8th Principle Article: History of Our Principles

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My last Meridian Article introduced the Principles as adopted in the 1960s. The first major revision was in the mid 1980s. It is striking to read the original 6. They reflect their time. The language is male-centered and Judeo-Christian is the only religious tradition.

The members of the UU Women’s Federation [UUWF] took issue. There was a multi year/meeting/draft effort that culminated in the 7 which had ‘religious integrity, intellectual coherence, and literary quality.’ In addition to the work of the UUWF, there were two cultural/philosophical/political groundswells: religious traditions other than Judeo-Christian were important to us and Global Warming was critical to our place in the world.

The result was the 7 principles. The 6 sources were added as a compromise. The issue was the inclusion of a deity and the Judeo-Christian tradition. The inclusion of a deity and the Judeo-Christian tradition in the original 6 had almost derailed the formation of the UUA. When they started the review, that same issue was raised. In a stroke of genius, someone suggested including sources for the principles and everyone was appeased. The 7 have remained almost unchanged for the past 35 years. In my next article I will write about events during those 35 years and the development of #8.