More than fifty-one years ago, then-presidential candidate John F. Kennedy gave a speech discussing his religion. You see, he was a Catholic and that was unheard of; at the time, we'd never had a Catholic president. How could we have been so bigoted, a mere fifty-odd years ago, right? Sadly, such bigotry exists to this day -- on the Left.
At the opening of that speech, President Kennedy described the real issues that our country was facing at that time and then he went on to say the following: "But because I am a Catholic, and no Catholic has ever been elected president, the real issues in this campaign have been obscured -- perhaps deliberately, in some quarters less responsible than this." Wait, what? Deliberately you say?! It's like he somehow also foresaw the liberally-biased moderators at every single GOP presidential candidate debate this election cycle. Unless history really does repeat itself, especially by those 'less responsible.'
We are facing many of the same issues that President Kennedy described today, in one form or another. And worse. But now, like then, those real issues are being drowned out by the frantic screeches of bigots. Like Chris Matthews of MSNBC, who sputtered madly about candidate Santorum and how he'd let his religion "trump the Constitution" and wants a ZOMG Theocracy! Because, Catholic. And the Pope (The. Pope - cue scary music!) or something. I can't really be certain without my paranoid bigot to sane person translation dictionary.
Hey, you know who isn't screeching about the super scary danger of Catholics? Evangelical conservative leaders, the supposedly most bigot-y and intolerant people of all, right? In fact, they just endorsed Santorum for President. The person who came in second? Speaker Gingrich, another Catholic.
Governor Romney has to deal with such bigotry as well. Last election cycle, the oh-so-enlightened Robert Redford made some "oh, those people" remarks regarding Mormons. And recent polling shows that while icky old, evil Republicans are quite fine with a Mormon president, Democrats are not. While 76% of Republicans polled would be comfortable with a Mormon president, only 46% of Democrats said they would be. Huh. So much for that 'intolerant' GOP spin.
Besides the bigotry, we also have the addition of zealots. These zealots worship secularism which has become, ironically, a religion in and of itself. This is why we see the liberal media being obsessed with painting anyone who dares to admit freely that he is a person of faith as some nut-job cuckoo pants. It's like they have some twisted view of actual faith, like it's a caricature-riddled version of Footloose running through their heads.
Cue George Stephanopoulos and Diane Sawyer as moderators of a GOP debate this month. Instead of discussing real issues, they obsessed over banning contraception, as if that is even a thing. "So, that Strait of Hormuz? Wacky, right? But more importantly ... condoms? Why do you want to ban them!!?"
It seems as if the "tolerant" and "diversity embracing" amongst us will only tolerate and include faithful people if they remain closeted. And shaddup. Faith is super scary, you see, because it's personal and individual. Sitting in a pew listening to someone say "G_d Damn America" is hunky-dory. But profess a deep faith in God and Jesus and -- the horror -- values and beliefs that are consistent with American ideals? In fact the very ideals upon which this country was founded? That doesn't suit.
President Kennedy was again prescient when he said this: "For while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed, in other years it has been, and may someday be again, a Jew— or a Quaker or a Unitarian or a Baptist." Unfortunately, it seems to be all religions now.
A candidate's religion does not and should not matter. What matters is that their beliefs and values are consistent with American ideals. And I don't believe that being afraid and intolerant of a love of God and Jesus is one of them.
Image via US Embassy New Delhi/Flickr