I’ve been writing a lot about the boundaries of what we talk about and do not talk about in our churches, such as partisan politics. But it’s important to remember that in November we also talk about ballot issues, and that we as a church can take stands on ballot issues, and have in the past. We have not voted on any of the current ballot issues as a church, but there are many things we can say about the stands that Unitarian Universalism, as a whole, has taken.
Here’s what we have said as part of our larger association on one of the issues that’s before us: stem cell research. In 2006 the General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association passed an “Action of Immediate Witness” titled, “Pass the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act,” in which we called on members and congregations to “Oppose restrictions to the advancement of stem cell science, as long as the rights of women donating eggs and couples donating embryos are appropriately protected and there is no intention of human reproductive cloning.” Now, the Michigan ballot initiative is not about restrictions, it’s about permissions, but if you’re interested in some of the argument that this Action of Immediate Witness built its resolution on, in order to inform your vote, it can be viewed at http://www.uua.org/socialjustice/socialjustice/statements/8064.shtml
Another issue on our Michigan ballot is the legalization of medical marijuana. The General Assembly did pass a general resolution titled “Legalization of Marijuana” in 1970, and in a 2002 “Statement of Conscience” passed by the General Assembly titled “Alternatives to the ‘War on Drugs,’” we said, “Make all drugs legally available with a prescription by a licensed physician, subject to professional oversight. End the practice of punishing an individual for obtaining, possessing, or using an otherwise illegal substance to treat a medical condition. End the threat to impose sanctions on physicians who treat patients with opiates for alleviation of pain.”
However you vote on the ballot issues this November, however, the most important thing is voting at all. One of our UU principles is “The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.” It’s time to get out there and live our religion!