Activity 3: The Taft-Holmes Debate
Activity time: 25 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Newsprint, markers, and tape
- A copy of the story "The Taft-Holmes Debate"
- Workshop 2, Handout 1, Prophetic, Parallel, and Institutional Voices
- Leader Resource 2, John Haynes Holmes and William Howard Taft, Photographs
- Optional: Computer and digital projector
Preparation for Activity
- Read the story and copy for all participants.
- If needed, make copies of Handout 1 from Workshop 2. Review its definitions of prophetic, parallel, and institutional leadership. Consider how you feel the positions of Holmes and Taft fit into these categories.
- Prepare to project Leader Resource 2, or print out and make several copies to pass around.
- Write these questions on newsprint, and set aside:
- How do the loyalties of the leaders of our religious communities affect their decisions? How do your loyalties affect your decision making?
- Would you support your minister if they espoused political opinions with which you disagreed?
- Is there room for a plurality of opinions on issues of peace and war within our Unitarian Universalist tradition?
Description of Activity
Project Leader Resource 2 or distribute the copies you have made. Distribute the story and read it aloud.
Then, post the questions and read them aloud. Invite participants to form groups of three or four and discuss the posted questions, reminding them that their small group may well include different points of view. Allow 15 minutes for small group conversation. Then invite the small groups to rejoin the larger group to share comments and observations.
Refer participants to Workshop 2, Handout 1, Prophetic, Parallel, and Institutional Voices. Distribute copies if participants do not already have them. Invite participants to consider whether Taft or Holmes represents institutional, prophetic, or parallel voices for social justice.