The Making of a Catholic President: Kennedy vs. Nixon 1960

By Shaun A. Casey | Go to book overview

3
FIRST SKIRMISHES

In January 1960, a few days after the formal launch of Kennedy’s campaign, the Journalism Department at Columbia University sponsored its second annual conference on religious journalism. The staffs and supporters of three religious magazines—the Christian Century, Commonweal, and Commentary—were featured (it was quickly dubbed the Four Cs conference).1 Many Christianity and Crisis staff also attended. Kennedy’s candidacy was on the docket for discussion. After the conference, Christianity and Crisis managing editor Wayne Cowan wrote to Christian Century editor Harold Fey:

I found myself agreeing with your summary statement where you
pointed out the inevitability of problems being laid at the feet of
prejudice against Roman Catholics when, in fact, it may merely be
the result of honest efforts that choose not to support Kennedy on
other grounds entirely. I suspect the opposite will be true, too, in
terms of those Catholics who choose to support Kennedy for the best
of reasons.2

As the campaign got under way, Fey would retreat from this position and come to believe that Catholic bloc voting for Kennedy was a critical problem for Protestants. Cowan’s argument that not all Catholics were voting for Kennedy for sectarian reasons failed to convince him.

The Four Cs conference demonstrated that the intellectual world of these liberal journalists and theologians was small. They knew one another and were in contact often. They all rubbed shoulders in the

-52-

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The Making of a Catholic President: Kennedy vs. Nixon 1960
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents ix
  • 1- The Ghost of Al Smith 3
  • 2- The Lay of the Land 30
  • 3- First Skirmishes 52
  • 4- Preparing for Battle 81
  • 5- Mobilizing the Troops 101
  • 6- Guerrilla Warfare 123
  • 7- A Lion in a Den of Daniels 151
  • 8- The Endgame 177
  • Epilogue 200
  • Notes 207
  • Index 235
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