From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Friday, November 22, 2013

John F. Kennedy's 'Faith Speech'

(Kennedy aboard PT-109)
Way more important than the constant round of speculations about Kennedy's death are his answers to the prejudicial speculations about his religion.

While running for the 1960 presidency, Kennedy brilliantly addressed these
prejudices within his speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association.

Although 1960 seems long ago to some, it might just as well have been yesterday according to the opening lines of this speech.  Kennedy began by mentioning critical issues that the United States was then facing:  "old people who cannot pay their doctor bills," "too many slums," "hungry children…"

Unfortunately, these issues sound all too familiar in 21st-century America, as do matters of religious persecution.  Kennedy was largely responding to the misconception that a Catholic president would have to be the Vatican's puppet, rather than an ardent upholder of the First Amendment.

The NPR transcript of Kennedy's words reveals that he met such misconceptions head-on:  I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute…  the kind I fought for in the South Pacific, and the kind my brother died for in Europe.  No one suggested then that we may have a 'divided loyalty'…  this is kind of America for which our forefathers died…  for side by side with
Bowie and Crockett died McCafferty and Bailey and Carey.  But no one knows whether they were Catholic or not, for there was no religious test at the Alamo.  


Copyright November 22, 2013 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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