John F. Kennedy Houston Ministerial Association Speech
(This speech was delivered September 12, 1960, at the Rice Hotel in Houston, Texas).
JFK was the first (& only) Catholic President. Issues relating to religion and politics have again become quite prominent. In addition, we have fairly recently elected the first president of another minority group (Barack Obama). So I thought it would be interesting to take a look at this important piece of American History.
Here is some background information about the speech:
On January 2, 1960, Kennedy initiated his campaign for President in the Democratic primary election.
To address fears that his being Catholic would impact his decision-making, he famously told the Greater Houston Ministerial Association on September 12, 1960, "I am not the Catholic candidate for President. I am the Democratic Party candidate for President who also happens to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my Church on public matters – and the Church does not speak for me."
Kennedy questioned rhetorically whether one-quarter of Americans were relegated to second-class citizenship just because they were Catholic, and once stated that, "No one asked me my religion [serving the Navy] in the South Pacific." (LINK)