The controversy over the proposed Nazi march in Illinois this weekend has prompted top leaders of the religious establishment in Washington to proclaim this weekend, June 23 to 25, as a time for renewed emphasis in congregations here on the religious basis for equality and brotherhood.
Top regional officers of seven Protestant denominations, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese and the Jewish Community Council signed the proclamation condemning "advocates of group hatred and violence."
The proclamation, drawn up before a U.S. District Court decision opened the way to changing the site of the Nazi march from Skokie to a south Chicago park, called for "a renewed commitment to those beliefs which the Nazis would again seek to destroy."
The statement urged that this weekend, the people gathered in the churches and synagogues of our community devote their thoughts and prayers to this central teaching of all our religious traditions, namely, because we are created in God's image, no human being may be violated.
" . . . In the face of those who would deny the common bonds that unite us, let us affirm this teaching and work for justice, dignity and equality for all people," the proclamation concludes.
The Washington Board of Rabbis, which includes leaders from all traditions of Judiasm, received the proclamation "with appreciation and subscribe to it fully," said Rabbi Joshua Haberman of Washington Hebrew Congregation, secretary of the board.
Rabbi Haberman said the rabbis, at their meeting Monday, discussed the Skokie controversy but decided against adopting a formal resolution on it.
"We feel much too much attention has been focused on (the Nazi protest) already," said the rabbi. In their discussion, he said the Washington area rabbis "desplore the sensationalism" that he said has been associated with the Skokie controversy.
"We do not believe there is a clear and present danger of the Nazi movement arising in the United States," said Haberman, who fled his native Berlin before World War II to escape the depradations against the Jews perpetrated by German Nazis under Hitler. "I don't see at this time any of the conditions that gave us the Nazis in Germany."