“The Roots and Meaning of Our Fifth Principle”

Our fifth principle states that we affirm and promote “The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large. “

The Unitarian Universalist Association of congregations is the most democratically based religious movement in America. Our Unitarian roots have strong connections with early American political history.  

There are several interesting aspects to our Fifth Principle. 

First, we combine the affirmation of democracy with the right of conscience. These two forces balance and complement one another. Neither is meaningful without the other. 

Second, our fifth principle also affirms the importance of there being a robust affirmation of the right of conscience and democratic process “in society at large.” The underlying idea is that a threat to democracy and individual rights anywhere in society is a threat to democracy and individual rights everywhere in society.

Third, we take the unusual position of stating that the democratic process and individual conscience are integral to our understanding of religious life

In this sermon I will talk about some of the core beliefs of the most important persons in the founding of the American Republic, how their values influenced our understanding of religion – and why this is an important to talk about now.