Thursday, May 3, 2012

We had a Catholic President, Really?

“We had a Catholic President, Really?” by John Alexander Madison April 29, 2012 George Washington was an Episcopalian. Thomas Jefferson was a Unitarian. Abraham Lincoln’s religious beliefs were a bit of a mystery. Franklyn Delano Roosevelt was an Episcopalian. Harry S Truman was a Baptist. Dwight Eisenhower was a Presbyterian. John F. Kennedy was a Catholic. Lyndon Johnson was a member of the Disciples of Christ. Richard Nixon was a Quaker. Gerald R. Ford was an Episcopalian. Jimmy Carter is a Baptist. Ronald Reagan was a Presbyterian. William Jefferson Clinton is a Southern Baptist. George H.W. Bush is an Episcopalian. George W. Bush is a Methodist. Barry Soetero says he is…well, never mind.

At this point we may want to ask ourselves:
• “Were these Presidents qualified for that office?” (answers may vary)
• “Has their record in office distinguished them as one of our best Presidents ever?” (answers may vary)
• “Are you aware if any of them used their religious beliefs to push an agenda contrary to what would have been considered in the best interests of our country?” The bottom line is does it really matter what a President’s religious affiliation is? If your answer is “yes” I then ask “why?”

An historical review of U.S. President religious affiliations reveals the following: Episcopalian (11); Presbyterian (9); Methodist (5) Baptist (4); Unitarian (4); Disciples of Christ (3); Dutch Reformed (2); Congregationalist (2); Catholic (1); Quaker (1); Jehovah’s Witness (1).

If you’re asking “We had a Catholic President, really?” The answer is “yes, yes we did.” In 1960, there was a heated (rabid) debate which included very strong objections to electing a Catholic President because a person with that religious perspective would, in all probability, destroy our nation. In retrospect those fears, when expressed, were in the very least disingenuous and certainly illogical. But those fears and objections were widespread, nonetheless. Check the history books or Google some news reports from the summer of 1960. To me this argument was a weak one, especially when considering the history of this nation and the strong Christian views of our Founding Fathers.

Do we want another Catholic President, or another Episcopalian President, or a Dutch Reformed President, or one of another religious affiliation? Well, I cannot answer that for you. But I suggest that if we really care about the future of this country, and if we really care about the future for our children and our grandchildren, we should pause to remember that the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth. And there is very good reason for that.

Our Founding Fathers, in spite of what revisionist historians might suggest, had strong values, based on their religious beliefs and they intentionally created “one nation, under God.” Those values have endured for more than two centuries and must continue to endure in order to ensure the survival or our nation as we’ve known it. Let’s not forget that.

Do we want a President whose core values and the way they have lived their lives and their proposed solutions to the problems we face as a nation to be our focus in choosing our nation’s next leader? Of course we do. It seems, regardless of one’s religious affiliation, that throughout our history we have selected a leader based on his the person we felt was best prepared to carry forward and sustain the values and principles of our Founding Fathers.

You have been forewarned. Considering one’s religious affiliation when selecting the President of the United States is a distraction and it is not relevant. Quite simply, we need to review every candidate’s leadership qualifications for this high office and their vision, especially in contrast to their opponent. It’s that simple. Where is JFK when we need him?

Adolf Hitler was a Christian. Need I say more?

EPILOGUE: Sarah Palin (Assemblies of God); Rick Perry (Methodist); Michelle Bachmann (Lutheran); Herman Cain (Baptist); Mitt Romney (Mormon); Ron Paul (Christian); Rick Santorum (Catholic); Newt Gingrich (Lutheran/Baptist).

In February 2010, Russell Shorto wrote: “The Christian “truth” about America’s founding has long been taught in Christian schools, but not beyond. Recently, however — perhaps out of ire at what they see as an aggressive, secular, liberal agenda in Washington and perhaps also because they sense an opening in the battle, a sudden weakness in the lines of the secularists — some activists decided that the time was right to try to reshape the history that children in public schools study. Succeeding at this would help them toward their ultimate goal of reshaping American society. As Cynthia Dunbar, another Christian activist on the Texas Board (of Education), put it, “The philosophy of the classroom in one generation will be the philosophy of the government in the next.”

That my friends should give us all pause. #102

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