Dr. Kaplan Sees Time Ripe for Real Tolerance
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Dr. Kaplan Sees Time Ripe for Real Tolerance

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Existing religious tolerance is the result of political expediency, Dr. Mordecai M. Kaplan of New York, founder of the Society for the Advancement of Judaism and a professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, told members of the Rhode Island Ministerial. Association here today.

Dr. Kaplan said it is “high time” that the leading faiths frankly accepted and sanctioned the principle of religious tolerance. He insisted that “a tolerance code in which we credit other religious groups merely with sincerity is a code of intolerance.”


“Whatever claims to superiority majority-religions may have asserted to rationalize and justify their persecution of religious minorities,” the visitor asserted, “or whatever similar pretensions minority groups may have advanced to bolster up their pride in the face of humiliations, are alike superfluous and irrelevant.

“The attitude of reverence with which from early childhood we are conditioned to react to the ‘sancta’ (the constellation of persons, places, events, days, objects, writings, etc., treated as holy) of our religion is independent of our ability to demonstrate their superiority over the ‘sancta’ of other religions.”


Every religion has its justification in its ability to satisfy the spiritual needs of its own adherents, Dr. Kaplan said, adding that no other religion can function in its place, “for none other has arisen in response to the same historic circumstances.”

“To advance the cause of tolerance we need something more than good will,” the New Yorker declared. “We need good reason. We need a sound rational basis for maintaining the principle that we can logically and consistently recognize the high worth of our religious heritage and at the same time accord to others the right to ascribe similar worth to their religious heritage.”

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