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Presidents and Religion

Updated on April 27, 2019
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JFK was the first candidate that I can remember where religion played a role and I learned the importance and hypocrisy of it.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy
John Fitzgerald Kennedy

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Irish Catholic

Growing up in a catholic household, it was a big thing to see a presidential candidate that was a Catholic and the Kennedy's were a well known Catholic family that worked to do things to help their community. To them, the perfect candidate.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy born to Joe and Ethel Kennedy, of Boston Massachusetts. JFK came from a strong Catholic background, his mother attended service sometimes twice a day.

When JFK decided to run for the Presidency of the United States, mainstream America was still very anti-catholic. It would be a difficult run, being Irish and Catholic as well.

During his college years at Harvard, JFK 's friends made fun of the fact that he was not exactly very Irish or very catholic. It wasn't so much that he wasn't either of them, because he was born Irish and its not something that goes away and he was still a catholic who believed in the doctrine of the catholic church. He was also a veteran of war that came back different than when he went in. The war had changed him.

The opposition, the Republican party hit hard on the fact that he was a catholic and so voters questioned his capability because they didn't understand it or him; that is until he gave his speech on religion. He spoke of his opponents using his religion against him to distract from the issues, but he allayed their fears when he gave them the real reason he was running for the Presidency of the United States.

He was running to fight hunger, ignorance and despair. He was running as an American, where the separation of church and state are absolute. An American, where and act against one church is treated as an act against all.

When he put a stop to the catholic rhetoric and people began to be see him as a candidate for the people on what he stood for and ran for, he showed Americans that he believed in keeping religion and government separate, the people were satisfied and the distractions of religion were laid to rest so that he could concentrate on the issues.

When religious affiliation was taken out of the equation, the American people turned to him as a candidate of "faith", not catholic, not protestant or any other religion and he was elected President of the United States.

John F. Kennedy: Speech on Religion

Barack Obama, praying
Barack Obama, praying

Did everyone forget about Rev. Wright?

When Barack Hussein Obama ran for the Presidency the Republican Party made waves about Obama calling him a Muslim. From his citizenship to his religion, they attempted to discredit him.

John Boehner questioned Obama's religion. Rev. Graham, a radical evangelical; made reference to his faith because of Obama's fathers faith, whom by the way he didn't even know growing up. Barack Obama was raised by his mother, an American and his maternal grandparents. The Fox network continued to report maliciously that he was a Muslim because of his middle name. Rush Limbaugh even asked him to prove his religion?

Most polls showed that Republicans believed that Barack Obama was Muslim. Then footage of Rev. Wright was found and the GOP thought it would be more damaging and divisive and continued to push it through social media, television and any source that would give them coverage.

Then, Obama was suddenly a member of a Christian church for 20 years, whose minister was the "radical" Rev. Wright. And the media ads calling him a Muslin ceased.

Pastors who prayed with Obama said he was a devout Christian. He mentioned the fact that he's a Christian in his book, The Audacity of Hope, and on the campaign trail.

It was Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell of Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston, who said it best. He said, "There is a fairly effective 24-hour a day noise box out there intentionally misrepresenting the faith of the president, and it's very unfortunate."

This became nothing more than another point of distraction. And once he was elected President of the United States, nothing was heard about Rev. Wright again. Proving that it was never about religion, it was never about facts or getting to the truth. Merely a ploy to play on the American voter.

Rev Jeremiah Wright- Chicken Have Come Home to Roost

Religion doesn't control politics like it use to

In 2016, Donald J. Trump ran for President, he had no history of religion and it was evident when he muffled through a prayer and erroneously read the verse and chapter that he didn't spend much time around a bible or reading scripture.

It was the religious right that for centuries played a pivotal part of America's elections. Pointing to the religion of the opponents or lack there of, but when Donald Trump ran for office, they quickly got behind him even though he was not a spiritual candidate. He attended a function and brought a bible that he said had been give to him by his mother. He opened the flap and showed writing in the bible, that he said his mother had written his name and address in it should it get lost. He said he held it very dear to him, but what was noticeable in that bible that he held up, was the fact that the spine was not broken and the pages were not tattered from being read. The look of a book that had sat on a shelf and never disturbed was what this bible looked like. His supporters ate it up. And because they were supporting a non-religious candidate, the opponents religion was not questioned.

Donald J. Trump changed the way the religious right conducts themselves in politics and may have forever changed their ability to ever question the religion of another candidate.

© 2010 Lady Liberty


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