London (Oct. 29)
(Jewish Telegraphic Agency Mail Service)
A joint conference of Liberal Jews and representatives of Christian denominations to discuss the problems of religion and the wage system was held here last night at the Liberal Jewish Synagogue.
At the evening session, at which Major-General Sir Frederick Maurice presided, Rabbi Dr. I. I. Mattuck, Chief Minister of the Liberal Synagogue, delivered an address on “The Spiritual Aspect vs. the Wage System.”
“The wage system,” Dr. I. I. Mattuck declared, “has a spiritual aspect because it represents human relations. All human relations have a spiritual aspect and the crucial spiritual fact is respect for human personality.
“In order to satisfy the religious principle of respect for human personality it is necessary that the worker should have some show in the management of the industry, in the regulations of the conditions of his work; also some direct interest in its results.”
In laying down this standard for the judgment of social relations, Dr. Mattuck stated he was following ancient authority. The first reference to man in the Bible, as is now understood, emphasized the personal work of the individual man. The social legislation in the Bible issued out of the same principle — the commandment for the observance of the Sabbath as found in Deuteronomy is a good illustration, he said. The abolition of slavery is a good example of the same principle of respect for help which lies in the foundation of democracy.
The proper attitude of mind towards the wage system, Dr. Mattuck declared, is contained in the commandment in Exodus: “Thou shalt not respect the rich nor favor the poor but in justice shalt thou judge thy neighbor.” The collective bargaining which has become an adjunct of the wage system stands for the principle of the ultimate arbitrament by force. This is religiously wrong.
“The change which religion can, perhaps, effect for the wage system,” Dr. Mattuck concluded, “is to translate it, to exalt it into a system of joint service which shall knit together humanity in the spirit of mutual respect founded in justice and love.”
Other speakers at the Conference were Professor T. E. Gregory of the London School of Economics; Miss Constance Smith and Malcolm Sparkes, formerly of the Building Trades Parliament.
Sir Mathew Nathan and Sir Frederick Maurice were the chairmen at the afternoon and evening sessions.