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Sun May 10, 2015, 02:39 PM

 

JFK on the role of religion in politics

(because this is from a speech by a candidate running for office, I think copyright rules wouldn't apply)

I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference; and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.

I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials; and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.

For while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed, in other years it has been, and may someday be again, a Jew— or a Quaker or a Unitarian or a Baptist. It was Virginia's harassment of Baptist preachers, for example, that helped lead to Jefferson's statute of religious freedom. Today I may be the victim, but tomorrow it may be you — until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped at a time of great national peril.

Finally, I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end; where all men and all churches are treated as equal; where every man has the same right to attend or not attend the church of his choice; where there is no Catholic vote, no anti-Catholic vote, no bloc voting of any kind; and where Catholics, Protestants and Jews, at both the lay and pastoral level, will refrain from those attitudes of disdain and division which have so often marred their works in the past, and promote instead the American ideal of brotherhood.

That is the kind of America in which I believe. And it represents the kind of presidency in which I believe — a great office that must neither be humbled by making it the instrument of any one religious group, nor tarnished by arbitrarily withholding its occupancy from the members of any one religious group. I believe in a president whose religious views are his own private affair, neither imposed by him upon the nation, or imposed by the nation upon him as a condition to holding that office.

*****

Since JFK believed in faith as a "private matter," can we agree that cheap jibes at someone's belief in a "sky god" or mocking cartoons of someone else's prophet is not something to be celebrated or encouraged among a community dedicated to inclusiveness, tolerance, and diversity.

15 replies, 1255 views

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Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 15 replies Author Time Post
Reply JFK on the role of religion in politics (Original post)
Damansarajaya May 2015 OP
MANative May 2015 #1
PeaceNikki May 2015 #2
Damansarajaya May 2015 #5
MANative May 2015 #8
Damansarajaya May 2015 #9
MANative May 2015 #11
Damansarajaya May 2015 #14
beam me up scottie May 2015 #10
Initech May 2015 #13
Bluenorthwest May 2015 #3
Major Nikon May 2015 #4
Damansarajaya May 2015 #6
Major Nikon May 2015 #7
wyldwolf May 2015 #12
freshwest May 2015 #15

Response to Damansarajaya (Original post)

Sun May 10, 2015, 03:14 PM

1. When they stop trying to shove religion down my/our throats, I'll happily stop...

my vocal opposition to it. Until then, my "mocking" is "free speech" in response to their "free speech." When it finally becomes "private" so will my thoughts on it.

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Response to MANative (Reply #1)

Sun May 10, 2015, 03:17 PM

2. This is what I've been saying as well.

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Response to MANative (Reply #1)

Sun May 10, 2015, 05:57 PM

5. Heh, who signed DOMA?

 

Talk about ramming religion down our throats . . .

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Response to Damansarajaya (Reply #5)

Sun May 10, 2015, 07:48 PM

8. And what does DOMA have to do with the price of beans at the grocery store?

I smell another agenda. Bye bye.

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Response to MANative (Reply #8)

Sun May 10, 2015, 08:09 PM

9. That's easier than dealing with it . . . nt

 

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Response to Damansarajaya (Reply #9)

Sun May 10, 2015, 08:22 PM

11. WTF is there to "deal with"?

They spew shit, I call them on it. DOMA is barely tangential to this discussion. Holy FSM.

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Response to MANative (Reply #11)

Mon May 11, 2015, 12:33 AM

14. DOMA had nothing to do with religious belief?

 

Wow, talk about shit spew . . .

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Response to MANative (Reply #1)

Sun May 10, 2015, 08:12 PM

10. Yep.

When their deeply held religious beliefs no longer affect anyone else I'll shut up.

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Response to MANative (Reply #1)

Sun May 10, 2015, 09:33 PM

13. Same here!

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Response to Damansarajaya (Original post)

Sun May 10, 2015, 04:08 PM

3. It is up to the religious to keep their religion private.

 

If the religious kept religion private, the rest of us would never bring it up.

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Response to Damansarajaya (Original post)

Sun May 10, 2015, 04:44 PM

4. Context:

JFK was the first Catholic President. During his election, rumors were being spread that he would be taking orders from the pope, since the RCC often tries to influence politics by threatening to deny holy communion. This speech is intended to assure his constituency that's not the case.

We live in a society where politicians are compelled to express belief in a "sky god" or they are simply unelectable. This is still true today and even more so in JFK's time.

Mocking religion itself rather than religious people has zip to do with tolerance. If ideas can't stand up to ridicule, perhaps they just weren't that solid to begin with.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #4)

Sun May 10, 2015, 06:00 PM

6. Why is this so important to you, Major Nikon?

 

Will we have lower unemployment, better education and universal healthcare if you succeed in convincing everyone that their God is dead?

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Response to Damansarajaya (Reply #6)

Sun May 10, 2015, 06:27 PM

7. Yes

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #4)

Sun May 10, 2015, 08:24 PM

12. I have to agree. Context matters

From his stance on religion to his famous speech about being a liberal, context matters.

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Response to Damansarajaya (Original post)

Mon May 11, 2015, 04:08 AM

15. Agree 100%. Great words from a good president. Thanks for the reminder. n/t

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