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C.C.A.R. Reaffirms Opposition to Bible Reading in Public Schools

The Central Conference of American Rabbis today urged all candidates for public office in the forthcoming elections to abjure religious and racial prejudices in their bidding for votes.

The resolution was one of several adopted at the 71st annual convention of the Reform rabbinical body. The rabbis also voted “sympathy and encouragement” to Negro sit-in demonstrations. The resolution lauded all non-violent “methods of demonstration to dramatize and to obtain relief from present forms of racial discrimination and to achieve the constitutional right to practical equality of treatment.”

The 500 delegates expressed yesterday their opposition to the reading of the Bible in public schools for devotional purposes, regardless of circumstances under which such readings were held.

The delegates also criticized reading of the Bible in schools without comment “as required by existing law in many states” on grounds that this reduced to a “mechanical routine what should be a meaningful experience.”

In another phase of the debate, the rabbis opposed the reading of any particular Bible translation, with or without comment, sectarian interpretation that could “violate the religious conscience” of some school pupils.

The resolution placed the CCAR on record as opposed to released time religious instruction. The rabbis said the practice of allowing public school children to take time off for religious education was a “usurpation” by the state of a responsibility “which only the church, synagogue and home can properly fulfill.”

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