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April 29, 1983 - Image 29

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-04-29

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

OTHER y s

AJCongress Fights NJ Cult Bill

TRENTON, N.J. — A
proposed New Jersey law
that would permit court- 4
ordered "deprogramming"
of adult cult members is un-
constitutional and invites
infringement on religious
freedom generally, an
American Jewish Congress
attorney has told a New
Jersey legislative commit-
tee.
Victoria B. Eiger, staff at-
torney for the organization,
said that while the intent of

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the bill is to liberate the cult
member who has been de-
prived of his "personal au-
tonomy" by a cult, the legis-
lation itself would deprive
the cult victim of his free-
dom, through court-ordered
restraints. She testified at a
hearing of the Judiciary,
Law, Public Safety and De-
fense Committee of the New
Jersey Assembly.
According to Henry
Siegman, executive director
of the AJCongress, the pro-
posed bill could be used
against groups other than
cults. "Once the Constitu .-
tional principle is com-
promised, this kind of legis-
lation can in time also be
used against members of
any religious group, includ-
ing Hasidic groups and in-
stitutions that encourage
hozrei bitshuva — retur-
nees to Judaism," he said.
"The American Jewish
Congress believes that
religious cults pose a

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NEW YORK — Although
school boards are empo-
wered to set school policies
and standards, they should
not be allowed to censor
school library books simply
because area residents de-
mand it, says the American
Jewish Congress.
An AJCongress resolu-
tion states that "attempts to
remove certain books and
other learning materials
from the libraries of our
country's public schools
have multiplied. The objects
of these attacks frequently
have been not works of
questionable taste or dubi-
ous relevance but literary
classics by authors as dis-
tinguished as Aldous Hux-
ley, Bernard Malamud and
Richard Wright."
The resolution continues:
"Book removal campaigns
come from a variety of
sources. Regardless of the
source or motivation, they
are inimical to the interest
of the students."

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serious threat to society
and to individuals," Ms.
Eiger said in her tes-
timony. "But we believe
that New Jersey Assem-
bly Bill No. 1078 uncon-
stitutionally intrudes
upon an adult's privacy,
liberty, and his right to
the free exercise of reli-
gion."
The bill would amend
New Jersey law to permit
the appointment of a
limited guardian for any
adult who has "undergone ,
psychological deterioration
to the extent that he has lost
substantial capacity to
understand or control his
conduct"; where psychologi-
cal deterioration has re-
sulted from, or could rea-
sonably be expected to have
resulted from "coercive per-
suasion"; and where the
organization employing
coercive persuasion mis-
represents or commits
fraudulent or deceitful acts.

MELBOURNE (ZINS) —
Bob Hanke, the new prime
minister of Australia, is the
strongest advocate of Is-
rael's cause among Western
leaders, according to his
biographer Blanche d'Al-
puget.
What attracted Hanke to
Israel? According to his
biographer, Hanke was
drawn to the liveliness of Is-
rael's open society and its
democratic freedoms in a
region marked by autoc-
racy. And Israel's refusal to
succumb to the military or
totalitarian temptations,
despite the pressures of war,
aroused his sense of fair
play.
Beyond the political and
social appeal of Israel,
Hanke found a certain
chemistry at work. His dis-
tinctive brand of Australian
confidence, directness, even
arrogance at times, was met
by a comperable Israeli coc-
kiness and hutzpa, accord-
ing to his biographer.

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