MILWAUKEE (Apr. 19)
An official of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights has accused the American Jewish Congress of “adopting the posture of legal positivism, the very ideology that enabled Hitler to pursue his genocidal policies,” by its support for legalized abortion. Dr. Lowell A. Dunlap, the League’s assistant executive director, made that charge in a study titled “Neo-Nazism in America?”
Specifically, he took issue with arguments presented by Leo Pfeffer, counsel to the AJCongress, in a brief filed by the AJCongress and seven other groups before the Massachusetts Supreme Court seeking reversal of the manslaughter conviction of Dr. Kenneth Edelin, who was charged with causing the death of a fetus.
Dunlap defines “legal positivism” as objections to the basic premise that natural rights due all men are the fundamental values which law must serve. By relying “heavily on the positivistic view that moral and ethical values have no place in law and public policy,” the AJCongress and other groups that favor legalized abortion are using “the ideological basis for the rise of Nazism” under Hitler, Dunlap contended.
A DANGEROUS PRECEDENT
“It is only a culture’s conviction that law must be judged in the light of moral and ethical values that prevents any society from succumbing to Nazi madness” and therefore the AJCongress’ position “is surely a dangerous precedent for the Jewish community,” the writer claimed. “Quite simply, the only cogent objection to the Holocaust is that it was an egregious assault on the natural rights of man. Without appealing to these fundamental moral and ethical values, there can be no compelling judgement that Hitler was wrong or that the Nazis who perpetrated the Holocaust should be punished,” Dunlap wrote.
He added that “The Jewish community cannot demand that the leaders of religious groups use their moral prestige to condemn recurring manifestations of Nazism while at the same time the American Jewish Congress rejects ‘moral predilections’ as having no place in law and public policy.”