On September 12, 1960, Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy, in an address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, effectively laid to rest the fears of some American Protestants and Jews that a Catholic president would "take orders from the Vatican." Senator Kennedy's Address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association ushered in a new era of Church-state relations in the United States and, critics argue, effectively removed religion from the public square. What do you think? Do you agree with JFK's thoughts on the separation of Church and state? Why or why not? Share Your Thoughts
Cannot Serve Two Masters - JFK=Wrong
- While Jesus said, "Give to God what belongs to God and give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar," that does not mean one gives in to the other. If you are Catholic, God comes first and should guide your life above all other influences. Some of what JFK said is correct, but the so-called "separation of church and state" is NOT absolute. Catholic parishioners MUST heed the values of their faith and MUST vote their conscience for the candidate who best represents those values. With respect to the USA, our guidance is the US Constitution founded by Judeo-Christian framers who believed that we must be free to worship and practice our faith, without imposition from our government. But we are also imperfect beings created by God and so must have a structure that protects us from those seeking to raise that power above what was originally intended. The Catholic faith is in line with these values and therefore valid for a Catholic candidate to profess and uphold, not dilute.
- Separation of church and state is not absolute, and I do want to know what my President's stand on Jesus is, and it will determine whether I vote for him or not. That is my right. I also do not think that the President should have to consult with religious leaders. But if he (the President) needs some spiritual advice or guidance get it. The President or any human being is responsible for their relationship with God, and should seek God rather than man.
- —Guest Krystal
- First and foremost, I want to disagree with the ''A BETRAYAL OF CHRIST BY JUDAS'' message, the scripture by our Lord Jesus Christ that says , and I quote, ''GIVE GOD WHAT BELONGS TO GOD and GIVE CAESAR WHAT BELONGS TO CAESAR'' is very clear, the man was definitely right!! let him rest in peace; politics belong to parliaments just as religion belong to churches, mosques, name it, let us not confuse the two; but respect their territories.
- —Guest Mmamu55
- I agree with JFK. He never stated that he will not be guided by his conscience, which is nurtured by his belief, anchored on faith. Any act of imposition of faith in the course of administering elective duties is discouraged. However, the further disillusionment of the people who have gone ahead to interpret the independence of faith from state affairs is a deviation from the submission of JFK. It is a call to the fruit of living conscience against imposition. If the world will understand the full import of this, there shall not be any room for religious extremism such as Al-Quaida, Boko Haram, etc. Let us be wise!!!
- —Guest TONY
How to Politicize Non-Politics
- As an Irish-Catholic from Massachusetts, let me first say that I am not a big Kennedy fan. And of course the Kennedys were not perfect Catholics. Netither am I. Neither is anyone else. But this speech was not a political speech, or about defending his Catholicism. It was defending his right to be Catholic. He wasn't telling God to stay home, he was stating that he would not be a figurehead for the Pope. It's interesting to me that he is almost the only President whose religion is commonly known. He was just stating that no one should have the right to tell him what to believe, and that he didn't have the right to tell anyone else what they should believe. God calls us to worship only Him. Why then do we want so much to idolize either a human individual, or a human institution. I cherish my Catholicism. That does not mean that I believe the human organization known as the Catholic Church is perfect. It is populated by imperfect people, just like you and me.
- —Guest Laurie
I Agree With JFK
- The only way America can work is for church and state to remain separate. Each person should choose for himself the religion that is best for him.
Well, Since You Asked
- God does not force us to accept religion, but I believe he wants us to accept the church he FOUNDED which is the Catholic church. But remember Jesus said, "render unto Ceasor the things that are Ceasor's and to GOD the things that are God's." This makes me agree with freedom of religion since I would not want to be forced into another Religion!
- —Guest patrick O'Lone
Of Course I Do
- Church & State must be separate. Look what happens when they become one and the same -- in Iran today, and in the Catholic Spain of the Inquisition during the Renaissance. Every wonder why Rome has a large Jewish population? Because it's one of the places Jews fleeing the Spanish Inquisition went. People who want more religion in the state invariably want THEIR religion, and would be terribly bothered if the state were co-opted by someone else's flavor.
- I thought we are supposed to be a country of religious freedom. Tell me, if you have to check your religious views at the door every time you engage in the political or public arena, how is this a land of the free? You can believe what you want as long as you keep it to yourself. Doesn't sound like freedom to me. Kennedy, like many others have sold us out. The founding fathers true meaning of separation of church and state was to limit government so it would not encroach upon religion. But misguided leaders over the years have turned the true meaning inside out. Now, we limit religious influence and grow larger government without God. Every nation in history that once had God, and then disposed of Him has perished from the earth. Yes, that's the truth. God help us.
Only God Can Judge
- I truly believe the President was saying we are all one in our choices of faith, this should not interfere with our ability to serve our country, only God can judge if he followed his faith in his beliefs.
- —Guest Henrietta
JFKennedy and the Catholic Church
- God must at all times be No. 1 in our lives. Any attempt to exclude Him from our personal or public lives—political, commercial or otherwise—has grave consequences. Any faithful Christian—and here I mean all Christians of whatever denomination—knows this very well. You cannot serve God and Mammon. Those are not Mary's words but Christ's words. You disregard His Omnipotent Sovereignty over His creation at your own peril. God have mercy on us all.
Agreed Then; Agree Now.
- I cherish my freedom to worship as I choose. I have no desire to return to a world where my religion was dictated by those who were able to gain the most power.
- —Guest Gayle Glownia
President for the Whole Country
- I totally agree you are the president for the whole country and not for certain religion.
- —Guest brezila
JFK President of the USA
- I do not see how any president could counter the Constitutional Separation of Church and State. I see no assertion, 50 years ago, of going pro-abortion when it wasn't even an issue then. We had a president, as Catholics, to cherish and honor. Even Ted Kennedy sent a confession of sins and ask for absolution to Pope Benedict XVI. He was absolved, and we should leave JFK rest in the arms of a merciful God.
- —Guest Frank A Mallek
- The Church should take care of its own problems and leave politics to the voters. In 1962 Catholics sure changed a lot of things the the older ones didn't like. Maybe they needed to ask for a vote.
- —Guest mdonahue
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