Skip to comments.The Vocation of Christians in American Public Life
Posted on 02/29/2012 10:18:55 AM PST by jobim
...Fifty years ago this fall, in September 1960, Sen. John F. Kennedy, the Democratic candidate for president, spoke to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association. He had one purpose. He needed to convince 300 uneasy Protestant ministers, and the country at large, that a Catholic like himself could serve loyally as our nations chief executive. Kennedy convinced the country, if not the ministers, and went on to be elected. And his speech left a lasting mark on American politics. It was sincere, compelling, articulate and wrong. Not wrong about the patriotism of Catholics, but wrong about American history and very wrong about the role of religious faith in our nations life. And he wasnt merely wrong. His Houston remarks profoundly undermined the place not just of Catholics, but of all religious believers, in Americas public life and political conversation. Today, half a century later, were paying for the damage.
...the modern, drastic sense of the separation of Church and state had little force in American consciousness until Justice Hugo Black excavated it from a private letter President Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1802 to the Danbury Baptist Association.4 Justice Black then used Jeffersons phrase in the Supreme Courts Everson v. Board of Education decision in 1947.
...But what Kennedy actually did, according to Jesuit scholar Mark Massa, was something quite alien and new. He secularize[d] the American presidency in order to win it. In other words, [P]recisely because Kennedy was not an adherent of that mainstream Protestant religiosity that had created and buttressed the plausibility structures of [American] political culture at least since Lincoln, he had to privatize presidential religious belief including and especially his own in order to win that office.
(Excerpt) Read more at archden.org ...
It was a GREAT speech.
The best line was about how a US citizen should not become ineligble to be President the day he is baptized.
JFK’s was the election that destroyed America.
However, if there is one man who can take the most credit for the 1965 act, it is John F. Kennedy. Kennedy seems to have inherited the resentment his father Joseph felt as an outsider in Bostons WASP aristocracy. He voted against the McCarran-Walter Act of 1952, and supported various refugee acts throughout the 1950s. In 1958 he wrote a book, A Nation of Immigrants, which attacked the quota system as illogical and without purpose, and the book served as Kennedys blueprint for immigration reform after he became president in 1960. In the summer of 1963, Kennedy sent Congress a proposal calling for the elimination of the national origins quota system. He wanted immigrants admitted on the basis of family reunification and needed skills, without regard to national origin. After his assassination in November, his brother Robert took up the cause of immigration reform, calling it JFKs legacy. In the forward to a revised edition of A Nation of Immigrants, issued in 1964 to gain support for the new law, he wrote, I know of no cause which President Kennedy championed more warmly than the improvement of our immigration policies. Sold as a memorial to JFK, there was very little opposition to what became known as the Immigration Act of 1965.
I bravely fought the concept in class and asked about qualifications etc....and I spent a week in detention.
When I told my mom and dad, mom left the room and dad filled me in on John "A" and Joe the runner...I never did vote for him or any other Kennedy.
and much more tactfully put than “made me vomit.”
I believe there are 7 Catholics on the USSC.
We got some of that, too, with an odd difference. Most of the nuns were violently proKennedy, while nearly all the brothers and priests were against him (but not necessarily proNixon). Not that it mattered to us kids because our parents were staunch Taft/Joe McCarthyites.
The real irony of all this, tho, is that JFK wasn’t about to let ANY or NO religion intrude on his behavior.
Detention in college?
To this day what JFK did to the fighters at the Bay of Pigs invasion is hidden from the public..
It was his WAR conceived financed trained and made possible by JFK...
He left them high and dry like a craven coward..
As the “press” covers Obama’s deeds they are to this day covering JFK for this..
PeeWee Herman would have been a better President..
No...It was my senior year in high school.
Yes, Santorum was right. It basically set the stage for a lot of clergy to say that religion no longer should have a voice in public policy and a lot of denominations denigrated anybody wanting to run for office as evil. Boy has that ever worked out! We have reaped the whirlwind on that already!
To prevent duplication, please do not alter the published title. thanks.
The lobbying was a waste of breath since you, or your classmates, couldn’t have voted for JFK in 1960. Until July of 1971 you had to be 21 to vote.
“The Vocation of Christians in American Public Life”
The above is the “TRUE” title of the article.
would you at least be honest and allow the reader to come to their own conclusion upon reading this article.
Jeesh! I’m Catholic and I am sick and tired of these deceptive post titles.
America's founding, its growth and its great successes are a direct result of the Christian principles that were strong in American culture and government for so long. America's founders all understood that the values inherent in Christianity were necessary for the country to survive and flourish.
Justice Black was a lifelong KKK member, a New Deal Democrat and the man responsible for LBJ getting away with massive voter fraud in the 1948 senatorial election.
Justice Black's opinion on separation of church and state was recognized as incorrect by most learned people at the time it was issued. However, today the issue has become so confused that it has become impossible to discuss intelligently.
Santorum was correct in his assessment. The points Santorum made have been distorted and sensationalized to make him look bad. But an honest evaluation of his analysis shows that he was amazingly accurate and perceptive.
I agree with you that accurate titles be used. I took liberty in this instance because I anticipated many skipping over it, and I wanted it to be identified as pertaining to Kennedy’s speech, and the brouhaha over Santorum’s, Ginrich’s, and Pruden’s remarks. I stand by the title change because I am hoping it gets read; the real title would find a much smaller audience.
This is a wonderful article and at the bottom there is a link to a rebutal that he made to a critic which is also very well written. I’m also going to look up the other articles that he referenced. Santorun was right in princi
ple but imprudent in expressing it.
All faiths need to unite against this government’s onslaught.
A house divided...
We were used....driven to a rally....to take up space...To me, he wasn’t handsome....and that Boston accent......when you’re s New Yorker, Boston is not impressive. Really angry that we were FORCED to participate.