New Fundamentalist Group Scored by Two Major Jewish Organizations

The announcement earlier this month by the Rev. Jerry Falwell that his Moral Majority is being conjoined to form a new Liberty Federation which will engage in avowedly political issues “is both revealing and cause for deep concern,” it was stated here jointly by the American Jewish Congress and the Women’s American Organization for Rehabilitation Through Training.

The two organizations sponsored an all-day convocation here yesterday called to counteract “the fundamentalist new right threat to religious freedom and women’s rights.”

The joint statement by the AJ Congress and Women’s American ORT warned against any assumption that Liberty Federation, a “cosmetic face-lift, ” represents “a basic change in the character or philosophy of the fundamentalist right. We have no reason to believe that the Rev. Falwell and his followers will lessen the intensity of their opposition to individual freedom and pluralism in American society.”

‘A PERTURBING QUALITATIVE CHANGE’

On the contrary, the statement continued, “the dangerous mix of ultra-right politics and fundamentalist dogma powering the Moral Majority, and presumably its successor, Liberty Federation, constitutes a perturbing qualitative change, and represents a further dramatic escalation of the threats to pluralism and to the climate of tolerance in our nation.

“While we recognize that the Rev. Falwell is free to speak out on any issue he wishes and to organize any lawful movement he feels is necessary to further his political goals, we will continue vigorously to oppose those views and his activities which, we feel, represent an acute danger to the decency, compassion and tolerance that have been hallmarks of our democratic society.”

According to Harry Covert, a spokesman for Falwell, the change in the organization was made “so we can speak out on a broader range of issues,” including national defense and foreign policy. He said this was part of the organization’s effort to gear up for greater involvement in politics.

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