JOHANNESBURG (Jun. 6)
A resolution of a local committee of the Dutch Reformed Church, which expressed regret at the election of a Jewish mayor in the small town of Odsendaalsrus in the Orange Free State, was the cause of much astonishment here.
The Mayor, Edel Cohen, a well-known businessman in the town and a member of the National Party, was elected by a predominantly Nationalist town council. Many church members have expressed resentment at their church committee’s action and have called on Cohen to express their feelings and to assure him of their support.
Some reports said the resolution followed a sermon by the minister, Dominee D.H. Botes. Botes, however, denied that his sermon was directed against Cohen. He said-that the sermon was a “normal” sermon dealing with the “historical” conflict between Christianity and Judaism.
The church committee, deploring “exaggerated” press reports of the incident, said their meeting was “a domestic matter which was never intended for publication.” The committee stated that their resolution merely “regretted that a non-Christian had been elected leader of the town.