NEW YORK (Sep. 10)
“America,” the Jesuit weekly which 10 days ago “warned” that American Jews are encouraging the possible spread of anti-Semitism by supporting the decision of the United States Supreme Court banning official prayers from public schools, today denied that its editorial was a veiled threat to the Jewish community.
The Jesuit organ released an editorial which will be published in its forthcoming issue of September 15, in which it clarifies its stand, “On our record,” the editorial stated, “it is obviously ridiculous to suggest that ‘America’ condones any form of anti-Semitism.” Claiming that the point of the earlier editorial “has been blunted” by some of the accounts in the daily press, the editorial released today declared:
“The purpose of our editorial, which most commentators appear somehow to have missed, was to question the assumption that Leo Pfeffer (general counsel of the American Jewish Congress), the AJC and a few other prominent Jewish agencies speak as they claim to do, for the Jewish people as a whole. “
Pointing out that more cases involving principles of separation of church and state are now pending before the Supreme Court, the editorial released today continued: “When and if such decisions are handed down, then unless it has been made clear that Dr. Pfeffer and the AJC do not speak for the whole of American Jewry, Jews in general will be unfairly blamed for what in fact will have been accomplished by a mere handful of militants, allied with an assortment of humanist groups, ethical culturists, Unitarians, secularists and atheists.”
The editorial then cited quotations on the issue from four Catholic organs; The Pilot, the weekly newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston; the Catholic Transcript, of Hartford, Conn; the Catholic Review, of Baltimore; am the Pittsburgh Catholic. All four supported the “America” point of view.
Replying to the latest editorial in “America, ” Mr. Pfeffer said today: “It must never be forgotten, as the editors of America appear to be trying to do, that it was the Catholics and not the Jews who were responsible for the secularization of the American public school system. ” Mr. Pfeffer explained that his reference meant that most of the court cases to take religious practices out of the public schools were brought by Catholics in “many state courts” of New England, the Mid-West and the South at the end of the 19th century and the start of the 20th.