The metropolitan press commented widely on the warrant issued by the Boston police against Dr. Horace M. Kallen on charges of blasphemy on the basis of an ancient Massachusetts law for his statement at the Sacco-Vanzetti memorial meeting that “If Sacco-Vanzetti were anarchists. so were Jesus Christ and Socrates.” The warrant has in the meantime, been recalled.
The “New York Times” writes editorially:
“This sort of ## is no special indietment of Boston or Massachusetts. It indicates the underlying intolerance of all communities. It is another reminder that the fight for free speech. free discussion, is unending. Dr. Kallen ought to go back and stand trial. His personal inconvenience is not to be regarded in comparison with the maintenance of liberty of speech–a liberty still too often shadowy or non-existent for unpopular opinions.”
States the “New York World:” “Dr. Horace M. Kallen. in the course of a speech at the memorial meeting held the other night in Boston, declared that if Sacco Vanzetti were anarchists, then so were Jesus Christ and Socrates. For this shopworn figure of speech he is new sought by Boston police on a ## charging blasphemy. the statute which makes blasphemy a crime in Massanchusetts having been passed in ##. amended in 1697 and thrown out of court in 1927. All we can say about this is that Calvin Coolige did the City of Boston a very evil turn when he settled the Boston police strike, or went through the motions of settling it, back in 1919. If any of the policemen responsible for the present bonehead play took part in that celebrated walkout, then it would have been much better if they had been allowed to strike and stay struck. For the only result it can have is to make Boston throughly ridiculous.
A different point of view is taken by the Jewish Morning Journal” Orthodox Yiddish daily.
“A man, like Dr. Horate M. Kallen. who is a professional philosopher, may permit himself to say peculiar things which, in the case of the average man, would be considered foolish and he sometimes makes use of this freedom,” the paper observes.
“We believe it, however, to be folly for a thinking Jew to make such public utterances. We believe in complete freedom of speech and would consider the punishment of Dr. Kallen for such an expression as a great injustice. But the freedom to do a thing does not impose an obligation to do so. The right to be unwise, as a great man has once said, should not be abused,” the paper states.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.