The rise of extremism in some elements of American life--including episodes of anti-Semitism and the growing impact of the radical right--represents a clear and present danger to the tradition of American pluralism and a distortion of religious precepts in political life. The Reform Jewish movement has always had a commitment to the ethical values of Judaism and their relevance to contemporary society. This prophetic mandate assumes new urgency today because of the rise of extremism, both theological and political.
We see these developments as a threat to the fabric of American life, to a democratic society, to Jewish values, and to the security of American Jewry. The great strength of America lies in its pluralistic nature with its respect for diversity of viewpoints, whether liberal or conservative, Christian, Jewish, or any other.
THEREFORE, THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLVES:
- To give high priority to a program of Religious Action to strengthen human rights and human dignity, thus serving not only a prophetic mission but equally our own interests, for we Jews have a profound stake in maintaining an open, tolerant, and compassionate society;
- To reach out to religious (Jewish and non-Jewish), civic and minority groups to form coalitions that will advance our mutual concerns;
- To urge our congregations to advance these goals through the strengthening of existing Religious Action Committees or by establishing such vital entities where none exist. We encourage all congregations to take advantage of the resources of our Washington Religious Action Center and urge individual congregations to keep informed of developing issues by subscribing to the CHAI/IMPACT information system;
- To establish a joint task force of the Commission on Social Action and the Commission on Synagogue Administration that will provide guidance and assistance to those congregations that experience incidents of violence and vandalism, and to provide guidance on preventive measures to all of our congregations; and
- In view of the activities of the Electronic Church and numerous right-wing extremist talk shows, to establish a committee to study the feasibility of producing television and radio programming designed to respond to, educate about, and present a fair hearing on the issues of concern set forth herein. The Study Committee shall make interim reports and its final report to the Board of Trustees for action as deemed practicable by it.