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8/3/2017: A-Mazing!! The UUA passes “Reversing Economic Inequity” Statement of Conscience, by Lucy Hitchcock


We (the UUA) have come a long way.  In 1979, President Paul Carnes created the UU Task Force on Economic Justice.  Soon, Rev. Dr. Richard Gilbert published, “How Much Do We Deserve?” and with Dr. Loretta Williams, Director of the UUA Office of Social Responsibility, published the first economic justice curriculum, “A Call to Do Justice.”  In 1989, the Rev. Paul Sawyer called a group of colleagues together with lecturers from the Center for Popular Economics and, out of the dialogue, UUJEC, an affiliate UUA organization, was born. Years of study, curricula, workshops, GA resolutions, marches followed.   In 2017, the UUA has just passed its comprehensive Statement of Conscience on economic justice.  Drawing from the study and actions of many congregations, UUSC, UUJEC, Class Conversations and others, the SOC contains many specific action proposals to inspire us to carry on the work.  It is amazing to see so much, once dreamed of initiative toward economic justice, publicly affirmed.  Achieving any one of the actions proposed would be worthy progress.

But, are we there yet?  The actions described can themselves be seen as a maze.  Mazes have cul-de-sacs and you have to go back to find the main trail.  An example is the $15 an hour minimum wage, a much-appreciated step toward a living wage for many.  But, $15 an hour, when a CEO in the same company is allowed to be paid 300 times that, is not equitable.  It is only a patch on a system that is inherently unjust.

To exit the deceptive maze, we (and now the we is society and world) we must abort the capitalist system and a world view of individualism/nationalism, i.e., “survival of the fittest,” and birth genuine economic democracy and a world view of we-will-all-solve-it-and-benefit-from-it-together communitarianism and globalism.

Patchwork quilts can be beautiful.  But they easily fray.  We need whole cloth if we are to achieve equity.   The introduction to the SOC states the goal:

we are committed to working to change economic and social systems with a goal of equitable outcomes of life, dignity, and well-being experienced by all

and the recent decades’ exacerbation of inequality.  So, we have come a long way.  The next study and action must go deeper and be stronger even while we keep patching healthcare, wages and renewable energy just to keep afloat.  The word “revolution” comes to mind now we are committed to systemic change.  Let us be creative and daring, together.

To read the UU World article on the SOC, please click here.


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