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Proposed CSAI: Renewing and Securing Our American Democracy

Congregational Study/Action Issues (CSAIs) are issues selected by Unitarian Universalist (UU) member congregations for four years of study, reflection and action. 

Issue and Grounding in Unitarian Universalism

  • Negative campaigning,
  • Voter suppression efforts,
  • Huge infusions of cash from super-rich donors and narrow special interests into our election and political processes,
  • Hyper-partisan politics,
  • The alienation of ordinary citizens,
  • Decreasing voter turnout,
  • The erosion of our civil liberties,

—All contribute to a growing fear that our American democracy and government of, by and for the people are in jeopardy.

What can we Unitarian Universalists—with our commitment to justice, equity and the use of the democratic process in society at large—do to protect, renew, secure and further democracy in America?

Topics for Congregational Study

  • Stop or restrict virtually unlimited contributions to political campaigns; if so, how?
  • Publicly finance campaigns
  • Support the “people’s pledge” by candidates to keep “outside money” out of campaigns
  • Require much greater education in our public schools in the areas of civics, economics, current events, foreign affairs, international organizations
  • Schedule a national voter information holiday one week before each federal election; would such a holiday, properly structured, promote “positive” campaigning?
  • Oppose voter suppression efforts
  • Support the National Popular Vote (for President) campaign
  • Determine and advocate whether, and how, we can have security without sacrificing our civil liberties

Possible Congregational / District Actions

  • grassroots organizing
  • legislative lobbying
  • registration of voters
  • develop and publish educational guides and hold pertinent educational and informational sessions
  • host candidate forums
  • support the establishment of independent, non-partisan boards to accomplish political redistricting
  • work with groups such as Common Cause, National Popular Vote, ACLU, etc.
  • support full restoration of the Voting Rights Act
  • hold “brainstorming” sessions that would encourage people to think “outside the box” as to possible ways we can renew and secure our democracy  

Related Prior Social Witness Statements

  • “Amend the Constitution: Corporations are not Persons and Money is not Speech” (Action of Immediate Witness, 2013);
  • “Oppose Citizens United—Support Free Speech for People” (AIW, 2011);
  • “Advocate Pending Legislation Toward Clean, Honest, and Fair Elections in the United States” (AIW, 2009);
  • “Defending and Expanding Freedom of the Airwaves” (AIW, 2005);
  • “Civil Liberties” (Statement of Conscience, 2004);
  • “Electronic Voting” (AIW, 2004)

For more information contact

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Last updated on Friday, November 1, 2013.

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