as well. Because questions about the wording of the final principle will be deferred to the GA, we can focus on what the principle asks of us to do.

Doesn’t the first principle of the UUA covenant address this concept?

Although the first principle affirms the inherent worth and dignity of every person, it does not call us to action specifically to address white supremacy, racism, or other oppressions that are destructive of human worth and dignity. In addition, the first principle has existed for many years, and yet racism persists within our minds, within our congregations, and within our denomination.