Democracy & Justice

Our Unitarian Universalist faith tradition is grounded in our shared values and commitments, expressed in the seven principles that were first written over 30 years ago, and have been democratically adopted by the approximately 1,000 member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Each and all seven of the principles are equally important and mutually affirming, and together they form a strong foundation for the leadership of our Unitarian Universalist presence to bring more justice into the world.

The first and second principles call us to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person; justice, equity and compassion in human relations. The fourth and fifth, equally important, affirm the free and responsible search for truth and meaning, along with the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations. I have been doing a lot of thinking this fall about the meaning of democracy in a UU congregation—and especially about how we use democracy to create and carry out initiatives that are both participatory and justice-centered, reflecting our diverse experiences, understanding, and voices.

In our learning journey, how do we balance the urgency of a justice imperative to care for those among us who are most often disenfranchised or subject to discrimination, with the uncertain promise and open-ended possibilities of a democratic system in which everyone, with every sort of opinion and perspective, has a say? How does a democracy avoid a tyranny of the privileged; how do we balance the benefits of collective decision-making against the risk of domination by those of privilege and power in the system?

Political thinkers have pointed out that a fair and effective democracy can thrive only with a high quality of education among the populace, and I would add that healthy democracy also requires heart-centered listening, open communication, trust and love. This democratic UU Congregation of Phoenix has set for itself the goal of living into a challenging vision to be theologically diverse, radically inclusive and justice centered; achieving this vision will require a continuing balance of learning, participation, understanding, open communication, trust and love.

With our principles in mind, this congregation is engaged in planning and implementing bold initiatives, and educating ourselves about all the elements of the actions we take. You are invited to join the Inclusion Ministry Team, and to make your presence known in this model democratic system for justice. May we live into our promise to be a faith community for our time, as all are welcome to share this journey, growing in spirit and advancing justice.  See you at UUCP!