Yesterday was Sunday. Despite the rise of secularism within our nation, a whole lot of people go to church on Sundays. Us, too--my family attends the Mount Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church.
There aren't very many UUs, though our roots stretch back to the Founding. We aren't a Christian church or a Jewish synagogue, though our roots stretch there too--and to Islam, Buddhism, and more. We are a religious tradition that draws on many sources. Seven principles structure our faith. The first principle, our heart and soul, is the inherent worth and dignity of every person.
Why is this the fundamental principle? Because it carries the core message of all world religions and all spiritual enlightenment: we carry divinity in us; we are all stamped by the hand of God. This is true regardless of personal factors like race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, religion, or anything else.
At its heart, dignity requires the recognition that each of us deeply deserves to be recognized as unique and valuable. Because societies apply pressure toward conformity, UU's greatest concern is most often with those who don't conform to the majority or mainstream. The dignity principle becomes challenging to a society where an individual is nonconforming. And the true test of a society isn't in how it treats the conforming, but how it treats those who do not fit. We are the nonconforming and the allies.
The push to accord all persons inherent worth and dignity has been met in some quarters by angry cries of "political correctness" and sneers toward "crybabies." The vestiges of schoolyard squabbles. What some deride as the pushiness of the thought police is in fact a concerted effort to recognize and respect human dignity.
That is what the first principle is about. If you want to know more, I'm here. Especially in times like these.