1933 August 29

A Rabbi, A Priest, and a Minister: “Tolerance Trio” Begins Nationwide Tour


In response to an “outbreak of intolerance abroad,” notably the Nazis coming to power in Germany and the rise of militaristic fascist groups in the U.S., the National Conference of Christians and Jews began a speaking tour of the U.S. on this day, featuring representatives of the three major faiths in the country. The Conference today is known as the National Conference for Community and Justice (see the website, below).

The rise of domestic Nazi groups raised the issue of whether the First Amendment protected hate speech. The ACLU considered the issue and, on April 30, 1934, adopted a policy holding that the First Amendment did protect the rights of all totalitarian groups, including both Nazi and Communist organizations. A national controversy erupted on October 4, 1976, when a small American Nazi group applied for a permit for a demonstration in the heavily Jewish community of Skokie, Illinois. The ACLU took their case in the face of efforts by the Village of Skokie to deny them a permit. On May 22, 1978, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the First Amendment rights of the Nazi group.

Go to the NCCJ website: http://www.nccj.org/

Learn more about hate speech: Samuel Walker, Hate Speech: The History of an American Controversy (1994)

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