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March 23, 1984 - Image 26

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-03-23

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

26

Friday, March 23, 1984

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS



Prayer issue

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Somebody ought to talk
sense to the adversaries in
the current debate over
prayer in the public schools.
The fundamentalist and
evangelical Christians, who
are primarily behind the
present campaign in Con-
gress, have put their finger
on the moral malaise of
America. America is mor-
ally in deep trouble. The
signs are all around us —
the rampant pornography,
the drug epidemic, the
breakdown of families, sex-
ual promiscuity, teen-age
pregnancies.
And the traditionalists
are also right about the fact
that modernists and liber-
als have been far too in-
different or complacent
about the moral decline in
our nation. Self-indulgent
liberals have left a massive
vacuum and have given lit-
tle ethical, spiritual direc-
tion in personal morals. The
traditionalists now propose
to fill that vacuum by order-
ing the state to compel a
minute of daily prayer or si-
lence in our public schools.
That is both facetious and
borders on magical think-
ing.
To reverse the moral
decay in our society re-
quires a rigorous, systema-
tic re-education and com-
mitment in moral and
spiritual formation. The in-
stitutions that are compe-
tent to bring about that
moral development are the
family, the church and the
synagogue. If they did their
job more effectively, there
would be no need to suggest
ritualistic prayers in state-
run schools.
But, I fear, the issue is not
really prayer, but power.
Since the Key '73 drive,
fundamentalists have reg-
ularly launched campaigns
to make America into
an"Evangelical Empire," as
Lutheran church historian
Martin Marty calls it.
Clearly, I am for prayer in
authentic places of prayer. I
am opposed to the exploita-
tion of prayer as a means of
sectarian domination of our
pluralist democracy.

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Albany, N.Y. — Governor
Mario Cuomo signed a bill
last week establishing Oct.
5 as Raoul Wallenberg Day.
The bill, sponsored by State
Assemblyman Alan Hevesi
(Queens) and State Sen.
Donald Halperin (Brook-
lyn) passed unanimously.
Havesi, president of the
National Association of
Jewish Legislators, said
Oct. 5 was chosen because it
is the day that Congress
gave Wallenberg status as
an honorary United States
citizen in 1981.
"This commemoration
will provide lasting recogni-
tion of the heroic actions" of
Wallenberg, the Swedish
diplomat who saved more
than 100,000 Hungarian
Jews from Nazi death
cam1s, according to Havesi.

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