Every Life Has Value

I was listening to one of the pop radio stations in town the other day, and one of their zany blurbs came on between songs that had some loony voice saying, “Remember, you can be replaced.” I commented to my kids in the back seat that that goes against our first UU principle. (We had been going over the UUA Principles at meal time.) It’s been weighing on me ever since.

A few months ago, as I was sharing lunch in the dining hall, I was telling some of the other students gathered at the table what UU’s believe. When I said that we believe that every life has worth and dignity, another student reached across the table to give me a high-five, saying “Now there’s a good Protestant belief for you!” I’m not quite sure if he was being sarcastic or not, but I really like this principle.

Holding human life in high esteem goes against not only depraved theology, but degrading materialism as well. Most UU’s who know the basics of our history can tell you that we reject the doctrine of original sin, but it’s a little more subtle to reject the notion that everybody is expendable. This materialistic culture of producers and consumers that we live in has that notion at its foundation. Everyone is replaceable and only the strong survive—no, we reject that as well. We believe that every life is inherently priceless and dignified. No person can truly be replaced and we all survive because we take care of each other. This is our faith.