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The Museum of Tolerance

August 29, 1985

The recent award of $5 million for the erection of a Museum of Tolerance has stirred a constitutional debate on the separation of church and state.

While the remembrance of Armenians has not been a subject of debate even though the Armenians have their own church, the remembrance of the Jewish Holocaust has been criticized.

Jews are not just a religious group; Jews are a recognized ethnic group, and thus any separation of Church and State does not apply. Hitler persecuted Jews not for the way they pray but for being born to Jewish mothers and Jewish ancestors.

Baptism, long used by some Jews to escape persecution, no longer helped; it was the Jewish blood that determined their fate. Many, perhaps the majority of Jews, now realize that being a Jew is like being black, or being Chicano or an Oriental, a heritage you cannot change.

If the fact that Jews were persecuted in the Holocaust for their ethnic heritage is stressed, the attempt to bring the grant for the museum to court will be negated.

WILLIAM BASCH

Long Beach

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