Why I support adopting the 8th Principle?

  • 8th Principle: At the Congregational Annual Meeting on May 21, UU St. Pete members will be voting on the adoption of the 8th Principle for our congregation to move forward with direct actions to dismantle racism and other forms of oppression.
  • Article II: At the UUA General Assembly in June 2023, delegates from UU congregations will vote on the updated draft language put forth by the Article II Commission; delegates will vote whether to move Article II forward for a final vote in 2024. The UU St. Pete Racial Justice Team will provide our congregation more education about Article II soon.
  • This information was stated incorrectly Friday, March 31.

The Proposed 8th Principle:
“We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, 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.”

John Motter submitted the information below:

“I fully support the adoption of the 8th Principle because I don’t believe the current 7 Principles adequately address the issues that our members, our congregation, and our community are grappling with every day.  The principles are ideals that we hold as strong values and moral guides.  But to me, they are ideals that I could aspire to but that do not call me to action.  The success of these ideals is under direct assault in our world every day.  Adopting the 8th Principle lets the world know that we, as a church, are going to actively fight back against that assault.  It lets people know that we hope to make UUSP a haven for all who enter its doors.

The inherent worth and dignity of every person will never be a reality when our governor says that African American history has no educational value.  It won’t be a reality when states are passing laws banning medical treatment for transgender individuals.  It won’t be a reality when people work a full-time job and still find themselves without shelter because rents are too high.  And it won’t be a reality when Black residents are three times more likely to be arrested for a misdemeanor than white residents.

The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large will not be a reality.  Redistricting in Florida has made it possible for Republicans to hold power statewide.  Their actions, I would argue, are not the will of most Floridians.  They’ve ignored those that feel women should control their own bodies.  They believe in banning books and teaching only the “good” parts of American history.  By ignoring it or discount it, they want us to believe that it doesn’t exist.  How is that any different than us, if we hear our BIPOC members and visitors tell us that they are harmed by our actions and then we choose to ignore them.

The good news is that we are already doing some of the work that the 8th Principle calls us to do.  FAST just held its Nehemiah Action.  FAST listens to community members, many of whom are BIPOC individuals.  They listen to what the problem is and what the community needs in terms of solutions.  They then go about creating that change through dismantling or changing the system and institutions.  AND, they are successful at it.

That is what a vote for the 8th Principle would mean.  It would mean that we, as UUSP members, would work to change how we act and operate as individuals and as a church to make the ideals of our Principles actual reality.  We will need the time to learn what all the issues are, what change is needed and how to get there.  It will not be an overnight process and mistakes will be made.  Courses will need to be altered.  But, most importantly, progress will be made.

I want a church that is known for its active role in being an inclusive and beloved community for all.  That’s what voting yes means.  If we, as a church, vote no then we are telling BIPOC individuals and any other marginalized group that we do not value their inherent worth.  That’s not the kind of community I want our church to be.”