Ask a Unitarian Universalist

Unitarian Universalism is a diverse movement, so I can’t speak for everyone in it. But I will do my best to answer any questions you may have about Unitarian Universalism (as I see it).

How are you a member of a church that supports murdering children in the womb?

Potential children, and it’s not murder because murder by definition is illegal and abortion is legal. There is a meaningful difference between “potential” and “actual”. Children are potential adults, but we don’t give them the right to vote, or the privileges of driving.

Meanwhile, the couple involved are actual adults, with all the rights that entails, including the right to make personal medical decisions appropriate for their unique circumstances. Between the potential child and the actual adults, the rights of the actual adults have all the weight.

So that having been said, where is the line between potential and actual child for me? That’s when the child can survive outside the womb (viability). That’s a meaningful line because now there is a way to distinguish between what the child is and, for example, a donated organ. Donated organs are living and they carry a distinct human genetic code. But they cannot survive without being attached inside a person, and a viable child can.

Why bother going to a church that doesn’t hold anything as actually true?

What we hold in common are values, not metaphysical statements. I’m not an atheist, but an atheist and I can agree that human beings should be treated as having inherent worth and dignity. UUs agree on seven common values:

  • The inherent worth and dignity of every person;

  • Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;

  • Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;

  • A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;

  • The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;

  • The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;

  • Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

As individual members, we can and do hold metaphysical statements as true, but we don’t have to agree about them in order to be a community. To borrow from another UU, there are Republican Catholics and Democratic Catholics, but nobody thinks of the Catholic church as “the church that doesn’t vote for anything”.

Is there a link to common doctrine that all Unitarians would believe to call themselves Unitarians?

let me rephrase this question…

How are you a member of a church that supports murdering innocent human beings in the womb?

You realize viability is arbitrary, right? IOW: an actual child now since it’s viable, would not have been an actual child 80 years ago since it wouldn’t have been viable. Is there a real ontological difference between the two that gaurantees the one the right to life and the other not, apart from being born prior to technological developments? Further, viability independent of machines opens up more issues if it’s applied to humans of any age or development (i.e. forced euthanizing of machine-dependent elderly).

Human rights are not, and cannot be, arbitrary else they are not truly fundamental to human nature.

Should premature babies born at 26 weeks be disposed of as medical waste then? Most states allow a baby this age to be aborted and babies as early as 21 weeks have survived.

As best as I can tell you must either be:

certain that it is not a human life and abort it justifiably

or not certain that it is or is not, and thus protect it to be certain that you are not killing a human life.

Separate Question:

Please explain how truth can be relative.

It seems to me that truth is absolute, just as the laws of the universe are not relative to the individual.

So with your churches rationale if the law of the united states made it legal to kill my two year old because it wasn’t fully developed it would be ok with your church
Really that makes no sence

The closest thing we have to something like that are our Seven Principles and Six Sources, which can be found here:

Those aren’t binding in the sense that if you don’t agree, we’re going to throw you out. It’s just that you’d likely be very uncomfortable if you denied all the principles and found all of the sources meaningless. We’d still try to listen and understand your perspective.

What did you think of my reply above to Adamski? Is there something I haven’t addressed there that you’d like me to?

Thanks for the link; I believe in going to primary sources :slight_smile: - and I appreciate the personalized view as well.

Re the first item on the list, this is quoting directly from the website . . .

"There are seven principles which Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote:

**The inherent worth and dignity of every person;**" (emphasis mine)

it seems that where the great divide between the UU guiding principle on abortion and the Catholic teachings about it lies in the definition of “person” within the context of those seven principles.

@ my fellow Catholics on this thread - even if we disagree with the OP, we should not come at him or her with both barrels, but in a spirit of inquiry and comparing our respective beliefs in order to further the search for truth. Or to put it another way, one catches more flies with honey than with vinegar. :twocents:

Would you be ok with continuing with the timing of 80 years ago for consistency’s sake, or can we have a consistent principle, but apply it differently as circumstances change? And I hadn’t yet addressed the issue of machine independence. We can assume viability with machine assistance for the purposes of this discussion.

Do you have a link for that statement about the age most states allow abortion? I’d be very interested.

If it’s a wanted pregnancy, why would mere premature birth lead to disposal as medical waste?

Viability should be determined by the doctor, because they have the expertise to make that call plus familiarity with each particular situation. Not by legislators.

Would you agree that even if truth is absolute, our ability to know it is not?

There are a ton of sources online, but this simple website sums it up decently:

“In the US most abortions are performed during the first 14 weeks… They can be performed in some states up until 24 weeks. If you go to get an ultrasound at a clinic and they say you are to far along I would ask if they know of any place that will perform it. That is assuming of course you still want it. In the US abortions after 24 weeks are only performed because of health complications. I know that in Chicago and California you can have one up to 24 weeks but it will be VERY expensive at that point. If you consider the fact that at 24 weeks you only have 3 months left to full term you MAY want to change your mind to adoption.”

I find it interesting however, that you admit the fact that the only difference between a baby aborted at 23 weeks and one cared for in the ICU is whether the child is wanted or not. After all they are both viable.

Two things. First, the standard for determining whether it is an potential or actual child wasn’t whether the child was “fully developed” or not. It was whether or not it can survive outside the womb. A two year old child could survive outside the womb, and thus would have the right to procedural and substantive due process under the 14th Amendment before it’s life could be taken, just like an adult.

Second, as I stated in my first post, UU is a diverse movement. I cannot say whether every UU would adopt the reasoning that I’ve offered here, only that I as a UU have.

No I would not agree with that. Our view of truth is obviously not equal, but are ability to know truth is absolute. Whether or not we find truth is relative to our situation.

We should be striving to find truth, not wallow in our comfort of relativism.

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