Major Synagogue, Church Groups Launch Drive to Aid Naacp Appeal

A “cash” drive to help the NAACP post a $1.6 million bond to appeal a Mississippi court case won by Port Gibson merchants was launched here yesterday by major church and synagogue bodies.

Representatives of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, National Council of Churches, Synagogue Council of America, National Catholic Conference on Interracial Justice, Central Conference of American Rabbis and other religious organizations announced that local churches and synagogues would be asked during the next three weeks to raise cash contributions to assist the NAACP.

Rabbi Alexander M. Schindler, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, conveners of the meeting and drive, called the Mississippi decision “constitutionally dubious and a threat to every organization actively engaged in the fight for social justice.”

He noted. “If Blacks can be thrown into bankruptcy for refusing to patronize merchants they regard as hostile to their interests, then Jews can be similarly victimized for withdrawing their patronage from concerns which discriminate against them or who cooperate with the Arab boycott; and Roman Catholics could be punished for exercising their consciences with respect to such concerns as abortion and aid to parochial schools.”

Rabbi Henry Siegman, SCA executive director, called the Mississippi court decision “a frightening anachronism, a throwback for American history, especially in this Bicentennial year, for moral and interracial justice.” He pledged to call upon Orthodox, Conservative and Reform agencies of SCA to get their membership behind the NAACP’s cash drive. Many at the meeting where the drive was announced viewed this as a revival of the 1960′s civil rights coalition.

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