Study/Action Issue: What You Can Do
by Jane Greer
General Assembly delegates voted in June to make civil liberties a "Study/Action Issue" for UUA member societies. Delegates urged their congregations to ask: "What can Unitarian Universalists do to protect civil liberties against governmental violation in the name of 'homeland security' and in the wars against terrorism and drugs?"
The UUA's Commission on Social Witness (CSW) says a good place to start is by getting current on civil liberties issues through the American Civil Liberties Union Web site. Resources from the ACLU's recently launched "Keep America Safe and Free" campaign may be particularly helpful.
The Commission's "Study/Action Issue Resource Guide," which includes many resources, was mailed to each congregation in October and is available on-line.
Other ways congregations can get involved:
- Organize a Sunday service, forum, or religious education class on civil liberties. The UUA's Washington Office for Advocacy has prepared a curriculum, "Vision and Values in a Post-9/11 World," available on-line.
- Invite people to form a civil liberties task force.
- Join community groups working on civil liberties, such as an ACLU chapter or an immigrants' rights organization.
- Recruit lawyers to give legal assistance to people who have been inhumanely investigated or detained.
- Sign up for "CivilLiberties," a UUA e-mail forum for discussing civil liberties issues.
- Read Free for All: Defending Liberty in America Today, the new Beacon Press book by Wendy Kaminer. Available from the UUA Bookstore ($15; 800-215-9076). A free discussion guide for Unitarian Universalist congregations is available from Beacon Press.
Congregational input on the Study/Action issue is due March 3. After two years of congregational study, a resolution based on the Study/Action Issue may be adopted by the General Assembly as a Statement of Conscience, setting official UUA policy. A proposed Statement of Conscience about economic globalization will be presented to the General Assembly in Boston in June 2003.
Jane Greer is managing editor of UU World.
UU World XVII:1
(January/February 2003): 27