Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote “the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.” This is the fifth of our seven principles. (More here).
In this election year, our democracy is on the minds of many of us. And, here in Washington, the state legislature is in session now. Recently several of us from OUUC participated in the Faith Action Network (FAN) Lobby Day to ask our state legislators to consider a whole host of bills related to social justice—houselessness, education, criminal justice, and the environment. About 200 people of faith from around the state gathered to make our voices heard.
Isn’t that what democracy is about? Listening, speaking, understanding, working for the common good. And, it takes some work to agree on what the common good is.
People sometimes assume that Unitarian Universalists are liberal in their politics because we are a liberal religion. Liberal faith and liberal religion are two different things. (Sermon on this topic coming in March!). People in OUUC and other UU congregations hold a variety of political beliefs and affiliations. Part of being in community is navigating how we are together when we may not agree on a political issue or candidate. Do we have the capacity to listen with openness and curiosity to a different opinion? Can we agree to disagree and remain in relationship? Can we find common values and principles, knowing that we may have different ideas about how those are lived out?
When I meet a UU with different political ideas than I have, I ask about their beliefs and listen. I ask about their understanding of our seven principles and how their political principle reflects those principles, and I listen. Very rarely do I meet a UU who doesn’t believe that our actions don’t need to reflect our principles; it’s part of who we are.
So, in this election year, I invite you to remain open and curious. Don’t assume we all think alike and ask about principles and values. I wish you many lively conversations!
Blessings on your week,