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
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.