I see that Kathleen Kennedy Townsend has chosen to get into a religious spat with Queen Idiot Sarah Palin. It’s a mistake to engage in civil debate with Palin, or any of her supporters.

In her new book, “America by Heart,” Palin objects to my uncle’s famous 1960 speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, in which he challenged the ministers – and the country – to judge him, a Catholic presidential candidate, by his views rather than his faith. “Contrary to common newspaper usage, I am not the Catholic candidate for president,” Kennedy said. “I am the Democratic Party’s candidate for president who happens also to be a Catholic.”

Palin writes that when she was growing up, she was taught that Kennedy’s speech had “succeeded in the best possible way: It reconciled public service and religion without compromising either.” Now, however, she says she has revisited the speech and changed her mind. She finds it “defensive . . . in tone and content” and is upset that Kennedy, rather than presenting a reconciliation of his private faith and his public role, had instead offered an “unequivocal divorce of the two.”

Yes, it is idiotic to complain that a Catholic was being defensive about his religion in 1960 America. The whole point of the speech was to reassure people that we weren’t going to be putting the Pope in charge of our affairs if we elected a Catholic to office. There had never been a Catholic president before and there hasn’t been one since. Joe Biden is the first Catholic vice-president. This country was founded by protestants and non-conformists who were fleeing the overreaching power of the Catholic Church and the Church of England. It took a lot of Catholic immigration in 19th and early 20th century to create an electorate that would seriously consider being led by a Catholic. But Palin doesn’t understand any of that. To her, John Kennedy was just being defensive about his faith, as though he were embarrassed by it. He was actually appealing to the highest ideals of the Founding Fathers in order to be given a chance. He said that he would resign (something Palin should be able to relate to) if his religion ever conflicted with his job as president.

I think it’s beneath the Kennedy family to respond to Palin’s nonsense. Let her say what she wants.

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