From the memory hole, John F. Kennedy on Sept. 12, 1960:
I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference; and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.
I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials; and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.
But let me stress again that these are my views. For contrary to common newspaper usage, I am not the Catholic candidate for president. I am the Democratic Party’s candidate for president, who happens also to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my church on public matters, and the church does not speak for me.
Whatever issue may come before me as president — on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling or any other subject — I will make my decision in accordance with these views, in accordance with what my conscience tells me to be the national interest, and without regard to outside religious pressures or dictates. And no power or threat of punishment could cause me to decide otherwise.
Kennedy gave this speech during the 1960 campaign because conservatives were fearmongering about his Catholic faith. They tried to tell voters that a President Kennedy would answer to the Pope instead of the American people and the United States Congress.
My how times have changed. Now we have a bunch of Catholic bishops trying to tell the president what to do, and a bunch of Republicans foamy-mouthed because he won’t obey them.
Good thing we banned that Sharia Law stuff, amiright? Can’t imagine what our Muslim president would do if something pissed off an ayatolla or two. And I’m sure our Republicans would be totally okay with that, right?