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January 10, 1992 - Image 31

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-01-10

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federal funds and reduced
political clout.
One structural change
that the AJCongress rec-
ommended for the next cen-
sus was to bring minority
organizations into the pro-
cess at an early stage.
That idea apparently
struck a responsive chord
with legislators.
Rep. Tom Sawyer, D-Ohio,
and Rep. Thomas J. Ridge,
R-Pa., recently urged, in a
letter to outgoing Commerce
Secretary Robert
Mosbacher, that a new
committee be formed within
the Census Bureau to focus
on minority participation in
the next census.
"Minority community
organizations are uniquely
situated to do outreach for
the census, to explain the
importance of the census to
their communities," said
Mark Pe-lavin, the
AJCongress' Washington
representative. "It's time
now to start planning so this
will not be a problem in the
2000 census."

Religion Bill
Is Endangered

Jews are beginning to
understand the threat to re-
ligious liberties posed by the
1989 Supreme Court deci-
sion in the so-called peyote
case, according to Rabbi
Lynne Landsberg, associate
director of the Religious Ac-
tion Center of Reform
The Washington group
pushed hard during the con-
gressional recess for passage
of the Religious Freedom
Restoration Act.
Until the peyote decision,
any state that restricted or
outlawed a religious practice
had to prove a "compelling
state interest" to do so. The
High Court's decision revok-
ed that necessity; the re-
ligious freedom bill would
restore it.
"I was speaking recently
in Minneapolis, and before I
could get to the issues, two
people asked about the re-
ligious freedom bill," Rabbi
Landsberg said. "People are
hopping mad about the
The Religious Action
Center has been working
through local synagogues
and rabbis to generate a
grass roots surge for the bill.
Just before the winter
recess, Rep. Chris Smith, R-
N.J., introduced an alter-
native bill that would ex-
clude from an individual's
religious freedom the right
to have an abortion in many
instances. This bill is backed
by the Catholic authorities.

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