Well, after some research by the UUA Secretary, Paul Rickter, he has determined that there is no provision in the by-laws for an absentee vote on Article II. Everyone seems to acknowledge that the logic of an unamendable by-law would allow it but it is not the case and would itself take a by-law amendment.Note: I have added the changed text from the January 2008 UUA Board of Trustees Meeting to the latest draft of Article II.
The changed text can be found in Section C-2.2 and is written in blue bold italic text to distinguish it from the Commission on Appraisal's December 2008 draft.
According to Tom Loughrey (Pacific Southwest District UUA Board Representative), the type of motion from the UUA Board to put this on the 2009 General Assembly Agenda is a motion that doesn't allow for General Assembly delegates to amend the Article II text. All they can do is vote for or against it.
This seems reasonable to me given that their process allowed individuals and groups from across the nation to provide their inputs to the Commission on Appraisal and the UUA Board.
The UUA Commission on Appraisal has released their latest proposed revision to the UUA "Principles and Purposes" section of the UUA Bylaws.
Below is the text of the latest revision (copied from the COA's 15 page report to the UUA Board and pasted into this blog post for easy reading):
Proposed Revision of Article IISource document for this draft revision:
ARTICLE II: Covenant
Section C-2.1 Purposes.
This association of free yet interdependent congregations devotes its resources to and exercises its corporate powers for religious, educational, and humanitarian purposes. It supports the creation, vitality, and growth of congregations that aspire to live out the Unitarian Universalist Principles. Through public witness and advocacy, it advances the Principles in the world.
Section C 2.2. Sources.
Unitarian Universalism is rooted in two religious heritages. Both are grounded on thousands of years of Jewish and Christian teachings, traditions, and experiences. The Unitarian heritage has affirmed that we need not think alike to love alike and that God is one. The Universalist heritage has preached not hell but hope and courage, and the kindness and love of God. Contemporary Unitarian Universalists have reaped the benefits of a legacy of prophetic words and deeds.
Unitarian Universalism is not contained in any single book or creed. Its religious authority lies in the individual, nurtured and tested in the congregation and the wider world. As an evolving religion, it draws from the teachings, practices, and wisdom of the world’s religions. Humanism, earth-centered spiritual traditions, and Eastern religions have served as vital sources. Unitarian Universalism has been influenced by mysticism, theism, skepticism, naturalism, and process thought as well as feminist and liberation theologies. It is informed by direct experiences of mystery and wonder, beauty and joy. It is enriched by the creative power of the arts, the guidance of reason, and the lessons of the sciences.
Grateful for the traditions that have strengthened our own, we seek to engage cultural and religious practices in ways that call us into right relationship with all.
Section C-2.3 Principles.
Grateful for the gift of life, we commit ourselves as member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association to embody together the transforming power of love as we covenant to honor and uphold:
As free yet interdependent congregations, we enter into this covenant, pledging to one another our mutual trust and support. Capable of both good and evil, at times we are in need of forgiveness and reconciliation. When we fall short of living up to this covenant, we will begin again in love, repair the relationship, and recommit to the promises we have made.
- The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
- Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations;
- Acceptance of one another and encouragement of spiritual growth;
- A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
- The right of conscience and the use of democratic processes;
- The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
- Reverence for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
Section C-2.4 Inclusion.
Systems of power, privilege, and oppression have traditionally created barriers for persons and groups with particular identities, ages, abilities, and histories. We pledge to do all we can to replace such barriers with ever-widening circles of solidarity and mutual respect. We strive to be an association of congregations that truly welcome all persons and commit to structuring congregational and associational life in ways that empower and enhance everyone’s participation.
Section C-2.5 Freedom of Belief.
Congregational freedom is central to the Unitarian Universalist heritage.
Congregations may establish statements of purpose, covenants, and bonds of union so long as they do not require a statement of belief as a creedal test for membership; nor may the Association employ such a test for congregational affiliation.
January 2009 Report From the UUA Commission on Appraisal to the UUA Board
The UUA Board met on 14-19 January 2009 and made one minor change to the COA's draft.
The full report provides background information on the decisions made by the COA in gathering and using inputs from Unitarian Universalist across the country.