On Sept. 12, 1960, presidential candidate John F. Kennedy in a major speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association said the following:
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.
Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin, who has banned Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I. from receiving holy communion due to his views on abortion, appeared on Chris Matthews’ Hardball tonight.
Using some of John Kennedy’s famous words as a preamble, Matthews engaged the Bishop in a debate on the separation of church and state, on abortion, and on what role religious leaders should have, if any, in writing law—and on setting punishment for breaking such law.
You watch it, you be the judge.
Image: Courtesy insidegov.org
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.