Under current laws, Canadian UU congregational chapters are prohibited, since the CUSJ is not a charity, and this would constitute a derogation from the neutrality required in order for congregations to maintain their charitable status. See “Engaging in Allowable Activities” on the CRA website.
Note, however, that the CUC encourages individual UUers to join the CUSJ, and to form local or regional chapters as they like. Congregations would treat such chapters as they would treat any outside organization in terms of room rentals and so on.
What vital role does CUSJ play within the larger denomination?
- CUSJ is a ‘voice of conscience’, educating the church body and raising consciousness.
- CUSJ represents a united front for action on the issues that matter.
- CUSJ can focus on public policies without fear of government interference.
- CUSJ can focus on social justice matters while the CUC can focus on charitable activities.
- CUSJ can work with other eco/social justice organizations for the ‘common good’.
- CUSJ can donate to non-charities working for social and ecological justice.
- CUSJ can be more outspoken, more visible and more political. Gandhi stated religion and politics are intertwined. Both sides need to be free to criticize each other.
- CUSJ stands up for UU principles, especially #6 – ‘the goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all’.
For more information on this topic, see CUC & Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice: Myths & Facts.