Rabbi Decries Incursions Violating Basic Principles of Religious Freedom

Rabbi Charles Weinberg, newly declared president of the Rabbinical Council of America, and spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Israel, Malden, Mass., declared today in his acceptance address that “sectarian and credal bodies are making unfair and unjust demands in many of our governmental and public institutions, in violation of the fundamental American idea of separation of church and state.”

“Religion and the state must remain divorced from each other if they are to serve the community with maximum effectiveness, ethical Justice and a minimum of tension,” he stated. “The efforts to inject religious beliefs in our public schools, the retention of the harsh and discriminatory Sunday law inhibitions, the introduction of religious considerations in determining fitness for public office, and the utilization of zoning statutes to restrict the entry of houses of worship in many areas, are some of the danger signs which call for amelioration and reform in our thinking about religion in communal activities. “

“It is a national travesty and blemish to judge a political candidate by his color, religion or national origin.” the rabbinical leader continued. “According to the American criteria of fair play, freedom and constitutional liberty, an individual is to be evaluated by his inner qualities, personal merits and experimental characteristics. Democracy cannot survive if its citizens are denied access to those benefits, privileges and rights which naturally accrue to all Americans of whatever religious persuasion or background, be they Protestant, Catholic or Jews, It is of imperative importance that the 1928 debacle be prevented and that candidates not be defeated on narrowly sectarian, bigoted and foolishly nonsensical grounds.”

Rabbi Weinberg appealed to the presidential aspirants and candidates of both major parties to “commit themselves fully and unequivocally, in a public statement, to the preservation of Israel’s sovereign integrity, territorial inviolability, and the maintenance of the existing border areas. It is urgent for the world peace that the Democratic and Republican Party platforms include strong planks guaranteeing the survival and progress of Israel as a viable nation.”

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