NEW YORK (Sep. 11)
The American Jewish Congress warned today that injecting the religious issue into the presidential election campaign might give rise to the development of religious political parties in the United States.
In a statement, the Governing Council of the Congress–the newly formed policy making body of the organization–said that “if a candidate is opposed by some voters because of his religion, it is inevitable that he will be supported by others for the same reason. Such a development might lead to the birth of political parties based on religion, threatening the unity of the American people and the very foundation of American democracy.”
The policy declaration asserted that “the American tradition, as well as our common religious heritage, teaches us that a man shall be held accountable for what he alone does and says, not for what others who may be members of the same family, church or religion may do or say. The concept of ‘guilt by association is anathema to Americans. Those who Judge a candidate by his race, by his religion or any other basis than his own acts and his own qualities subvert the basic democratic belief in the sanctity of the individual.”
Attempts to inject religious conflict into the current Presidential election campaign were also deplored by the New York Board of Rabbis during the week-end. In a statement issued on behalf of the group, Rabbi David I. Golovensky, president of the board, said that it would be “a tragic defeat and mockery if we permitted anti-religious bigotry to invade our voting procedures.”
“Voting for a Presidential candidate because he is a Catholic or voting against him because he belongs to the Catholic Faith, ” Rabbi Golovensky declared, “is a sinister betrayal of the fundamental precept of American democracy, and constitutes a crass-repudiation of the American ideal.”