St. Louis (May. 15)
In a stirring address before one thousand Jews, Catholics and Protestants at the closing session of the good-will seminar here, characterized as a “religious prejudice disarmament conference,” Rabbi Stephen S. Wise of New York declared that “the Jews abhor the Christian groups engaged in missionary work among the Jews. After 3,000 years of unswerving loyalty to ethical monotheism they have earned the right to be exempt from this dangerous influence.”
Rabbi Wise, pleading for a frank discussion and understanding between Jews and Christians, said “the hideous charge that Jews are ‘Christ killers’ must be removed forever from the Christian vocabulary. Jesus was a Jewish teacher and a radiant prophet of his people.”
ECONOMIC BOYCOTT GROWING
The economic boycott against the Jews is growing, Rabbi Wise pointed out, and “unless this danger is stopped some Christian corporations will completely shut Jews out from employment,” he declared. In the course of his address, Rabbi Wise referred to “the unChristian Palestine Inquiry Commission’s report” and to liberals like Kirby Page, “who saw the Grand Mufti but failed to see the injustice to the Jews. Rabbi Wise described how the Jews “had liberated Palestine by bringing economic and political liberty to the oppressed Arabs.”
Governor Henry S. Caulfield, who presided, said that radical religious differences are aroused by those not known for their piety. Lack of understanding, he pointed out, causes suspicion and bigotry. He praised the efforts of the seminar to discuss frankly religious problems.
MESSAGE FROM PRESIDENT
A message from President Hoover was read by Rabbi Ferdinance Isserman. The president said “please extend my cordial greetings to the members of the St. Louis seminar and my best wishes that the deliberations may advance thte noble purpose of the meeting to lift the relations of the communicants of the various religious faiths to the high level of mutual clarity and understanding and cooperation.”
Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr of the Union Theological Seminary in New York, said that “the Jews discovered or accepted the idea of conscience. Whatever is ethical in Christianity is Hebraic and that Jew continues to be a prophet even when he ceases to be a Jew.” He urged the need for moral respect among religious sects and pleaded that “a way be found to hold our own and yet save religion from fanaticism.” Deploring the Ku Klux Klan “born of Protestants who show a spiritual defect,” Dr. Niebuhr appealed for “a religious formula, a resource to help us live together. Prejudice is the result of a defective imagination,” he concluded.
URGES RETURN TO RELIGION
Father John McClorey of Detroit, representing the Catholics, made no reference to the problem of intolerance but urged “a return to religion as the solution. Human nature is sub-normal and religion is necessary for man.”
Using Zangwill’s text “dislike of the unlike” as the basis of his message, Rabbi Wise said that the “hardest thing is to forgive creditors. The Jews are the creditors of Christianity. That understanding must be unconditional.” Discussing the good-will seminars, Rabbi Wise said they “are all overdue reparations to the Jew and the policy of calculated unfriendliness towards the Jew must be fought but the weapon to be wielded by the Jews or Christians is not carnal or outward but inward and spiritual.”