"...I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end"
Posted by Heather Hurlburt
A couple months ago, I corresponded with NSN's Advisory Board member Ted Sorensen about whether he'd be interested in writing a piece comparing the towering speech on religion JFK made during the 1960 campaign, to counter anti-Catholic bigotry, with the state American Muslims find themselves in today. Sorensen pointed out to me that the 50th anniversary of the speech passed on September 12. But I failed to follow up, and now it is too late. So in tribute I will post the chunk of that speech I think of when I read assertions that Muslims are unfit to serve in Congress, inherently frighteneing, not adherents of a real religion, etc etc.
For while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed, in other years it has been -- and may someday be again -- a Jew, or a Quaker, or a Unitarian, or a Baptist. It was Virginia's harassment of Baptist preachers, for example, that led to Jefferson's statute of religious freedom. Today, I may be the victim, but tomorrow it may be you -- until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped apart at a time of great national peril.
Finally, I 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 to 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 the pastoral levels, 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.