Conclave of Baptists, Jews Urges Amnesty for Ruth; Upcoming Trials Denounced

A four-day interfaith conference of Southern Baptists and Jewish scholars closed here yesterday with the adoption of a resolution pleading for “amnesty” for Ruth Aleksandrovich “and the other defendants of conscience who have been repressed. The resolution, which sharply condemned the treatment of Jews, Baptists and other Christians in the Soviet Union, condemned “the unjust confinement of the ailing Ruth Aleksandrovich in a brutalizing labor camp which imperils her life.” It also denounced “the forthcoming trials in Kishinev, scene of Czarist programs, and in Odessa of Soviet citizens who are being denied religious liberty, cultural self-determination and the right to emigrate, a right to which the Soviet Union is pledged as a signer of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

Dr. M. Thomas Spark, secretary of the department of Interfaith Witness of the Home Mission of the Southern Baptist Convention introduced the resolution on the Soviet Union which urged President Nixon and “the proper U.S. government officials to intercede with the authorities of the Soviet Union to bring about the release” of Jews imprisoned in the USSR and to restore their full human rights. The Baptists and Jewish representatives resolved to “carry forward a joint effort of intercession on behalf of their brethren in the Soviet Union.” Rabbi Marc H. Tannenbaum, director of the AJCommittee’s Inter-Religious Affairs Department, introduced a resolution setting up a joint secretariats of Southern Baptists and Jews to “explore and implement programs that will help overcome misunderstanding and build a community of mutual trust between Baptists and Jews everywhere.” The second national conference of Southern Baptists and Jews was sponsored by the Southern Baptist Mission and the American Jewish Committee. It was held at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

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