Creed and Covenant: Believing and Belonging

I wanted to build on the topic I brought up last week: Who is a Unitarian Universalist. Here is an important distinction between a covenantal religion and a creedal one:

Is Donald Trump a Christian? Well, if he can say the Creed and mean it, then yes. That’s the test, and all Christians have to choose to accept that or find ways to separate themselves from him and his claims. A creedal religion means that anyone who can honestly recite the creed, meaning the words as they understand them, is in the club.

Is Jared Kushner a Unitarian Universalist, as was falsely reported at the beginning of the year. No, he’s not. We know this, because he isn’t a member of a Unitarian Universalist congregation. Being in covenant with a congregation is a requirement for being a Unitarian Universalist. It is a choice, but not one that can be made all by one’s self.

Being a Unitarian Universalist isn’t as simple as saying you are one. I know that is going to upset a few people, but it is true. It isn’t a simple choice; it is a commitment.

A prospective member must both choose to join and take whatever are required by their new congregation to be members. It is a choice that goes both ways, and that comes with more responsibilities and expectations than a simple recitation. It is a choice one has to make over and over, in fact, because it is defined by relationships.

Creedal religions define membership mostly on belief, or the presumption of belief. Covenant requires us to base membership on actions and how we treat one another.


Our mission is to make Unitarian Universalism easier to understand and share with the world. Liberal religion has a vital place in making the world more just and compassionate. The more people who know about our Principles and goals, the better for the world. If you believe we do a good job representing Unitarian Universalism, we need your support to keep doing so. Whether you can afford just a few dollars or a few dollars a month, we appreciate your support.

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