TEXAS FAITH: Did JFK have a greater impact on religion than any modern president?
The nation and certainly the city of Dallas are coming upon the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. There are many parts of his presidency and death that our paper and others are starting to examine, from the legacy of his foreign policy to his imprint on civil rights to his use of television to communicate.
One area that hasn’t gotten much coverage is John F. Kennedy’s impact on religion in America. Often, we read about how Jimmy Carter and then Ronald Reagan awakened evangelicals and changed the face of religion in America, particularly in politics.
But did JFK have a greater effect than perhaps any modern president on religion in America?
Read on for some insightful answers.
AMY MARTIN, Director Emeritus of Earth Rhythms and Writer/editor Moonlady News Newsletter
The trailing end of the Baby Boomer generation is the leading edge of the spiritual-not-religious movement. Many of us drew deep spiritual inspiration from John F. Kennedy, but not for his Catholicism.
We saw deep spirituality in his passion for peace:
“In a world of danger and trial, peace is our deepest aspiration, and when peace comes we will gladly convert not our swords into plowshares, but our bombs into peaceful reactors, and our planes into space vessels.” ~ John F. Kennedy
Even though his Christianity was deeply ingrained, we heard in his words hints of eastern mysticism:
We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch – we are going back from whence we came.” ~ John F. Kennedy
His idealism helped us believe in that which was greater than ourselves.
“Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce.” ~ John F. Kennedy
He saw creativity as the expression of spirit and the highest aim of humanity:
“When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.” ~ John F. Kennedy
And he understood the spirituality of caring for the Earth:
“Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.” ~ John F. Kennedy