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Miami School Case Recessed As Rabbi, Doctor Oppose Bible Reading

The defense in the Dade county school Bible case rested today, and the court was temporarily recessed to permit Judge A. Fritz, Gordon to rule on the admission of two controversial depositions. The trial is a test of the contention of five plaintiffs who hold that religious programs in Dade county public schools violate both the Florida state and United States constitutions. The practices include Bible reading, recitation of the Christian “Lord’s Prayer,” and school observance of Christian religious holidays. Three Jews are among the plaintiffs.

The depositions at issue were those of Rabbi Yaacov Rosenberg and Dr. Harris Peck, an authority on child psychology, which were attacked by defense counsel who argued they should not be admitted as testimony. The argument was based on an earlier ruling by Judge Gordon, upholding a defense contention that the constitution was not intended to protect individuals from embarrassment arising from non-conformity.

The Harris deposition described psychological compulsion, arising from efforts by children to exercise their rights to be excused from Christian sectarian school observances, as equal to actual compulsion.