Reform Jewish Movement Calls On Congress To Reject Disingenuous Resolution On Ten Commandments In Alabama Courtroom
WASHINGTON, March 5, 1997 - The Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC) and the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), the congregational and rabbinic arms of the national Reform Jewish movement, yesterday called on members of Congress to oppose a House resolution condoning a judge's refusal to follow a court order directing him to remove a display of the Ten Commandments from his Alabama courtroom. In a letter from Mark J. Pelavin, associate director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, they declared "It does religion no service to invoke it as a pretext for undermining the separation of church and state, the very principle which has allowed religion to flourish in the United States as nowhere else."
The full text of Mr. Pelavin's letter follows:
The House of Representatives will vote tomorrow on H. Con. Res. 31, a resolution concerning the display of the Ten Commandments in an Alabama courtroom. On behalf of over 850 congregations, 1800 rabbis and 1.5 million Reform Jews, I urge you to oppose H. Con. Res. 31.
H. Con. Res. 31 is not about the Ten Commandments. It is about the refusal of one judge to follow the rule of law and obey court orders directed to him.
The resolution's supporters claim that they are acting in defense of religion. It does religion no service to invoke it as a pretext for undermining the separation of church and state, the very principle which has allowed religion to flourish in the United States as nowhere else.
The Ten Commandments, of course, are the cornerstone of our faith. To see this sacred text used in such a political manner is inappropriate and distressing. It is this very politicization of religion which the First Amendment was crafted to prohibit.
Again, I urge you to oppose H. Con. Res. 31. In doing so, you would, in fact, be supporting religious liberty, our nation's "first freedom."
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, representing 1.5 million Reform Jews and 1800 Reform rabbis in more than 850 congregations throughout North America.