BY LINDA WEIR, PRESIDENT
IOWA LAKES UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST FELLOWSHIP
The Unitarian Universalist (UU) moral foundation is built on seven principles. They are not a creed but are used as a way of understanding who UU's are and what we stand for. They point to a way of life that UUs find worthwhile and inspiring. The sixth principle is "the goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all."
Liberty, justice, peace, and equality are all conditions required if there is to be genuine world community. Seeing the humanity in all other people reveals the real kinship across all the lines that divide us. The attainment of such world-wide harmony has long been a dream of humanity and a worthy goal of UUs. We do not know when such a dream was first imagined but at some point, individuals came to believe that all human beings, no matter how different from one another, are inherently worthwhile. From that perspective, we could cooperate in achieving common goals rather than exhaust energies in competing against one another. The dream was that all people everywhere would have a full measure of the earth's riches and share responsibilities in the burdens of life.
There have been many versions of this dream. The Jewish prophet Micah wrote of a time when "they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."
The Golden Light Sutra of the Buddhists tells of a similar time when rulers "will gain their thrones by the due accumulation of the merit of their former deeds; they will be satisfied with their own royal state, and they will not destroy one another nor show their mettle by laying waste whole provinces."
Abdu'Baha, a leader of the Bahai faith, wrote of a time when "warfare and strife will be uprooted, disagreement and dissension will pass away and Universal Peace unite the nations and peoples of the world."
These and other visions from world religions have kept alive the dream of a united human family even when that dream has been distorted. Sadly in today's world, whether in our own country or the Middle East or Europe, humanity has been misled into thinking conquest is the way to bring about unity that offers peace and justice for everyone.
The goal of peace, liberty, and justice for all is grounded in UU basic ideals. We are human beings who can make meaningful choices, not helpless creatures of a deity, of our genes, or of our environment. Part of what happens to us is what we choose to make or to let happen. Always we are free to choose our attitude to the events of our lives. "Peace, liberty, and justice for all" is a call for action to make the world a good place for everybody. UUs are committed to internationalism, to international organizations that seek to prevent war and minimize violence, to international groups that work to bring genuine religious freedom to all countries of the world.
The UU sixth principle, "the goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all," speaks a powerful message to the 189 nations of the world who are struggling to learn to live together. This is the way to live together, this principle asserts: by holding aloft peace and liberty and justice as ideals and by ever seeking to make these ideals real.
Based on excerpts from Unitarian Universalist Sermon, Dr. Kenneth Phifer, Oct. 28, 2001.