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

By Shaun A. Casey | Go to book overview

7
A LION IN A DEN
OF DANIELS

Kennedy accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination on July 15 in Los Angeles, where he delivered the famous “New Frontier” speech. Six paragraphs into the speech, he highlighted the role of his faith:

I am fully aware of the fact that the Democratic Party, by nominat-
ing someone of my faith, has taken what many regard as a new and
hazardous risk—new, at least, since 1928. But look at it this way:
the Democratic Party has once again placed its confidence in the
American people, and in their ability to render a free, fair judg-
ment. And you have, at the same time, placed your confidence in
me, and in my ability to render a free, fair judgment—to uphold
the Constitution and my oath of office—and to reject any kind of
religious pressure or obligation that might directly or indirectly
interfere with my conduct of the Presidency in the national inter-
est. My record of fourteen years supporting public education—
supporting complete separation of church and state—and resisting
pressure from any source on any issue should be clear by now to
everyone.

I hope that no American, considering the really critical issues
facing this country, will waste his franchise by voting either for me
or against me solely on account of my religious affiliation. It is not
relevant, I want to stress, what some other political or religious leader
may have said on this subject. It is not relevant what abuses may have
existed in other countries or in other times. It is not relevant what
pressures, if any, might conceivably be brought to bear on me. I am
telling you now what you are entitled to know: that my decisions on

-151-

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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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