Unitarian Universalist Policy

The Unitarian Universalist Association General Assemblies have passed three statements/resolutions under the name of "Civil Liberties" and many more that relate directly to the issue.  Read the

complete list or from the excerpts below:

Civil Liberties 2004 Statement of Conscience

Preamble

Liberty is at the core of our Unitarian Universalist

faith. Civil liberties are at the heart of our American experiment in democracy.

Those civil liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, Amendments I through X

to the Constitution of the United States of America, are as fundamental to our

practice of democracy as freedom of conscience is to our actions of faith.

...Democratic process is at the heart of

Unitarian Universalism. Our Unitarian Universalist Principles are grounded in

freedom, reason, and tolerance...

Background

Unitarian Universalists are gravely concerned with the current erosion of

American civil liberties. Our criminal justice system has seen increases in

police brutality, harsher sentencing, racial profiling, and a call by our

leaders for quicker resort to the death penalty. The “War on Drugs” has given

the United States the dubious distinction of having the highest incarceration

rate among economically advanced nations. Federal funding for faith-based initiatives has threatened religious liberty by compromising the independence

and equality of different religious groups.

The attacks of September 11, 2001, created a climate of fear that has

escalated these threats to our liberties and made possible an ill-defined “War on Terrorism.” The message from our government is that the United States cannot

be both safe and free. Building on a pre-September 11 current of diminished civil liberties, the USA PATRIOT Act was signed into law on October 26, 2001.

This Act permits the unlimited detention and deportation of foreign nationals on

the basis of suspicion and without due process of law. It redefines the scope of

terrorism law to include domestic associations, rendering citizen organizations,

including communities of faith, subject to secret surveillance and

investigation. It allows the FBI to investigate American citizens without

probable cause if the agents consider it for “intelligence purposes.” It permits

law enforcement agencies to conduct secret searches, including phone and

Internet surveillance, and grants access to medical, banking, employment,

library, and other personal records with fewer considerations of due process.

Call To Action

As people of faith, and as Americans, we are called

to action. We are called to reclaim our heritage as Unitarian Universalists and

become vigilant stewards of our democracy. We are called as individuals, as

congregations, and as an association of congregations to let our leaders know

that some current policies are unacceptable. Therefore:

We hold public officials accountable and insist that they refrain from

supporting policies and legislation that further limit civil liberties.

We demand repeal of the USA PATRIOT Act and call upon local officials to

adopt resolutions urging its repeal and declaring their intention not to enforce

its onerous provisions.

We oppose the proposed Domestic Security Enhancement Act (PATRIOT II),

whether proposed as a separate legislative act or as parts of other legislation.

We oppose implementation of the “total information awareness” data-mining program of the Department of Defense; efforts to revive the Terrorism

Information and Prevention System (“TIPS”) program of the Department of Justice,

which sought to recruit Americans to spy on other Americans; and profiling based

on nationality, ethnicity, or religion. We oppose nominees to the federal appeals courts or the Supreme Court whose

records demonstrate insensitivity to the protection of civil liberties.

We affirm the right of foreign nationals to due process and the presumption

of innocence, and we oppose unwarranted tracking and reporting requirements that

abridge those rights. We appeal to public officials and the media to support constitutional

protections enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

Civil Liberties 1971 General Resolution

WHEREAS, the Unitarian Universalist Association

opposes any kind of surveillance of private citizens or government employees;

and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Army Intelligence and others have had at least a few of our

Unitarian Universalist churches under surveillance;

BE IT RESOLVED: The Unitarian Universalist Association go on record as

opposing any governmental abuse of surveillance whether by means of professional

data gathering systems, census forms, federal questionnaires, interviews, Army

investigations, wire tapping, or data banks; and

Civil Liberties 1963 General Resolution

WHEREAS, the United States is founded on the principles of individual rights

and civil liberties, embodied in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution; and

WHEREAS, for several years these individual rights and civil liberties have

been under attack by various elements of our society, resulting in the need for

continual vigilance and positive action; and

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That this General Assembly of the Unitarian

Universalist Association calls upon the President, Attorney General and all of

the duly constituted authorities to act decisively and at once to protect the

Constitutionally guaranteed civil rights of American citizens throughout the

United States, and to call to account those who violate these guaranteed civil

rights.

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