50 years later, JFK speech part of culture war

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum is far from alone in rebuking John F. Kennedy's 1960 religion speech.

Many Roman Catholic conservatives say Kennedy's landmark address pushed American politicians to separate their faith from policy making.

Kennedy's remarks to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association were meant to confront the anti-Catholic prejudice that was hurting his chance to become the first Catholic U.S. president. He pledged he would keep his religion private.

Santorum and other conservative Catholics now argue that Kennedy was surrendering to secularists to gain the presidency. These days, many liberal-leaning Catholic politicians cite the speech to explain why they support abortion rights.

Santorum is fighting for conservative voters in Tuesday's GOP primaries in Arizona and Michigan. He said Sunday he "almost threw up" when he first read the speech.


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