John F. Kennedy, his issue over his religious belief and the presidency
President John F. Kennedy on September 12, 1960 during his campaign for election gave a speech on the separation of church and state. (Kennedy, 1960) In his speech, he stated that there should be an absolute separation of church and state in order, to refute claims that he would use his office to further the views of the Catholic Church. However, the public misconstrued from the speech that he stood for a total separation of church and state. This essay will discuss the history of the reason for his speech, the man himself, the repercussions of the speech, and ...view middle of the document...
He also mentioned that he would not promote any such agenda that the measure of a good president is his ability to separate their own views and beliefs from their job to their country. This was a good move on his part to quell the arguments posed by his republican opponent Richard Nixon. Mr. Nixon used this tactic to distract the public from the real issues that needed to be addressed; issues such as the Cuban missile crisis, poverty in America and the need for affordable health care. These should have been the issues that were addressed and not the religion of a candidate.
Prior to this speech, Mr. Kennedy and his campaign manager felt it best to face the issues head on by organizing a community relations group to address the issues of his religion verses his campaign. Later Mr. Kennedy himself spoke out on this issue and others; quite possibly increasing his credibility to do his job without the worry of his faith interfering. Mr. Kennedy attempted to prove his intentions by referencing Thomas Jefferson’s letters to the Danbury Baptist association calling for a separation of church and state based on the harassment of the Baptist preachers in Virginia over religious freedom (Bathija, 2010).
During the debate the Americans United Leaders (AU) organized a series of questions for Mr. Kennedy that he answered to the much surprised satisfaction of the AU. The AU had some serious doubts about his abilities to perform his duties if elected president. His answers also provided the public with much needed reassurance- that if elected- Mr. Kennedy would not allow his religious beliefs to interfere with his duties as president.The AU’s role in the debate was crucial; due to the religious tensions of the time combined with the fears of the nation of war impending possibly from off U.S. shores. Historians believe that his speech and debate helped Mr. Kennedy win the election by...