2,000 American Christian Clergymen Protest Soviet Treatment of Jews

High-ranking officials of the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches were among the 2,000 Christian clergy who joined this weekend with Jewish leaders in signing a protest against the Soviet treatment of Russian Jews.

The signers included three Cardinals, heads of several major Protestant denominations and seven Bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church. The Catholic leaders were Francis Cardinal Spellman, Richard Cardinal Cushing and Joseph Cardinal Ritter.

The protest, termed a “letter of conscience,” was drawn up by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, the international Jewish service organization, and was announced at the League’s national executive committee meeting here. The document will be presented to the State Department and to the United States delegation at the United Nations for transmittal to Moscow.

Other signers of the petition were Bishop R. H. Mueller, president of the National Council of Churches and president of the Board of Bishops of the Evangelical Church; Bishop Lloyd C. Wicke, president of the College of Bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Dr. William McCorkie, moderator of the Presbyterian Church in the United States; Dr. Edwin H. Teller, general secretary of the American Baptist convention; Bishop Gerald Kennedy of the Methodist Episcopal Diocese of Southern California and Arizona, and the Rev. Gaines M. Crooks, executive secretary of the Disciples of Christ, the denomination to which President Johnson belongs.

The text of the protest reads:

“Profoundly disturbed by authoritative reports of discriminatory and repressive treatment of Jews in the Soviet Union, and affirming the universal moral principles of justice and brotherhood, I hereby join with other Americans in expressing grave concern. We appeal to Soviet authorities:

“1. To extend to Jews in the Soviet Union a full measure of equality to which they are entitled under the Soviet Constitution.

“2. To eradicate every vestiga of anti-Semitism and to institute a vigorous campaign against all anti-Semitic manifestations.

“3. To permit the creation of central religious institutions to serve Soviet Jewry and to allow unrestricted worship and religious instruction for young and old.

“4. To allow formal religious and cultural bonds with Jewish communities abroad and to permit official exchange visits and religious pilgrimages to the Holy Land.

“5. To reopen Jewish cultural institutions and to permit the full expression of Jewish cultural life in Yiddish and Hebrew.

“6. To grant permission on a humanitarian basis to those Jews who have been separated from their loved ones by the Nazi holocaust to rejoin their families in other lands.

“7. To cease making Jews the scapegoat in the governmental campaign against economic crisis in the Soviet Union.

“The essential dignity and quality of all men is an elementary religious and moral principle. So long as this principle is violated, I cannot in good conscience remain silent. I, therefore, solemnly subscribe to this urgent appeal.”

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