Friday, December 6, 2013
Chalica - Day 5
The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and society at large
UU congregations have a large degree of autonomy*. This is a refreshing contrast to how the congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses are run. The UUA seems to be the legal entity of UU whereas the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is the legal AND religious entity of JWs. I suppose there is a basic framework that UU congregations work from such as adoption of the 7 principles. My congregation holds a few meetings a year to discuss upcoming programs and things that need to get done. We vote on things like how much we should spend to replace the carpet and what should be our next social justice project. JW congregations all over the world just do as they are told by 8 men. No voting, no discussing, just do as they tell you. The rank-and-file have no say in how the millions of dollars in donation get spent. None whatsoever.
Unlike JWs, UUs are encouraged to express their political opinions. Although UUism is generally liberal, I'm sure there may be some conservative thinkers. I finally registered to vote in the 2012 election. My personal activism is informing voters that there are more than 2 choices. The 4 largest 3rd parties are Libertarian, Green, Constitution, and Justice. No, it is not better to vote for the lesser of two evils. No, voting for a 3rd party candidate is not throwing your vote away. Not voting at all is throwing your vote away. Two huge problems that 3rd parties face are ballot access and debate access. Did you know that unlike the main parties, 3rd parties may have to requalify to be on the ballot every so often? That the Reps and the Dems formed the Commission on Presidential Debates and that the debate criteria automatically disqualify all 3rd parties?
As you light a blue candle, think about the voting process in your area. Are you registered to vote? If not, and if your conscience (not your religion) allows you to, register! When is the next election? Research the candidates ahead of time. You have more than 2 parties to choose from. Look up the ballot access rules in your area. If you are registered Independent or is upset with your current majority party, think of registering 3rd party. In many cases, ballot access is dependent on number of registered voters. Finally, look up your federal, state, and local (county or city level) elected officials. I confess, I don't even know all of mine.
*This of course is my perception. I have never served on the board of directors at my church nor at UUA. I welcome all comments concerning the organization of UU. I have to approve each comment since I'm getting lots of spam. Don't worry, I don't censor.