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Press ReleaseChristian-Jewish Relations
RULE
MARTIN LUTHER'S ANTI-JEWISH WRITINGS:
ITS USE BY ANTI-SEMITES AND REJECTION BY LUTHERAN'S EXPLORED IN ADL PUBLICATION

New York, NY, April 20, 1995...The impact of Martin Luther's anti-Jewish writings, the persistence of anti-Jewish ideas in Christian theology and the efforts of the Lutheran Church to fight the scourge of anti-Semitism and racism are explored in the new issue of Interfaith Focus, a magazine published by the Anti-Defamation League.

"We have devoted the issue to "Luther, Lutheranism and the Jews" to commemorate the first anniversary of the repudiation by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) of the use of Luther's anti-Jewish diatribes by present-day anti-Semites," said Rabbi Leon Klenicki, ADL Director of Interfaith Affairs.

The publication includes a dialogue between Rabbi Klenicki and Dr. Franklin Sherman, Director of the Institute for Jewish - Christian Understanding at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA, in which Rabbi Klenicki points out that Christian texts can be used to incite anti-Semitism and the hatred of Jewish people. Dr. Sherman says he has learned that reprints of Luther's hateful words are being exported to Germany from the United States where they are used by neo-Nazi groups. He says the ELCA declaration speaks of "our urgent desire to live out our faith in Jesus Christ with love and respect for the Jewish people."

The magazine includes the complete text of "The Declaration of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to the Jewish Community," which recognizes anti-Semitism as "a contradiction and an affront to the Gospel, a violation of our hope and calling." The document pledges "this church to oppose the deadly working of such bigotry, both within our own circles and in the society around us."

Another article, "With Love and Respect for the Jewish People," by the Rev. Richard E. Koenig, a Lutheran pastor and editor of several magazines for Lutheran clergy and other professional church workers, provides background information leading to the ELCA declaration. Rev. Koenig was involved in the preparation of the document.

The ADL magazine is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Harold H. Ditmanson (1920-1988), professor of religion for many years at St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN, and a prime mover of Christian-Jewish dialogue, especially Lutheran-Jewish dialogue in the U.S. and internationally.

Editors Note: Copies of the magazine are available from the ADL Public Relations Department.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.



 
 
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1995 Anti-Defamation League