Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Resistance and Transformation: An Adult Program on Unitarian Universalist Social Justice History

Activity 2: Supporting Draft Resistance

Activity time: 25 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Read the current UUA guidelines for social witness. Find information, including graphs and outlines of the complete process, on the UUA website.
  • Read Handouts 2 and 3 and copy both for all participants.
  • Pre-arrange for volunteers to read the resolutions (Handout 2) aloud; give them Handout 2 in advance.
  • Write "Resolutions, 1967 and 1968" at the top of a sheet of newsprint and post.

Description of Activity

Distribute Handout 2, UUA Resolutions on the Draft. Have volunteers read aloud the 1967 and 1968 resolutions having to do with the Vietnam War and the military draft.

Invite the group to identify concrete actions supported by the resolutions, and write those actions on the newsprint. Lead a conversation, asking:

  • Did anything surprise you?
  • Which of these concrete steps do you think were the most important? The most controversial?
  • What impact do you think these resolutions might have had on congregational life? On the wider United States draft resistance movement?
  • Consider that the events at Arlington Street Church happened during the year between these two resolutions, and were specifically referenced in the1968 statement. Do you think having the 1967 resolution on the books was important in empowering the Arlington Street congregation to take the stand it did? How much do you think the actions taken on October 16th influenced the 1968 resolution?

Introduce the next portion of the activity using these or similar words:

The process of adopting resolutions has changed a bit over the years. We are going to take a look at the current model for adopting resolutions at General Assembly. Many people invest significant time in crafting General Assembly resolutions to respond to important social justice issues. However, after a resolution passes at General Assembly, congregational responses to it vary. Some view such public statements by the Association as a critical part of our ability to be effective agents for change in the world. Others take little notice of social justice resolutions from General Assembly, preferring to set their own social justice priorities.

Distribute Handout 3, Social Witness and the UUA. Read aloud the explanation for each category. Ask if anyone has participated in a recent General Assembly and been a part of the social witness process, and invite them to share their experience. Look again at the summary of the 1967 and 1968 statements and compare them with the current process. Ask:

  • How have things changed in the way our Association approaches resolutions?
  • Do you think the 1967 and 1968 resolutions would pass in General Assembly today? Why, or why not?
  • Can you think of examples of recent Study/Action Issues, Statements of Conscience, or Actions of Immediate Witness that have affected the ministry and social justice work of your congregation?