Roots of the UU Women’s Movement

Longview Challenges UUA Patriarchal Orientation

In  an address by Lucile Schuck Longview on January 1983 at the Pacific Central District meeting she outlines the key issues motivating this effort.

Here are excerpts from her remarks:

“An ever increasing number of feminists among Unitarian Universalists are seeking a spiritual identity beyond what patriarchy has said it to be. Women’s search for spiritual experiences leads us to a new sense-of-se1f and to new ways-of-being beyond the male doctrines and laws that decree primary, empowerment and dominance for males – while naming suffering, obedience and chastity to be the lot of females.

Over the past six years, through the process of the business resolution, the only rneans available to us, feminists in the pews have been endeavoring to bring into focus within the UUA the sex bias that is so basic to the Judeo-Christian tradition and to world religions generally.

By adopting the Women and Religion Resolution at the General Assembly in 1977, members and leaders of the UUA agreed not only to focus on theological assumptions that are sexist, but to seek new ways of conceptualizing relationships that are free of hierarchy and domination.

Through implementation of that resolution which calls for the denomination “to avoid sexist assumptions and language in the future,” we join the phenomenal movement to bring about ideological change and to reach for a new consciousness that feminists are initiating in all religious denominations.

Reactionary Forces Everywhere

It is women, that half of humanity historically excluded from shaping religious traditions, who are now pushing for new ways of perceiving and for new ways of relating that will expand our sense-of-being in the world.

Such a change in understanding and in attitude is revolutionary and will be extremely painful. As old myths are challenged and begin to fall, religious institutions will resist and become more deeply entrenched in patriarchal ways of thinking and acting. We see the reactionary forces everywhere. And wherever we look, we also see networks of people exploring the new spiritual age outside and beyond institutionalized religion. Meditation, dream-world analysis, and others all point to a shift away from a religion mediated by authorities, to one of direct personal experience – a shift away from belief to knowing.

There is a growing sense that whatever answers there are to our quest for meaning must come from within ourselves. This new consciousness promises to release a spiritual force transcending religious and cultural boundaries, drawing us into a sense of oneness – oneness not only with the human community globally, but oneness with the totality of life.

Never before have we had so much responsibility for remaking ourselves and our world. The crisis is at hand. Thought patterns built on the assumption that hierarchy and domination is the only basis for relating lead us toward global destruction.

Never before have we had the sense-of-self that the new feminism is bringing to women. We must own our self-empowerment.

And never before have we had the tools—the analysis, the insights and the new perspectives with which to make a significant difference in how reality is perceived.

The sum of all of these explorations points to a revolution in consciousness in the whole culture. I am grateful every day to have lived to see the beginnings of a cultural shift, to be able to push for a new beginning – a new Genesis.”

To read the whole article, click here

Below are links to articles Lucile wrote that reveal the origins of her views.

To Make a Significant Difference

The Root of My Feminist Theology