Conference on Jewish Social Studies Meets; Discusses Church and State

Professor Salo W. Baron, director of the Center of Israeli and Jewish Studies at Columbia University, was elected president of the Conference on Jewish Social Studies at the 30th anniversary meeting of the organization here tonight.

A group of 200 social scientists, communal workers and educators attended the meeting for which the theme was church and state in contemporary United States, Dr. Franklin H. Littell, Professor at the Chicago Theological Seminary, declared in a paper that those “who wish to defend the state-church system and legislated religion” should know that “the. American people have never been Christianized.”

“Religious liberty is an art which we are already learning to practice,” he told the meeting. “It is not a possession of the past but something gone out after. Politically speaking, it is a right antecedent to the frame of government itself. Religiously speaking, it rests upon a foundation of faithful voluntary membership and support.” He added a warning that religious liberty, like other liberties, “will not long endure if citizens neglect the disciplined initiative which brought it into existence in the first place.”

Dr. Seymour Siegel, assistant professor of theology at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, told the conference that while Jewish rights in the 19th century had been won under secular governments, “in the 20th century, it is important for the continuation of Jewish life to have a religious culture.”

For that reason, he said, it was not beneficial for American Jewry “for the official Jewish bodies to be in the forefront in the struggle to remove the symbols and practices of the historical religions from our public life.”

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