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Jewish Religious Bodies Oppose Constitutional Amendment on Religion

April 27, 1964
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

As the House Judiciary Committee prepared to resume hearings tomorrow on the issue of religious practices in public schools, American Reform Judaism opened a drive to defeat a proposed Constitutional amendment to permit such practices.

The Commission on Social Action, a joint body of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, issued a call to the 657 Reform congregations in the United States to support the 1963 Supreme Court decision banning religious exercises in public schools.

The principal measure before the House Judiciary committee is a proposed amendment sponsored by Rep. Frank J. Becker, New York Republican, which would amend the First Amendment, on which the Supreme Court based its decision. To prevent his bill from being tied up in Judiciary Committee hearings, Rep. Becker has circulated a discharge petition to force the bill out of committee. It has been signed by 161 Representatives of the 218 needed for such action.

The Becker amendment also is opposed by the Synagogue Council of America, central body of all Rabbinical and congregational groups in the U.S., as well as by the National Council of Churches of Christ, the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States, the Lutheran Church in America, the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs and other religious groups.

In its appeal to member congregations, the Reform Commission declared “We regard the Supreme Court decision as a vital contribution to religious liberty and the integrity of religion. We have an obligation to express our views clearly and effectively. ” Rabbi Maurice Eisendrath, president of the UAHC, is scheduled to testify before the Judiciary committee on May 15.

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