VANCOUVER (Jun. 13)
British Columbia, June 13 (JTA) — The Jewish community has welcomed a proposal to drop a clause advancing Christianity from the constitution of British Columbia’s Social Credit Party.
The change, recommended by a special committee of the party, would eliminate the “Christian Principles” statement which created an uproar at last year’s convention.
A Jewish member stormed out of that meeting and resigned from the party.
The statement says it is a principle and objective of the party “to foster and encourage the universally recognized principles of Christianity in human relationships.”
That would be replaced by a statement based on the Canadian Constitution which simply recognizes “the supremacy of God and the rule of law.”
In addition, an amendment to the new clause would commit the party to “foster historical, social and moral ethical principles, regardless of gender, ethnic origin or religious affiliation.”
Rabbi Wilder Solomon of Congregation Beth Israel, Vancouver’s largest synagogue, said he was pleased about the proposed change as long as it is not construed as a test of membership in the Social Credit Party.
“It’s a tremendous step forward,” Solomon said, “but I think it’s regrettable, because it still betrays the need to defend God with a political platform.”
But Grace McCarthy, a prominent Social Credit Party member, believes the new statement is very good and hopes it will be adopted and ratified at the next convention.
“We are a political party, not a religious organization,” McCarthy said.
Opposition New Democratic Party leader Michael Harcourt was cautious.
“I think it’s about time they caught up with the 20th century. Any political party in a pluralistic democracy like ours, with such a diversity of religious and multicultural communities, that doesn’t respect and isn’t sensitive to that mosaic doesn’t understand our democracy,” according to Harcourt.
“It’s fine to change the constitution, which they should have done 50 years ago,” he added, “but it still doesn’t change their disturbing actions and attitudes toward our minority communities.”