Genetically Engineered Foods

UU Values and Oregon State Ballot Measures

UU Values and State Ballot Measures

Being Unitarian Universalist informs our thinking on social justice issues. That includes consideration of this year’s state ballot measures. The election is just 3 weeks away as I write this. My voter pamphlet has arrived; my ballot will be in my mailbox soon.

Three ballot measures, in particular, speak to long standing Unitarian Universalist stances as exhibited by various UU Congregational Study Action Issues, Statements of Immediate Witness, significant projects undertaken by the Unitarian Universalist Association, and ongoing activities in our districts and congregations. We say these measures have “grounding” in our UU values.

Measure 88, Driver Cards: Provides Oregon resident “driver cards” without requiring proof of legal presence in the United States.

In 2012, in Phoenix, Arizona, the UUA devoted an entire General Assembly to justice work. Called the “Justice GA” it focused on many justice issues, but primarily on the plight of undocumented workers, primarily Hispanic, in Arizona and around the nation. We saw thousands of Standing on the Side of Love tee shirts, banners, and clerical stoles on the streets in Phoenix. Before and since then there have been efforts by our Standing on the Side of Love initiative and individual UUs around the country to make the US treatment of immigrants more humane and more just. One way to get into the deportation queue is to be caught driving without a license, yet people must get to work, take their children to the emergency room, and buy food.

The driver cards proposed in this measure mean that an undocumented Oregon resident can legally drive in Oregon. In addition drivers with these cards will be more likely to have insurance and to be familiar with the rules of the road. The driver card is specifically stated not to be a photo ID for other purposes. Being Unitarian Universalists asks us to vote yes on Measure 88.

Measure 89: "ERA" Amends constitution to require that neither the state nor any political subdivision of the state may deny or abridge equality of rights on account of sex.

This measure undoes actions of the Oregon Supreme Court that permit discrimination on account of sex if “justified by specific biological differences.”

Based on the UU First Principle to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person, we have a long tradition of supporting equal rights for women. As far back as 1977, the General Assembly passed a resolution urging passage of the national Equal Rights Amendment. We have been in the forefront of accepting women in our pulpits and other leadership positions, and of working in the US and abroad to advance the status and rights of women. Being Unitarian Universalists asks us to vote yes on Measure 89.

Measure 92: "GMO Labelling" Requires food manufacturers and retailers to label “genetically engineered” foods as such. Gives the state and citizens the right to enforce the law.

In 2011 the General Assembly of the UUA in Charlotte, North Carolina adopted the Statement of Conscience on Ethical Eating that came out of the Congregational Study Action Issue on the same topic. The Statement of Conscience contains many recommendations on the topic of eating, farming, and food distribution, and comes out of a long tradition, reaching back at least to the late 1980s, in the UUA, of seeing issues around food and hunger as both social justice issues and environmental stewardship issues.

Among the individual actions that are promoted in the Statement of Conscience is the call to support legislation that calls for the labeling of irradiated or genetically modified food. Being Unitarian Universalists asks us to vote yes on Measure 92.

Sources: 2014 Oregon Voter Pamphlet and the Unitarian Universalist Association web site,

- Barbara Smith-Thomas



Smith-Thomas, B. (2014). UU Values and Oregon State Ballot Measures. Retrieved from


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