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Alternate Activity 1: Life and Death Role Plays

Activity time: 30 minutes

Description of Activity

Youth role-play situations involving living things that people often feel free to kill.

Remind the group that one of the Ten Commandments says, in biblical language, "Thou shalt not kill." What does this mean? Does it mean that people should never fight wars, no matter what? Does it mean we shouldn't execute prisoners convicted of crimes? After youth share their ideas, say that some translations of the Bible give the commandment as "You shall not murder." Does that change what the youth think?

What about the ethics of killing plants, animals, and insects? The seventh UU Principle says we should have respect for the "interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part." Are plants, animals, and insects part of that web? What would they say about the commandment?

Ask the youth to divide into groups of two to four and create role plays in which plants, animals, and insects argue for their lives. Youth can create their own situations if they like, or use one of these:

  • A mosquito says it should be allowed to live even if it does bite people. After all, it did not design itself that way.
  • A cow says it does not want to be hamburger.
  • A lettuce leaf wants to live out its natural days enjoying the sun.
  • A rat has babies that need their parents.
  • An ear of corn wants its kernels used as seeds, not as food for you.
  • A rose does not want you to pick it for a bouquet.

When the groups have planned their role plays, let each in turn perform for the others. Ask if the plays have convinced anybody to change their ideas about such killing.

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