Friday, July 13, 2012

A Declaration of Social Principles (1917) - About Christian hope in the final restoration of all souls, and those that believe it

Here’s the Program section from the Universalist’s statement of almost a hundred years ago.  I’m not certain a Social Justice GA today could write any kind of comprehensive Program today. There wouldn’t be agreement, even among those who agree on many particulars.  The faith in the Philosophy and Theology behind SJ gone.

Social Justice changes from time to time.  Not that that’s wrong. I think it’s the nature of the effort.  It should humble those of us involved in SJ work though.

Update: A big thanks to Scott Wells for putting our History online. The link at the bottom to the full source document is his site.


The Universalist Church recognizes the fact that no individual and no nation can live a completely effective Christian life in an unchristian social order. We therefore declare the primal task of the church of to-day to be the reconstruction of the world’s civilization in terms of justice, peace and righteousness, so that the spiritual life of all may develop to its fullest capacity.

To this end we submit the following working program:

Through all the agencies of the church we shall endeavor to educate and inspire the community and the nation to a keener social consciousness and a truer vision of the kingdom of God n the earth.

We want to safeguard marriage so that every child shall be born with a sound physical, mental, and moral heritage.

We want to guarantee to every child these conditions of housing, education, food and recreation which will enable him to become his best.

The standard and plane of living for all should be such that deterioration becomes impossible and advancement becomes limited only by capacity.

Democracy, in order to be complete, must be economic and social as well as political. We therefore declare for the democratization of industry and of land, and for the establishment of co-operation.

We would condemn those forms of private monopoly which make it difficulty or impossible for men to attain their common share of the common heritage of the earth, and especially do we condemn those forms of exploitation which in time of national stress and suffering make the few wealthy at the cost of the many.

No democracy can be real which shuts out half the people. Women should therefore have equal economic, social and political rights with men.

Free discussion is the soul of democracy and the guarantee of our liberties. It should therefore be maintained in our churches, colleges, and public platforms, and limited only be mutual self-respect and courtesy.

We recognize in the use of narcotic habit-forming drugs an immanent peril to social welfare, and we are particularly alarmed at the extent to which tobacco, in the form of cigarettes, is undermining the health and character of American youth. We therefore recommend action toward securing national prohibition of the manufacture and sale of alcoholic liquors, and such progress in restriction of the manufacture of cigarettes and the sale of tobacco as public welfare shall require and public sentiment support. We particularly commend the tobacco laws of Kansas as a model for all the states.

While co-operating to the fullest extent possible with the various forms of charity, relief and correction, we recognize they do not eradicate fundamental causes. We would mobilize the forces of our church against the causes which create misery, disease, accidents, ignorance and crime, and summon all our strength to the establishment of justice, education and social righteousness.

Some forms of social insurance should gradually replace the present individualistic and inadequate methods of charitable relief.

War is brutalizing, wasteful, and ineffective. We therefore pledge ourselves to work for the organization and federation of the world, that peace may be secured at the earliest possible date consistent with justice for all.

The Universalist Church offers a complete program for completing humanity:

First: An Economic Order which shall give to every human being an equal share in the common gifts of God, and in addition all that he shall earn by his own labor.

Second: A Social Order in which there shall be equal rights for all, special privileges for none, the help of the strong for the weak until the weak become strong.

Third: A Moral Order in which all human law and action shall be the expression of the moral order of the universe.

Fourth: A Spiritual Order which shall build out of the growing lives of living men the growing temple of the living God. » A Declaration of Social Principles (1917) - About Christian hope in the final restoration of all souls, and those that believe it


Scott Wells said...

I've long put off investigating that Kansas plan…

Bill Baar said...

I remember when I first started working in an office in 1976. We smoked at our desks. Had little bean bag ashtrays. Those days are gone. Some plan worked. It's the same spirit I think that bans sales of 64 oz drinks.

This program a very well crafted document I think that links the theology with a program in a very coherent way. (Thanks for posting it).

I don't think UUs today could craft such a program. I'm not sure they would even think it wise. The connections all too muddled.

JMP said...

I couldn't agree with all of these principles. I'm not a Christian though, so that might have something to do with it.