Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Archbishop Chaput: JFK Speech Distancing Religious Views from Public Life "Sincere, Compelling, Articulate – and Wrong"

Fr. Z has the details:
... Recounting the historical context that led to the current state of affairs, Archbishop Chaput referred to a speech that the late John F. Kennedy made while running for president in 1960 which greatly effected the modern relationship between religion and American politics. At his speech almost fifty years ago, President Kennedy had the arduous task of convincing 300 uneasy Protestant ministers in a Houston address that his Catholic faith would not impede his ability to lead the country. Successful in his attempt, “Kennedy convinced the country, if not the ministers, and went on to be elected,” he recalled.

“And his speech left a lasting mark on American politics,” the prelate added.

“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 nation’s life.”

“And he wasn’t merely ‘wrong,’” the archbishop continued. “His Houston remarks profoundly undermined the place not just of Catholics, but of all religious believers, in America’s public life and political conversation. Today, half a century later, we’re paying for the damage.”
(Hat tip: Fr. Finigan)

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