Excellent suggestions

“Safety Net,” a ministry of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville, Tennessee, has made excellent suggestions for changes to the professional guidelines of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association (UUMA). Of particular note is a suggested revision to a clause of the guidelines that asks ministers to “strictly respect confidences given me by colleagues and expect them to keep mine.” This clause is legally and morally indefensible, for it means that if another minister came to me and told me “in confidence” that s/he had engaged in sexual behavior with a legal minor, I would violate the UUMA guidelines when I reported him/her to legal authorities. To state the obvious: in California, I am a mandated reporter and would be legally required to report any suspected child abuse, whether or not I was prohibited from doing so by UUMA guidelines — more importantly, as a human being, I am morally required to report any suspected child abuse, again regardless of UUMA guidelines.

This and the other revisions proposed by Safety Net are excellent. The UUMA should adopt them as soon as possible. You can read the full text of the revisions here, and an explanatory open letter to the UUMA here.

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