Friday, September 05, 2008

JFK & Jefferson's Wall of Separation

Forty-eight years ago next week, Massachusetts U.S. Senator and presidential candidate John F. Kennedy gave a famous address at The Rice Hotel in Houston. His audience was the Greater Houston Ministerial Association. The context of the speech was to clearly state his views on the separation of church and state; a topic because of the fears of many that a Roman Catholic president would follow the dictates of the Pope rather than the Constitution of the United States.

In that address, made on September 12, 1960, President Kennedy stated:
"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."
How far we have fallen in the intervening 48 years. We have a president who has torn down huge sections of Thomas Jefferson's "Wall of Separation"; the party of Abraham Lincoln largely taken over by theocratic Christian extremists; and that party's presidential candidate flip-flopping to pander to the shamans of the so-called "Religious Right".

Americans need to finally say that enough is enough! We will not allow the Reconstructionists and Dominionist theocrats to destroy the great republic from within. One need not be an atheist or agnostic to see the danger of the direction these people wish to take the United States. They pose a danger to the Constitutional right of freedom of religion for all Americans. Religion is a personal matter, and the government should neither support any religion, nor govern by the dictates of any sect.

CLICK HERE to listen to this famous address by the future President.