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Grant’s Grand Vision: Public Schools That Welcome All

Today is Presidents’ Day. On this day, we often recommend that you spend some time reading some of the great statements on church-state separation uttered by chief executives like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, or John F. Kennedy’s famous 1960 speech on religious liberty. Read more

Remembering JFK: An Advocate For Absolute Separation Of Church And State

On Friday the nation marked the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In the days leading up to the anniversary and over the weekend, newspapers, blogs and news sites ran scads of stories about JFK and what might have been. Read more

‘A Fundamental Principle’: HHS Secretary Sebelius Affirms Church-State Separation

Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, spoke on Friday to graduates of Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute – despite efforts to by ultra-conservatives to gag her.   Read more

Separation Obfuscation: Why Cardinal Dolan And Richard Land Are No John F. Kennedys

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York City was on “Face the Nation” yesterday and managed to pull off quite a feat. He said he agrees with President John F. Kennedy, who in 1960 gave a famous speech calling for “absolute” separation of church and state, and with former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, who says that same JFK speech made him want to “throw up.” Read more

Presidential Proclamations: Some Chief Executive Thoughts For The Holiday

Today is Presidents’ Day. Celebrate by reading some great presidential classics of religious liberty!

Start with George Washington’s letter to Touro Synagogue, one of the most succinct statements ever issued about religious liberty.

Of course, Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists, which contains the famous “wall of separation between church and state” metaphor, is always worth your time. Read more

Fundamentalist Forum: Religious Right To Grill Candidates On ‘Questions Of The Soul’

Tomorrow afternoon, most of the Republican presidential candidates will come together in Iowa for the latest in a seemingly endless series of debates as they try to prove to the electorate that they are qualified to be the leader of the United States.

Unlike previous debates, which have been sponsored primarily by news organizations, this one is a “forum” sponsored by an Iowa Religious Right group called The FAMiLY Leader, CitizenLink (an affiliate of the James Dobson-founded Focus on the Family) and the National Organization for Marriage. Read more

Slander From Santorum: Former Senator Once Again Proves That He’s No Jack Kennedy

We’ve criticized former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum on this blog before for his poor understanding of church-state separation.

Santorum believes President John F. Kennedy was wrong when, in a famous 1960 speech, Kennedy vowed to be the president of all people and make his policy decisions not on the basis of what his Roman Catholic faith demanded but on the grounds of what was good for the country. Read more

Palin’s Pabulum: Former Half-Term Alaska Governor Is No Jack Kennedy

Every now and then you read a smackdown that can only be called definitive.

I experienced one of those moments recently reading Kathleen Kennedy’s Townsend’s response to Sarah Palin’s recent observations about President John F. Kennedy’s views on religion and politics. Read more

Trash Talk: Opponents Of Church-State Separation Bash JFK’s Famous Speech

On Sunday I gave a talk here in Washington, D.C., to commemorate the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s famous speech in Houston endorsing church-state separation.

Kennedy used his Sept. 12, 1960, address to dispel fears that as president, he would elevate Roman Catholic dogma over the national interest. In eloquent language, he told an audience of Protestant clergy that he supported religious liberty and endorsed “absolute” separation of church and state. Read more

Absolute Separation: JFK’s Houston Speech Upheld True Spirit Of Liberty

This Sunday marks the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s famous speech in which he vowed to uphold the Constitution and keep church and state separate.

Before several hundred clergy of the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, then-Sen. Kennedy declared in a speech during the 1960 presidential race that he believed “in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute.” He affirmed religious liberty and insisted that no religious body should impose its beliefs on the “general populace or the public acts of its officials.” Read more

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