NEW YORK (Mar. 7)
A report on the problems of prejudice in Protestant religious education in the United States, made by the Yale University Divinity School, showed today that 43 percent of the school lessons of one Protestant denomination contained variations on the theme that the Jews crucified Christ.
The findings were contained in “Faith and Prejudice, ” by Dr. Bernard E. Olson, as part of a seven-year study carried out at the divinity school to determine how Catholics, Jews and Negroes are portrayed in Protestant literature. The Yale project is one of three stimulated by the American Jewish Committee.
“Faith and Prejudice” shows that Protestant materials display a wide range of treatment of those subjects which are most telling in their effect on Jews. One denomination cautioned its students that feelings of hate and acts of violence against the Jew “have a long history; their roots are deep and widespread.” Citing the crucifixion tale, the denomination said that the Jews have been accused of “having killed the Son of God. Such an accusing attitude toward the Jewish people is surely not a fitting part of the Christian gospel.” While many denominations carry variations of the same attitude, “refutation of the charge is also found in all curricula but one, ” the study found.
Some textbooks, the study found, refer to Jews and Judaism without distinguishing between Biblical times and the present day, Thus, statements made about Jews in the First Century tend to be carried into the present and applied to all Jews, the report said.
A press conference was held here today at the Yale Club in connection with the publication of the study. Dr. John Slawson, executive vice-president of the American Jewish Committee, Joined with national Protestant leaders in acclaiming Dr. Olson’s study as a major contribution to inter-religious understanding.