The following year, in 1928, the National Council of Christians and Jews was formed in response to prejudices evident in the unsuccessful presidential nomination of Catholic Al Smith. Founders of the organization included such prominent social activists as Jane Addams, and U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Charles Evans Hughes. The organization was dedicated to bringing diverse people together to address interfaith divisions.[1] Smith was the turning point, as the nation had begun to gradually lock its borders to immigrants, and restrict access to education among people of color, Catholics and Jews. The NCCJ, led by Everett Clinchy, became one of the largest, and most influential, promoters of acceptance between Protestants, Catholics, and Jews. [2]

The purpose of the conference was to “promote justice, unity, understanding and co-operation among Protestants, Catholics, and Jews, and to analyze, moderate and finally eliminate intergroup prejudices which disfigure and distort religious, business, social and political relations, with a view to the establishment of a social order on which the religious ideals of brotherhood and justice shall become the standards of human relationships.”[3] In theory, lay leadership of the NCCJ gave equal representation to Protestants, Catholics and Jews; however, Jewish and Catholics came to be under represented among the board and staff.[4]


[1] Rangel, Juan, interview by Geneva Blackmer. 2018. History of the NCCJ in Kansas City (December 18).

[2] Wechsler, Harold S. 2012. “MAKING A RELIGION OF INTERGROUP EDUCATION: THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF CHRISTIANS AND JEWS, 1927-1957.” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 47, no. 1: 3-40. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed August 24, 2018).

[3] Braybrooke, Marcus. Inter-Faith Organizations, 1893-1979: A Historical Directory. New York: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1980, pg. 110.

[4] Rouse, Ruth and Stephen Charles Neill. A History of the Ecumenical Movement: 1517-1948. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1954, pg. 420-421.