The Second Principle

Hi all, sorry again about being late. I really need to get better organized. I used to be better about that, not sure what happened. I did have to deal with another round of depression last week and this week, so that didn’t help. I’m hoping to get back on track now.

So, the Second Principle of UUism. It is; Justice, equity and compassion in human relations. I really like this one. “Compassion in human relations”, that sounds great. I think this is my favorite one. All too often, there is no compassion when dealing with people. We get treated as numbers in a spreadsheet, pledging units, and so on. Our very humanity is stripped from us. Our sole value is our economic output. Not very good for people.

Equity is an interesting choice of words. What does it mean?  According to the folks over at Merriam-Webster define it as: fairness or justice in the way people are treated. Let’s compare it to equality: the quality or the quality or state of being equal : the quality or state of having the same rights, social status, etc.state of being equal : the quality or state of having the same rights, social status, etc. Equality would be like giving everyone a hundred bucks. Equity would be looking at who could most use that money and giving it to them. Well, equity needs to be paired with compassion. It’s not about making people equal, it’s a way of dealing with people by seeing their needs.

How about justice?   That is an important word in this. Merriam-Webster defines it as: the quality of being just, impartial, or fair: the principle or ideal of just dealing or right action. We should deal justly and fairly with one another. Not because it is the right thing to do, although that helps. Because it is how we would want to be treated. This is the Golden Rule, do unto others as you would have done unto you. We should be doing all we can to treat those who are different the way we would want to be treated if the roles were reversed. Besides, who’s to say it won’t be you who is on the lower hand at some point?

So, let’s put this all together. Every time we interact with others, we should be seeking to be just, to be fair, to be equitable, and to be compassionate with them and with ourselves. I’m guilty of that, not being fair or compassionate to myself. We are people, even those of us who sometimes have trouble with that. We all deserve to be treated fairly, even when we don’t think we deserve it. I’ve been there too many times. Sometimes, we need to be reminded that we are worthy of being treated fairly and having our needs met.

We aren’t widgets put out by a factory. We aren’t all the same and we will have different needs. Treating someone fairly is to take those needs into account when deciding how to deal with others. Where are they coming from?  Where are we coming from?  How can we act so that we are being fair to the other person and ourselves?  Who else might be affected by our actions?  What does fairness look like when we include these people as well?

This follows directly from the First Principle, respect for everyone. When you respect someone, you treat them fairly and compassionately. You aren’t very likely to treat someone you don’t respect fairly or with compassion. This means that you can’t say these people or those people aren’t worthy of either respect or justice. This is a call to bring justice to the world. Justice for everyone, not only those with whom you agree.

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The First Principle

Hi, sorry I seem to have disappeared for a bit. Things just got away from me. So, I’m back and ready to talk about the First Principle of Unitarian Universalism. It’s a guiding principle for me and very important to my faith and morals. Taken straight from the website, the first principle is: The inherent worth and dignity of every person. Maybe you can see why I love this one. Everyone has worth and dignity and deserves respect. Reminds me of Christ saying to love everyone. And he meant everyone, not everyone except those people over there, everyone,  period.

Are there Christians that fail to love everyone?  Of course. There are even some that try to push hatred of certain groups of people and attempt to assert that these hatreds are a fundamental part of their religion. They are also wrong. And it’s easy to see that, all you have to do is look at what Jesus said. The greatest commandment is to love everyone. He said to love your enemy. Needed to get that out before moving on.

So, you can see that the First Principle is a part of Christianity. It’s also a part of many Pagan practices. I know that for Druidry, respect for everyone is a part of hospitality. You are required to be hospitable to everyone, which includes being respectful to all. I know that other Pagans have similar ideas that lead to the requirement to respect all life and since humans are part of all life, you respect everyone.

Let’s move on from all that and on to what I think this principle means. It really means that we all should respect everyone. Yes, that includes racists and transphobes and Republicans. I never said that is was going to be easy. We are all part of the divine, however you view that. Being part of the divine, each one of us is due respect. To steal from Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land”, “Thou art God”. For those who aren’t familiar with it, that was a recognition by all those in the Church of All Worlds recognizing the divine in each other. I think that is the essence of the First Principle.

I have struggled with self-worth for a long time and this principle speaks to that. It says that we all, every single one of us, has worth. This is a profound statement; it really is. Think about it, there is not one person in existence, not one who will exist, or who has existed that has been without worth. Every person, from the beginning of time has had worth. It staggers the mind and makes life difficult. We have to treat each person as a being with worth, even ourselves. That is even more difficult than treating someone else with respect. It is very easy to be hard on yourself and run yourself down. We see all the bad things we do and at times it is hard to see the good in ourselves. So, we need to be kind to others and ourselves.