Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

A Jewish Group's Prejudiced Appeal

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

A Jewish Group's Prejudiced Appeal

Article excerpt

The American Jewish Congress, always among the more liberal Jewish organizations, has shamed itself with a fund-raising letter that appeals to the worst prejudices of its intended audience.

It begins with a quote from The New York Times (the source, be it op-ed, editorial or news story is not specified). "No longer does the religious right seek to isolate schoolchildren in supposed `voluntary' classroom prayer. Now it seeks openly to engulf all of us - treating adults the same as children - in supporting, with taxes and public space and public resources, the religious observances that Ralph Reed and Pat Robertson think are right for us."

The looming danger cannot be exaggerated, according to the AJC. "Today as we approach the 1996 presidential election, the political reality is that in almost half the states, the Christian Coalition controls the apparatus of the Republican Party." (False.)

". . . But the Christian Coalition's Contract with the American Family is more - much, much more - than a legislative wish list of the extreme right wing." (emphasis mine) No, it is a "radical" vision for "regulating the private behavior of law-abiding citizens. . . . It consists of nothing less than an attempt to eviscerate the First Amendment of the Constitution" (by forcing kids to pray in public schools).

The rest of the letter goes on in the same apocalyptic tones. The American Jewish Congress will stand and fight against the "zealots" of the Christian Coalition in these "dangerous" times, will block attempts to curtail "abortion rights" and will stand by federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Legal Services Corporation. Join today, and give generously.

As a Jew, I find that letter deeply offensive. By what right do Jews who happen to be politically liberal dress their own preferences and prejudices as Jewish concerns? "We are fighting for the best and highest interests of the American Jewish community," they boast.

Bunk. Page through the Torah and Talmud at your leisure, and you will find no requirements that Jews support the National Endowment for the Arts or the Corporation for Public Broadcasting - far less the unrestricted "right" to an abortion for any or no reason. …

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