Politics Magazine

You Can’t Build Something Positive Out of the Lowest Common Denominator…or, Can’t We Chuck the Principles Now? Pt.2

Posted on the 20 September 2012 by Eastofmidnight

Tim Bartik, in a comment on my last post, writes (not picking on you Tim, but the comment has made me think):

Second, I think it would be better to start with what we have as principles, and try to modify them to be more inspirational and a clearer focus for UUism as a positive religion.

I have no doubt that the Principles could be prettified and made more inspirational. Yet if any of you were at the GA where the Commission on Appraisal presented a revision of the Principles, you know there would be a significant pushback. Which I think brings up the more important issue with the Principles.

Can you build something positive when you’re stuck with the least common denominator? Because, let’s be real about it, that’s what the Prinicples are; the lowest common denominator for a culturally liberal religious group that doesn’t want to use religious words.

Sound harsh? That’s because it is. But again, let’s be real. If we just went by the Principles, what would distinguish a Unitarian Universalist congregation from the local Rotary Club or Optimist Club or the Junior League (or for that matter any of the historically African American sororities and fraternities)? Why would anybody want to join a religious group that, for all intents and purposes, is no different than those organizations?

No matter how much you try, it is very hard to build something positive when you stuck with the lowest common denominator.

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