Why Is the 8th Principle So Long?

Demonstration with lots of people, one person holding up sign with picture of MLKJr. with words "I have the same dream."

I first heard about the proposed 8th Principle almost two years ago. My initial reaction was: “Wow, that’s a lot to say and remember!”

We 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.”

As I have come to understand more about my own white privilege and complicity in upholding systemic racism and other oppressions, I now see that every element of the proposed principle is important and needs to be there.

I learned that our work to dismantle racism and other oppressions must begin with ourselves and our UU institutions. Otherwise, we’ll carry racist and oppressive attitudes and behaviors into efforts beyond our congregation, including attitudes and behaviors we are unaware of in ourselves.

I also learned more about our decades-long UU failure to follow through on association-wide commitments to become anti-racist, anti-oppressive, and multi-cultural.

Our association may incorporate the 8th principle into revised Purposes and Principles in a few years. But the work to build Beloved Community is needed now. And we can go ahead and make the commitment at the congregational level and hold ourselves accountable to take the actions to fulfill that commitment. At least one hundred twenty-five UU congregations have already adopted the principle. There is something very powerful and compelling about so many individual congregations adopting the same words of commitment to engage in this important work!