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5th Principle: The Right of Conscience and the Use of the Democratic Process Within Our Congregations and in Society at Large
Unitarian Universalist congregations together affirm and promote seven Principles. We also share a “living tradition” of wisdom and spirituality, drawn from many sources. The seven Principles and six Sources of the Unitarian Universalist Association grew out of the grassroots of our communities, were affirmed democratically, and are part of who we are.
Reflection on the Fifth Principle
“In our religious lives, the democratic process requires trust in the development of each individual conscience—a belief that such development is possible for each of us, as well as a commitment to cultivate our own conscience. We could call it a commitment to the value of each person. In the words of Theodore Parker, ‘Democracy means not “I am as good as you are,” but “You are as good as I am.”’ My connection with the sacred is only as precious as my willingness to acknowledge the same connection in others.”
—Rev. Parisa Parsa, executive director of the Public Conversations Project (read more from Parisa in The Seven Principles in Word and Worship, ed. Ellen Brandenburg.)