Youth Caucus speaks in favor of repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery. (© 2012 Nancy Pierce)
The General Assembly voted overwhelmingly Sunday afternoon to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery. The doctrine is the premise that European Christian explorers who “discovered” other lands had the authority to claim those lands and subdue, even enslave, peoples who lived there simply because they were not Christian.
Local groups that the UUA is working with in Arizona have said that understanding the doctrine is necessary to truly understand the issue of migration.
The resolution calls on the association and its congregations to review their own “contemporary policies, programs, theologies, and structures” for any evidence of the doctrine. In addition it requires the UUA to call on the U.S. government to fully implement the standards of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
In debate on the doctrine a number of congregational representatives advocated unsuccessfully for delay of consideration of the measure, arguing that congregations had not had enough time to consider it.
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Donald E. Skinner was the founding editor of the InterConnections newsletter for congregational leaders and a senior editor of UU World from 1998 until his retirement in 2014. He is a member of the Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church in Lenexa, Kansas.