Sarah Palin attacks John F.Kennedy on the basis of running away from his Catholic religion in her latest book 'America By Heart.'
She has some cheek, given that Palin is a failed Catholic herself, having given up on the religion of her Irish forefathers and encompassed one of those hip born-again evangelical identities-- you know the ones where Jesus appears in your rear view mirror and converts you.
Palin attacks Kennedy for his 1960 campaign remark that "I am not the Catholic candidate for president.I am the Democratic Party's candidate for president who also happens to be Catholic."
Kennedy made the remarks at a time when many evangelicals believed there was a hot line from the Vatican to Kennedy's campaign.
That was ironic, given that Kennedy was by no means devout and well aware what happened in the 1928 campaign when Irish Catholic Al Smith was destroyed by anti-Catholic sentiment.
Palin is treading on dangerous turf here. She says that Kennedy essentially declared religion to be "such a private matter that it was irrelevant to the kind of country we are."
Worse she claimed that the statement meant that Kennedy "seemed to run away from his religion."
That is complete nonsense, right up there with her defense of our "ally' North Korea.
Kennedy in fact was protecting his right as a Catholic to run for president at a time when that right was under attack from many leading protestant evangelicals.
In 1960 the leading Protestant church figure Norman Vincent Peale, as spokesman for 150 Protestant clergymen, strongly opposed the election of John F. Kennedy as president. "Faced with the election of a Catholic," Peale declared, "our culture is at stake."
It was in that context that Kennedy made his great speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association defending his right to be a Catholic and run for president..
"I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end -- where all men and all churches are treated as equal -- where every man has the same right to attend or not attend the church of his choice -- where there is no Catholic vote, no anti-Catholic vote, no bloc voting of any kind -- and where Catholics, Protestants and Jews, at both the lay and pastoral level, will refrain from those attitudes of disdain and division which have so often marred their work in the past, and promote instead the American ideal of brotherhood."
It was perhaps among the greatest statements in favor of freedom of religion every issued in America.
Palin has once again proven herself an intellectual pygmy throwing brickbats form the peanut gallery at one of the great figures of our age.