Detroit, Mich (Nov. 16)
Meeting on a common ground of good-will and friendly understanding, Catholics, Protestants and Jews joined Tuesday evening in a plea for fellowhship at a dinner sponsored by the Men’s Club of Temple Beth El, held at the Temple.
Following an expression of welcome by Milford Stern, retiring president of Beth El, who was the chairman of the evening, the three speakers, Judge Ernest A. O’Brien, Roger M. Andrews, publisher of the “Detroit Times,” and Judge Charles C. Simons spoke respectively for the Catholic, Protestant and Jewish groups.
“The spirit of tolerance is of slow, but solid growth,” Judge O’Brien told his audience. “All monuments to progress can be attained by fighting each step of the way, until the light of intelligence, culture and education makes for their attainment–until all men realize that we all come from one common God, that we all are seeking a common purpose, and must work shoulder to shoulder for the attainment of that purpose.
If we can bring to the city–the state and the nation, a part of the spirit that hovers in our souls at this meeting tonight, we shall have achieved the purpose and the end of this new era of tolerance and understanding.”
“You have built a monument to true Americanism in these meetings,” Mr. Andrews said, “which all can see, and which the public should be made to understand.
“You cannot be a good American until you have sensed the length and breadth of friendship. You cannot be a good American until you’re friendly to the country in which you live–to the state, and to the city of Detroit. You cannot be friendly in business unless you make friends with the man with whom you deal. The successful man–the happy man is he who represents in his daily activities the broad view–the friendly view.”
“It is as difficult to conceive of Christianity without the New Testament, of Judaism without the Old Testament, of Mohammedanism without the Koran, as it is to conceive of true Americanism without a true interpretation of the Constitution of the United States and the Declaration of Independence,” said Judge Simons.
“These two documents tell us all there is to know about true Americanism. The preamble of the Constitution begins: ‘We, the people.’ The Declaration of Independence tells us that ‘All men are created free and equal.’
“But within a few years of the writing of these documents, narrow and intolerant people read new meanings into them. At first, men began to interpolate a new word into the meaning of them: ‘We the white people’ and ‘All white men are created equal.’ And then later, many men, if they gave accurate meaning to what they felt, would have said: ‘All men are created equal if they are white, of native stock born in the United tates, or sprung from some approved racial stock.’
“It is the answer to these false interpolations that this meeting and others that have gone before provide.
“Never has there been a sounder, more logical interpretation of what was actually meant by the writers of these documents than Abraham Lincoln’s Illinois debates with Douglas. In these debates the interpretation is as clear as ringing and as conclusive to the people who misread them now as it was to those who misread them in Lincoln’s time. Here is what he said:
“‘They (the writers) meant to set up a standard maxim, revered by all, looked to by all–augmenting the value and happiness of life for all people of all colors everywhere–liberty not only for the people of this country, but extending a hope to the people of all the world.’
“What difference does it make whether we have the same traditions,” Judge Simons continued. “Everything must be approached from the point of view of Americanism, not from the point of view of petty differences in creed.
“America is in the main free from these poisonous things that we call religious, social and economic prejudices.
“I see a return to traditional influences in regard to my people,” said Judge Simon, “a revelation on the part of the Jews of those things that are fine in our traditions.
“Nothing will break down intolerance as far as the Jew is concerned more quickly than the restoration of his self-respect and his dignity; and the day on which the Jew walks out into the market place and in the public streets, not ashamed, but holding high his head with self-respect, the sooner the day will come when the Jew will be accorded dignity and respect that is his dure.”
Each member of Temple Beth El men’s club was asked to bring one guest of other than his faith.