From the organizers’ site:
This is a blogswarm dedicated to the separation of church and state.
It is not a blogswarm against religion. Bloggers who believe in religion, and those who don’t, are equally welcome here. What we share is a common commitment to the First Amendment to the Constitution and its guarantee of church-state separation.
John F. Kennedy’s Speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association
The following is an excerpt from the speech Sen. Rick Santorum claimed made him want to throw up. A full transcript, plus a video of the delivery, can be found at the website of the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library and Museum.
I was a member of a Southern Baptist church in Miami through August of the 1960 presidential campaign, and was told from the pulpit that if J.F.K. were elected, the U.S. would be governed by the pope from The Vatican City.
That was the kind of religious prejudice and hostility toward Catholics that Kennedy addressed in his famous speech. I hope this sample will tempt you to read and also watch the video of the full speech. It’s only 11-12 minutes’ long.
As you read, remember the irony that this is the speech that made is possible for a Roman Catholic like Rick Santorum (or Newt Gingrich) to be accepted by Conservatives as a viable presidential candidate.
More important, consider what would happen if any candidate, for any party, were to make such a speech today.
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[B]ecause I am a Catholic, and no Catholic has ever been elected President, the real issues in this campaign have been obscured–perhaps deliberately, in some quarters less responsible than this. So it is apparently necessary for me to state once again–not what kind of church I believe in, for that should be important only to me–but what kind of America I believe in.
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.