NEW YORK (Nov. 2)
Norman Cousins, the editor of Saturday Review, warned Americans of what he called the “strident, intolerant, frightening voice of the Moral Majority which poisons the airways with preachments of bigotry and religio-political power.”
Addressing the annual Covenant of Peace Awards dinner of the Synagogue Council of America and himself a recipient of that award at the dinner, last Thursday night, Cousins, author of “Anatomy of an illness,” told the 400 people in attendance:
“The attempt to use religion as a means for instructing people in political matters is no less dangerous than the attempt of politicians to instruct people in what they may or may not believe. The paradox of the Moral Majority is that it is becoming an immoral majority. We need a strengthening of forces which underscore the richness of diversity, the indispensability of love combined with law, the goal of peace for all people, everywhere.”
Also receiving the Covenant of Peace Award of the Synagogue Council of America were Secretary of Commerce Philip Klutznick, Roberta Peters. Andrei Sakharov and Anatoly Shcharansky. Two empty chairs were on the dais for Sakharov and Shcharansky. Accepting the award for Sakharov was his daughter, Tanya Yankelevich. Receiving the award for Shcharansky was his wife, Avital.
“The vivid symbolism of two empty chairs is evident, for no matter where the Soviet Union exiles Sakharov or Shcharansky, the message of freedom and justice and example of courage can never be exiled,” said Rabbi Arthur Lelyveld, president of the Synagogue Council of America which is the national coordinating agency for the Conservative, Orthodox and Reform rabbinic and congregational organizations.