Everyone Has a Say
We love to talk about our principles and sometimes we fall short of actually putting them into practice. Let’s face it; some are harder than others. I personally struggle with the first one (each person is important) in regard to every person; especially those I have little in common with. The last one (the interconnected web) is sometimes hard for me when I just want to throw out that used nut butter jar instead of cleaning it for recycling. We can just try and do better next time on these principles that sometimes present a struggle for us.
I want to talk to you about the one I don’t ever struggle with and that’s our fifth principle. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large. As we say in children’s religious education; all people have a say or a vote. When I was a child it was my job to “pull the lever” at the voting booth when I would go to the polls with my Nana. She taught me a lot about our principles without even knowing it or frankly knowing about UUism. She was born in 1920 and died in 2011. She always said it was a privilege to be able to vote as a woman and I have never taken that for granted. Every year our congregations hold their annual meetings where the major decisions of Fellowship are made and every member has a say. Each month our board of trustees meets, discusses and votes on resolutions, policies and procedures. This is a great privilege and sometimes our vote differs from others’ in the community.
So, it stands to reason that our young people have a say as well. We must always practice what we preach. There was a safety concern last month that has prompted our young people to feel empowered to start a petition. Perhaps you were presented with it and maybe even signed it at our Ingathering picnic. I had been told by several people that it was circulating and these folks seemed concern to tell me this information. Perhaps I have reason for concern because I haven’t read it and have not been presented this petition at the time of writing this article. However, I am never anything less than thrilled when our young people feel moved to express their opinion. We all have a voice and part of my personal philosophy of religious education is that no matter our age or stage we feel empowered to speak our mind in a loving, passionate and heartfelt way. As we have seen from recent elections things may not always go the way we expect or want them to go but we can’t be upset if we didn’t “pull the lever”. As we continue the conversations about safe congregations and safe spaces I am so glad our young people are part of the conversation and I invite you to be part of the conversation as well. After all; each person has a say.