Advertisement

Secular Icon or Catholic Hero?: Religion and the Presidency of John F. Kennedy

  • Thomas J. Carty
Part of the The Evolving American Presidency Series book series (EAP)

Abstract

My grandfather James B. Murphy sponsored John F. Kennedy’s admission into the second and third degrees of the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal organization. As a Catholic who attended daily mass, Mr. Murphy seemed proud that Kennedy’s victory against anti-Catholic prejudice proved that his grandson might achieve the nation’s highest office. He kept a picture of himself with Kennedy in his office. Steven J. Danenberg, the headmaster of the Williams School, a private (independent) day school that I attended in the 1980s, also held Kennedy in high esteem, but for a completely different reason. As an agnostic and a humanist, Mr. Danenberg had two heroes, Captain James T. Kirk (of the television program Star Trek) and John Kennedy, who symbolized for him a secular faith in science and progress. Having spent two years in Venezuela as a Peace Corps volunteer, he viewed Kennedy’s call to public service as an inspiration for educators ambitious to inspire critical thought and intellectual curiosity in young people.

Keywords

Education Bill Catholic School Embryonic Stem Cell Research Electoral College Electoral Vote 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    Stephen G. Rabe, The Most Dangerous Area in the World: John F. Kennedy Confronts Communist Revolution in Latin America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999), 3.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Robert Dallek, An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917–1963 (New York: Little, Brown, 2003), 700.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    James MacGregor Burns, John Kennedy: A Political Profile (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1960), 85–86.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Richard N. Goodwin, Remembering America: A Voice from the Sixties (Boston: Little, Brown, 1988), 110.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Lawrence H. Fuchs, John Kennedy and American Catholicism (New York: Meredith Press, 1967), 207.Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    Thomas Carty, A Catholic in the White House? Religion, Politics, and John Kennedy’s Presidential Campaign (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), 4.Google Scholar
  7. 9.
    Thomas Maier, The Kennedys: America’s Emerald Kings: A Five-Generation History of the Ultimate Irish Catholic Family (New York: Basic Books, 2003), 319.Google Scholar
  8. 13.
    Charles Morris, American Catholic: The Saints and Sinners Who Built America’s Most Powerful Church (New York: Vintage Books, 1997), 319.Google Scholar
  9. 14.
    Mark Massa, Anti-Catholicism in America: The Last Acceptable Prejudice (New York: Crossroad, 2003), 84, 85.Google Scholar
  10. 15.
    Richard John Neuhaus, Naked Public Square: Religion and Democracy in America (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1984).Google Scholar
  11. 23.
    James A. Michener, Report of the County Chairman (New York: Bantam Books, 1961), 108.Google Scholar
  12. 25.
    Alfred E. Smith, Up to Now: An Autobiography (New York: Viking Press, 1929), 413–414.Google Scholar
  13. 30.
    Jay P. Dolan, The American Catholic Experience: A History from Colonial Times to the Present (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1985), 421–422.Google Scholar
  14. 34.
    David Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest (New York: Random House, 1972).Google Scholar
  15. 52.
    Walter LaFeber, America, Russia, and the Cold War, 1945–1984, 5th ed. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1984), 227.Google Scholar
  16. 54.
    Andrew M. Greeley, The Catholic Experience: An Interpretation of The History of American Catholicism (Garden City: Image Books, 1969), 280–297.Google Scholar
  17. 55.
    Noel D. Cary, The Path to Christian Democracy: German Catholics and the Party System from Windthorst to Adenauer (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996), 3.Google Scholar
  18. 56.
    W. J. Rorabaugh, Kennedy and the Promise of the Sixties (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 42.Google Scholar
  19. Patrick Allitt, Catholic Intellectuals and Conservative Politics in America, 1950–1985 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1993).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Mark J. Rozell and Gleaves Whitney 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas J. Carty

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations