Capital Comment

Washington

Why is it that religious groups are becoming more and more articulate in expressing their views on intangibles or matters of secondary importance when their efforts might be directed to far greater advantage by focusing attention on the need for alleviating human suffering and distress and solving the more fundamental problems with which all creeds are confronted, remains a mystery to many an observer.

Recently, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations held a southeastern regional meeting in this city. Among the resolutions adopted by this meeting was one which petitioned Congress “to enact a law establishing the five-day work week in all government departments.” The resolution further stated that “the adoption of a general five-day work week policy will enable the government employees of the Jewish faith to observe the holy Sabbath.”

No one will deny the spirit in which this resolution was considered by the meeting. But, knowing that the number of Jews in the employ of the federal government is so small, it appears as if the tail were trying to wag the dog.

It is understood that a committee has undertaken to draft a bill which will be submitted to Congress along with the petition. Such a bill has little if any chance of passing. The energies required to draft this measure might well be directed in other channels of endeavor with far greater benefit to Jewry.

To “view wih alarm” has become a favorite pastime for more than one group in this country. Even the clergy has joined in this game. The other day a petition signed by 272 clergymen representing three faiths — Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish — was submitted to Congress requesting that the Senate Committee on the Judiciary make an investigation as to how far, if at all, the constitutional liberties of free speech, free assembly, and free press are being encroached upon from any source.

In requesting the investigation, the petition said, “We feel impelled solemnly to warn the nation against imminent dangers which threaten our constitutional liberties of free speech, free assembly, and a free press.” The petition recited efforts of organizations to induce both Congress and the legislatures of the various states to pass restrictive legislation.

“While the proposed measures are at present ostensibly aimed at extremists, the recent experience of other countries shows that once the civil liberty of the most extreme group has been removed, the rights of organized labor, of liberals, and of the churches have also gone down in rapid succession,” the petition says.

Whether or not such an investigation will be ordered, remains to be seen. Much of the howl against the actual loss or threatened loss of liberties has come from reactionary quarters. The big question, however, is: What liberties do we not have now that we had before?

The United States is being “sold short” in Central America, according to Leo R. Sack, former Washington newspaper man, who is American Minister to Costa Rica and now home on leave. Minister Sack tells his one-time Capital press colleagues that the type of news which is being published by the Central American newspapers does not depict this country’s constructive accomplishments. Dispatches filling the Latin-American newspapers specialize in stories of crime, sex and industrial strife. Thus the people in those countries get a distorted picture of what is going on in the United States.

Minister Sack points out that press emphasis on stories of crime, sex and industrial strife, is of distinct disadvantage to the interests of the United States. The people in the Latin-American countries are eager to cement both commercial and cultural ties with Uncle Sam. But, because of the systematically distorted picture of American life and times, it is hard for them to get at the truth.

Washington officialdom is in continued silence concerning Hitler’s militaristic efforts. The Fuehrer’s long speech before the Reichstag was eagerly awaited here. But, after its delivery, Washington comment could not be obtained.

Every indication points to the fact that Hitler wants peace—but on his own terms—just as the Kaiser did in 1914. Hitler wants more power and no doubt will do all that he can to get it. The Fuehrer is willing to negotiate, but not on the basis of the Versailles Treaty. He wants to be in position to make the final decisions. This is something which the allies will not permit him to do. In the meantime, Washington is on the sidelines and will continue to remain there for some time to come.

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