Bigotry is “An American Problem”

In 1921, at a time of widespread, virulent defamation of Jews, John Webster Spargo, a lay Methodist minister, social critic and activist, said “It should not be left to men and women of the Jewish faith to fight this evil … Anti-Semitism commands our special attention today … but my plea is not for pro-Semitism.” Rather, he opposed efforts to “divide our citizenship on religious lines.” He did so out of “loyalty to American ideals.” In a lecture later that year, Spargo called religious hatred “American treason.” In his eyes, the “Jews’ problem” was actually an American problem.

“Religious Hatred is American Treason,” published on March 15 by Huffington Post, highlights a previous period in U.S. history when members of one faith community spoke up for others who were under attack. The author, CBB board member Rabbi Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer, directs Multifaith Studies and Initiatives at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and sits on the steering committee for “Shoulder-to-Shoulder: Standing with American Muslims, Standing for American Values.”

The multi-faith “Shoulder-to-Shoulder” coalition, which includes several CBB advisors, stood together last week issuing a joint Statement Against Extremism of All Kinds. CBB continues to work with this coalition and other religious leaders seeking faith-based responses to the attacks on Muslims/Islam and others. Please share your news and thoughts.

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