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B’nai B’rith Calls for Defeat of New Constitution on Church-state Issue

B’nai Brith, District No. 1, came out today against the adoption of the proposed New York State Constitution citing its fear that due to the repeal of the Blaine Amendment private and parochial schools would drain off too much money from the public school system, and that this would inevitably lead to the interference by the state in religious education.

In explaining why B’nai B’rith and the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith will campaign for the defeat of the new constitution, Eugene L. Sugarman, deputy controller of New York City and president of B’nai B’rith District No. 1 said: “The diversion of educational funds to meet the unknown demands of private and parochial institutions seems to us an extraordinarily shortsighted weakening of the public education system at a time when it can least afford to be diminished. Those who advocate adoption should be aware,” he continued, “that the proposed charter bans ‘discrimination in the admission to any school in this state supported in whole or in part by public funds by reason of race, religion or national origin.’ In other words, a religious school supported by state funds would have to give equal consideration in admission to those of its faith and those of other faiths,” he concluded.

B’nai B’rith and the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith will also campaign for the defeat of the proposed constitution because of its submission to the voters in one package. “Neither the intelligent debate nor the informed decision making necessary to the democratic process is possible with this railroading type of referendum,” Sugarman stated.

Queens PEARL (Queens Committee for Public Education and Religious Liberty), a group formed at the beginning of the Constitutional Convention to protect the Blaine Amendment, will hold a borough wide meeting to urge the defeat of the constitution, it was announced by the co-chairmen, Mrs. Florine Levin and Rev. Grant Anderson. The rally will take place at the Free Synagogue of Flushing, 136-23 Sanford Ave., Flushing, on Oct. 23, at 8:30 p.m. The League of Women Voters has also urged the defeat of the proposed constitution.