Proposed 8th UU Principle

"The 8th Principle of Unitarian Universalism" with a flaming chalice

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.

Proposed 8th UU Principle

Background

In 1997, UUA congregations passed a resolution to become an antiracist, anti-oppressive multicultural organization, but there was not enough funding and support to carry it forward.

The movement for the adoption of the 8th Principle is a grassroots initiative. It is not a top-down initiative coming from the UUA. The 8th Principle is based on the belief that UU congregations need something to renew their commitment to dealing with racism and other oppressions at the systemic level, to hold congregations accountable and to fulfill the potential of the existing 7 UU principles.  

The proposed 8th Principle was written in 2013 by Paula Cole Jones, an African American and former staff member of what is now the UUA Central East Region, and Bruce Pollack-Johnson, a white racial justice leader at the UU Church of the Reformation in Philadelphia. Since then, they and others have been advocating for the adoption of the 8th principle by individual UU congregations.

See https://www.8thprincipleuu.org/background to learn more about the background of the proposed 8th Principle.

UU Organizations that Have Endorsed & Adopted the 8th Principle

Black Lives of UU (BLUU) and Diverse & Revolutionary UU Multicultural Ministries (or DRUUMM) have endorsed the 8th Principle. They encourage all Unitarian Universalists to advocate for the formal adoption of the 8th principle by the UUA, articulating a commitment to the dismantling of white supremacy within the stated principles of our faith.

As of July 8, 2021, 115 UU congregations and organizations have voted to adopt the 8th Principle.

UUC’s 8th Principle Process Team

The UUC 8th Principle Process Team was formed in February of 2021 with the purpose of providing meaningful engagement with the 8th Principle. We are providing a discernment process for UUC members with the intention of gaining support for the adoption of the proposed 8th Principle by our congregation.

The 8th Principle Process team is offering Listening Circles, Conversation Cafes and other opportunities for UUC members to reflect, learn and engage with other members on what the adoption of the 8th Principle would mean for our congregation. The process is also focused on building and nurturing our UUC Beloved Community as we explore what it means to become an antiracist congregation.

If you would like to learn more or get involved with UUC’s 8th Principle process, we welcome your participation. Please contact Jewels Mellen or Catherina Ruha.

Why UUC’s Adoption of the 8th Principle Is Important

We as UUs have been asked by Black and other UU members of color to embrace and adopt the 8th Principle. Our existing 7 principles imply the 8th principle, but do not explicitly hold us accountable for addressing racism and other oppressions directly, especially at the systemic level.

To truly support the dismantling of racism and other oppressions, we need to dismantle the culture and exclusive practices of whiteness and white supremacy. Adoption of the 8th Principle by UUC is an important step on our journey toward spiritual wholeness in our church community and our work towards becoming an antiracist congregation.

Living Tradition and the Evolving Nature of the UU Principles

Our UU Principles were designed to be dynamic; as new truths have emerged the UU Principles have evolved. They were revised in 1985 and amended in 1995. This living tradition means that as we get to a new level of understanding and clarity, we can reflect that by changing existing Principles or adding new ones. This happened when environmental awareness resulted in the addition of the 7th Principle.

The Wording of the 8th Principle Is Intentional with Emphasis on:

  • Journeying Towards Spiritual Wholeness – The work of anti-racism and anti-oppression is spiritual work. The term “journey toward spiritual wholeness” expresses the spiritual nature of the work and a recognition that there is a brokenness caused by racism. Journeying towards spiritual wholeness means we are promising to act against racism.
  • Diverse Multicultural Beloved Community – Based on the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Beloved Community is when people of diverse racial, ethnic, educational, class, gender and sexual orientation backgrounds and identities come together. What emerges is an interdependent relationship of love, mutual respect and care that seeks to realize justice within the community and in the broader world. “Beloved Community thrives on justice and inclusion.” ~Paula Cole Jones
  • Actions that Accountably Dismantle Racism and Other Oppressions – Without accountability our best intentions often do not result in meaningful action. It is important for us to be accountable to People of Color and other oppressed members of our faith because we believe in their inherent worth and dignity. Dismantling racism and other oppressions and decentering whiteness demonstrates our commitment to building a diverse multicultural Beloved Community.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Click here to read our answers to some frequently asked questions.

Contacts

For more information please contact Jewels Mellen or Catherina Ruha.


Singing Prayers for the Proposed 8th Principle

These hymns are a testament to the importance of equity and the necessity of the 8th Principle.

From Singing the Living Tradition

From Singing the Journey