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Rabbi Warns Evangelistic Drive Due Next Year Poses Threat to Jews, Catholics

A rabbi warned here last night that a nationwide ecumenical evangelistic drive to be launched throughout the US next year under the slogan “Key 73″ poses a serious threat to “the pluralistic idea that Jews, Catholics and others are full partners in American society.” The warning was issued by Rabbi Marc H. Tanenbaum, national director of the inter-religious affairs department of the American Jewish Committee, who addressed the opening session of a three-day colloquium on Civil Religion in America co-sponsored by the Southeast Baptist Theological Seminary and the AJ Committee.

Rabbi Tanenbaum said that a careful reading of “Key 73″ literature and the speeches of its sponsors indicated that this “evangelical revival” is based on the conception that America is a “Christian nation” in which “Jews and other non-Christians were tolerated as less than full partners in the democratic enterprise.” The announced intention of “Key 73″ is “Calling our Continent to Christ in 1973.”

Rabbi Tanenbaum said that “the implications of Key 73 for the American ‘civil religion’ is that it will tend to transform the American way of life into a uniformist evangelical Christian theocratic society.” He said that “Christians and Jews together need to critique that tendency before it becomes coercive of the vitality of pluralism, as much as Jews themselves need to critique and resist analogous efforts of some ‘fundamentalist’ Jews who seek to impose similar theocratic tendencies on Israel as a Jewish State.”

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