IFAS | Freedom Writer | August 1996 | guide.html

A CTIVIST G UIDE
Tips from Morton Metersky

By Morton Metersky

Join with religious leaders to form a broad based coalition of synagogues and churches. The synagogue at which I am the vice president for community affairs started a committee to address the threat of political religious extremists whose major players in our area are the Christian Coalition and Citizens for Excellence in Education. We then took the initiative to form a local coalition of synagogues and churches.

Our coalition established a three-pronged approach. These, as well as other steps, should be instituted at the grassroots level across the county in churches, synagogues, temples, and fellowships.

The following are the "Ten Commandments of Action" taken from a memorandum by Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, Director, Commission on Social Action, with some amendments.

I'm sure you can come up with other ideas. Don't be afraid to try something. You never know when it might work. If fundamentalists get on the school board, another weapon you can use is a recall vote. In Vista, California, stealth candidates took over the school board. They initiated the teaching of creationism, eliminated sex education and banned books, among other things. The community arose in protest and recalled all the fundamentalist and elected new people to the school board.

The Reform Movement, through the Religious Action Center, helped found the Coalition to Preserve Religious Liberty. It is a broad coalition of religious groups working together to ensure that our religious freedoms are not trampled by political and religious extremists. You are not alone.

You can get information on getting organized from all the following: People for the American Way, 800-326-PFAW; The Interfaith Alliance, 202-639-6370; the Religious Action Center, 202-387-2800; and the Institute for First Amendment Studies, 413-528-3800.

© 1998 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.