The price of the democratic way of life is a growing appreciation of people's differences, not merely as tolerable, but as the essence of a rich and rewarding human experience.

— Jerome Nathanson (1908-1975), a leader of New York Ethical Culture

Democracy means not "I am as good as you are," but "you are as good as I am."

— Theodore Parker

The chalk symbolizes the democratic process. This session provides opportunities to reflect on a variety of decision-making processes, including voting and consensus making. Reflections may include whether "majority rule" is fair. Allow time for participants to engage with the issues around consensus making and voting and the importance of negotiation and informed decision-making. Emphasize that as Unitarian Universalists we hope that people have a say in the things that concern them.

In Activity 4: Voting in the Demos Role-Play, participants will enact democracy, Athenian-style. You may like to gather sheets for togas. Or, invite parents ahead of time to supply sheets for this session and encourage their children to bring or wear sandals.

For Activity 5: Consensus, have ready some food treat options for the group to vote on. Make sure to avoid foods to which a participant may be allergic.

Goals

This session will:

  • Help deepen participants' Unitarian Universalist identity, ethical discernment, and understanding of Unitarian Universalist faith through reflection and discussion
  • Teach that Unitarian Universalism is a faith in which each voice counts, in our congregations and in our world
  • Demonstrate that Unitarian Universalism values the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large (fifth Principle)
  • Affirm the living tradition of Unitarian Universalism by drawing from words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love (Source)
  • Engage participants in the spiritual practices of chalice lighting, voicing of joys and concerns, and intentional discussion

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Engage in voting processes, using ballots and chalk
  • Share insights and reflections about the democratic process
  • Learn about a time in United States history when women did not have a vote and how a Universalist worked to change that
  • Experience a variety of contexts for and modes of group decision-making
  • Reflect on the challenges and implications of using voting and consensus building to make group decisions

For more information contact religiouseducation@uua.org.