Positive Atheism’s Big List of

John F Kennedy

Quotations

regarding the Separation of Religion from Government

.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963)United States Flag

The 35th President of the United States (1961-1963)

John F. KennedyWhatever one's religion in his private life may be, for the officeholder, nothing takes precedence over his oath to uphold the Constitution and all its parts -- including the First Amendment and the strict separation of church and state.
-- John F Kennedy, Interview, Look, March 3, 1959, from Albert J Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

If my church attempted to influence me in a way which was improper or which affected adversely my responsibilities as a public servant sworn to uphold the Constitution, then I would reply to them that this was an improper action on their part. It was one to which I could not subscribe.

-- John F Kennedy, press conference, Houston, Texas, September 12, 1960, from Albert J Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

We do not want an official state church. If ninety-nine percent of the population were Catholics, I would still be opposed to it. I do not want civil power combined with religious power. I want to make it clear that I am committed as a matter of deep personal conviction to separation.

-- John F Kennedy, Interview, CBS-TV, "Face the Nation," October 30, 1960, from Albert J Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

I do not speak for my church on public matters; and the church does not speak for me.

-- John F Kennedy, address to the Ministerial Association of Greater Houston, September 12, 1960, quoted from, “The Catholic Conundrum,” Time Magazine, (July 2, 2007) page 59

I am flatly opposed to appointment of an ambassador to the Vatican. Whatever advantages it might have in Rome -- and I'm not convinced of these -- they would be more than offset by the divisive effect at home.

-- John F Kennedy, Look, March 3, 1959, from Albert J Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

Jack Kennedy as a boyIt is my firm belief that there should be separation of church and state as we understand it in the United States -- that is, that both church and state should be free to operate, without interference from each other in their respective areas of jurisdiction. We live in a liberal, democratic society which embraces wide varieties of belief and disbelief. There is no doubt in my mind that the pluralism which has developed under our Constitution, providing as it does a framework within which diverse opinions can exist side by side and by their interaction enrich the whole, is the most ideal system yet devised by man. I cannot conceive of a set of circumstances which would lead me to a different conclusion.

-- John F Kennedy, letter to Glenn L Archer, February 23, 1959, from Albert J Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

Voters are more than Catholics, Protestants or Jews. They make up their minds for many diverse reasons, good and bad. To submit the candidates to a religious test is unfair enough -- to apply it to the voters is divisive, degrading and wholly unwarranted.

-- John F Kennedy, address to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 21, 1960, from Albert J Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

I believe the American people are more concerned with a man's views and abilities than with the church to which he belongs. I believe the founding fathers meant it when they provided in Article VI of the Constitution that there should be no religious test for public office. And I believe that the American people mean to adhere to those principles today.

-- John F Kennedy, address to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 21, 1960, from Albert J Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

[Excerpt]:

I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end ... where every man has the same right to attend or not attend the church of his choice.

-- John F Kennedy, address to the Ministerial Association of Greater Houston, September 12, 1960, from Albert J Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

[Passage]:

Jack Kennedy as a teenI believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end -- where all men and all churches are treated as equals -- 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.

-- John F Kennedy, address to the Ministerial Association of Greater Houston, September 12, 1960, from Albert J Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

I would not look with favor upon a President working to subvert the First Amendment's guarantees of religious liberty ... Neither do I look with favor upon those who would work to subvert Article VI of the Constitution by requiring a religious test -- even by indirection.

-- John F Kennedy, address to the Ministerial Association of Greater Houston, September 12, 1960, from Albert J Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

... the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy.

-- John F. Kennedy, address before the American Newspaper Publishers Association, Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York City, April 27, 1961

[Excerpt]:

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.

-- John F Kennedy, address to the Ministerial Association of Greater Houston, September 12, 1960

John F Kennedy[Passage]:

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.

-- John F Kennedy, address to the Ministerial Association of Greater Houston, September 12, 1960, from Albert J Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived and dishonest -- but the myth -- persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.

-- John F Kennedy, quoted from Marty Klein, "The Sex Lies of the Religious Right," Playboy (January,1996), also, Critical Thinker (March, 1998)

We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasent facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.

-- John F Kennedy, on the 20th anniversary of the Voice of America (February 26, 1962), quoted from Floyd College, Rome, Georgia, "Banned Books -- Quotes"

And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man's reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable - and we believe they can do it again.

-- John F Kennedy (attributed: source unknown)

Short Graphic Rule

Sister: Less Convinced than most

"[He was] casual about religious rituals and observnces ... a little less convinced about some things than the rest of us."

-- Time Magazine, teaser below title of “The Catholic Conundrum,” Time Magazine, (July 2, 2007) page 56

Time: Kennedy’s Campaign a Master Class

"Kennedy’s 1960 campaign was a master class in how a candidate of any faith should address questions about religious faith."

-- Time Magazine, teaser below title of “The Catholic Conundrum,” Time Magazine, (July 2, 2007) page 56

Menendez: Kennedy Revitalized Pluralism

"The significance of the Kennedy Presidency as far as cultural pluralism is concerned is that it reaffirmed and revitalized the pluralist impulse and led to major accommodations between religious groups. JFK was a free man. By being free, he freed many Catholics and Protestants from the debilitating recriminations of the past."

-- Albert J Menendez, John F Kennedy: Catholic and Humanist, 1979, p. 62, from Albert J Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

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Grab some quotes to embellish your web site,

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or to add force to your Letters to the Editor.

Use them to introduce the chapters of a book or

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it's  someone's life's work, a hedge against old age.

The Subtle Fulmination of the Encircled Sea

Please Feel Free
to Grab a Quote
(or Maybe Three)

Grab some quotes to embellish your web site,
to use as filler for your group's newsletter,
or to add force to your Letters to the Editor.

Use them to introduce the chapters of a book or
accent the index or margins of a special project.

Poster your wall!    Graffiti your (own) fence.
Sticker your car!!
Poster your wall.    Graffiti your (own) fence!!!

That's what this list is for!
That's why I made it!

In using this resource, however, keep in mind that
it's someone's life's work, a hedge against old age.

If you decide to build your own online
collection, then find some new material!
Dig up quips that haven't yet been posted!

 

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Biographical sketches, source citations, notes, critical editing, layout, and HTML formatting are copyright ©1995–2008, by Cliff Walker, except where noted.

 
 

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