Jesuit Priest, Rabbi Differ on Public Aid to Parochial Schools

A Washington rabbi and a Jesuit priest, the first Catholic clergyman to win a seat in the United States Congress, expressed opposite views last night on public aid to parochial schools. They addressed a forum, sponsored by the American Jewish Committee, on the issue of religion and public education. Rep. John Drinan, Massachusetts Democrat who was elected last November, proposed that an experiment should be undertaken in teaching “about religion” on all levels of the country’s public schools. “All religions of mankind are worthy of study.” Drinan said. He argued that religious community support for religious schools is insufficient. Rabbi Joshua O. Haberman, of the Washington Hebrew Congregation, said he favored private religious schools and did not oppose State aid for them in terms of welfare services such as health and transportation. He said, however, that he objected to State support of curricular functions of private schools, but that the schools should be supported by their respective religious communities. Rabbi Haberman, who preached the sermon last month at President Nixon’s White House religious services, echoed some administration attitudes toward the mass media. He claimed that the media promotes “neo-paganism” and since its impact was irreversible, “it is necessary to develop individuals who will not be swept away by the media.” He said that could only be achieved through intensive religious training. He claimed that the threat of neo-paganism to human value is greater than the price which will have to be paid for religious bigotry.

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