The Reformation’s tenets acknowledge that all human faiths—indeed, all humans—are flawed. Theocratic governments, rigid belief systems, and well-defined canon produce nothing more than a docile, weak-minded populace and a wealthy religion. The faith acknowledges a single god, responsible for the creation of the universe. Worship, however, is irrelevant to the creator—worshipers must help themselves. Blaming one’s short-comings on an omnipotent god is just another failing.
According to Reformer tradition, humans should never expect divine help to overcome problems. Instead, the creator expects sentient beings to solve problems in themselves, in others, and in society. When a person sees a wrong, he should right it. More importantly, when a Reformer discovers greed, malice, or any other flaw within himself, it is his duty to confront it.
At the same time, Reformers must help believer overcome their flaws—psychological, physical, or spiritual. To take advantage of another’s weakness, or worse, take joy in it is a greater crime that to sin or have personal failings of one’s own. Followers of the Reformation are expected to devote themselves to lives of achievement, giving generously to charity, helping those in need, and opposing injustice.
Opposing injustice often puts the faith’s clergymen in conflict with local authorities, other churches, and seven stellar nations. According to Reformation teachings, a member must oppose injustice even when doing so violates local laws. For example, the Reformers actively oppose VoidCorp’s ownership of its employees and work actively to help escaped sesheyans. Despite its high-profile trouble-making, the Humanity Reformation is widely accepted throughout the Stellar Ring. The only issue that divides the faithful is nomenclature. The church is open to sentient beings of any species, but its name implies that only humans are fully welcome. It’s an open question whether the next church council will remove human-specific titles and doctrines.
Clergy begin as initiates, and are given small tasks to prove their worthiness. Once these tasks are completed, an initiate is given the title of father or mother and is assigned to a specific location. Alternatively, the initiate is ordained as a reformer, a wandering priest who searches out wrongs and helps others as part-time counselor and adviser. The reformers are considered the faith’s true patriots, and competition is fierce for such assignments. Abbots are the rulers of individual Reform settlements. While a father or mother can become an abbot or abbess, he or she can’t rise any higher unless named a reformer at a later date. Finally, the term “reformer” is also used by those outside the church to describe all of its members.
Bishops are the next highest rank, made up entirely of prominent reformers who have achieved great success. A bishop is assigned to a region to watch over, which may be as small as a continent or as large as a star system. Bishops appoint fathers, mothers, and reformers, and occasionally sponsor initiates into the order.
Ultimately, the religion is guided by thirteen cardinals led by the pontifex. Collectively, the cardinals and the pontifex make up the Council of the Reform. Their annual meetings are held on the planet Desire, in the StarMech Collective. This body is the faith’s highest, and it controls all bishop appointments, doctrinal issues, and financial arrangements.