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

Faith In Action: Freedom of Speech as a Social Justice Issue

Materials for Activity

  • Optional: Newsprint list of unanswered questions, created in Activity 1

Preparation for Activity

  • Speak with the social action committee, your minister, or others who can help you find examples of current congregational social justice activities that involve freedom of speech or expression. Examples might include screening a controversial film, attending a rally or march, or posting a banner on church property.
  • Optional: Enlist your congregation's formal or informal historians to research your congregation's activities during the McCarthy Era.

Description of Activity

Invite participants to consider any social justice activities they are involved with personally or through the congregation that depend on their right to free speech or freedom of expression. What insights or cautions from the responses of Unitarians in the McCarthy Era offer help with today's social justice work? Join your congregation's efforts on a free speech or freedom of expression project.

And/or, work with your congregation's formal or informal historians to discover congregational stories and additional information from the McCarthy Era. Post the list of questions created during Activity 1 or generate a new list of questions about the era and your congregation's responses; assign volunteers to research the answers. Arrange a time and a process for researchers to report their findings to the group and to the congregation as a whole.

Note: FBI files on congregations are available through the Freedom of Information Act. A request for information on your congregation might turn up some interesting events. Consider contacting the FBI and making this request.