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

Activity 1: Human Sexuality and Social Justice

Activity time: 20 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Read Handout 1 and copy it for all participants.
  • Write these questions on newsprint, and set aside:
    • How does viewing sexuality as something connected to larger social justice concerns differ from the view that sexuality is simply a matter of private morality?
    • How successful have we been in connecting issues of human sexuality to civil rights and social justice?
  • Post a sheet of blank newsprint.

Description of Activity

Distribute Handout 1, Religion and the New Morality. Explain:

In June, 1967, Playboy magazine published an article called "Religion and the New Morality." The magazine convened a panel of leading liberal clergymen to debate the church's role in the sexual revolution, devoting 25 pages to this discussion. The quote in Handout 1, Religion and the New Morality, is from one of the pre-eminent Unitarian Universalist theologians of the 20th century, James Luther Adams, who was one of nine panelists.

Read the handout aloud.

Then, invite participants to respond to these questions and write their responses on newsprint:

  • What words in this quote reflect a religious or theological perspective?
  • Are there statements or word choices that reflect a different perspective than you might hear from a UU today? How have attitudes about homosexuality, gender, and family structure shifted since 1967?
  • What statements resonate or seem relevant to our current understanding of human sexuality?

Allow ten minutes for this part of the activity. If it does not come up, point out that this quote demonstrates both our ongoing understanding of sexuality education as a justice issue and our ever-evolving search for ways to understand human sexuality in the context of our faith.

Now, post the questions you have written on newsprint and lead a discussion.