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February 10, 2012

Manchurian Catholic Democrats and JFK's Speech about Religion

By Rob Kall

Manchurian candidates have been characterized as plants, put into positions of power, so they can do their work for the entity that plants them many years earlier. In some ways, I am feeling like some of the many Catholics in government now have blossomed as Manchurian plants, particularly when we look at the unfolding attack on the right to access to birth control the Catholic Church seems to be systematically orchestrating


Manchurian candidates have been characterized as plants, put into positions of power, so they can do their work for the entity that plants them many years earlier.  In some ways, I am feeling like some of the many Catholics in government now have blossomed as Manchurian plants, particularly when we look at the unfolding  attack on the right to access to birth control that the Catholic Church seems to be systematically and aggressively orchestrating. 

Back when John F. Kennedy was running for president, he reassured the nation about his religion in a speech, included at the end of this article.  Here's a key excerpt:
 "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."

Now, there are many, many Catholic elected officials in office, including the first Catholic Vice President, Joe Biden. And I worry when he tells us that "we can work it out."

I worry when he says that,  as politico reports,   the "NY archbishop, Timothy Dolan, head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said earlier Thursday that he is "unhappy" with the president's decision and "skeptical" of the administration's offers to work out a compromise." And that Biden reassures us, "He is a great guy."

I worry when Catholic governor Joe Manchin III, offers a bill to block access to contraceptives for women who work for Catholic orgs. 

I worry when Senators Kerry and McCaskill say that they want the administration to adjust its rule. 

I worry about the 30.3% of the 535 members of congress who are Catholic. They have not all made a pledge like JFK. They may just be susceptible to pressures from Bishops and Archbishops. They may not be representing their constituents. Keep in mind that generally, over 60% of Democrats are women and there are a lot more Catholic Democrats than Republicans. That means a lot more chance for folks like Biden and Manchin to sell out women, which is what I consider them doing when they bend to this new attack on women's rights. 

Politico reports on Bill Daley, who was Obama's Chief of Staff, until just last month,
  "Bill Daley , a Catholic with deep connections to the church hierarchy, vehemently opposed the administration's proposal to require church-run hospitals and universities to give their employees free contraception. ... In early November, ... Daley set up a four-man Oval Office meeting for himself, Obama, New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan and Vice President Biden, who both shared the view that the policy would sink the president with Catholic voters. Obama ... hadn't fully analyzed the dueling arguments, ... and felt 'mildly uncomfortable' being put on the spot.
and there's the female contingent at the Whitehouse, which the Politico article also discussed,
"Several of the president's most influential female advisers -- Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett among them -- were angry by what they viewed as a Daley power play and made their sentiment known to Obama, according to several people close the situation. "

I am a firm believer that people of different religious faiths have the right to practice their faith, and that religious faiths have the right to ask of their loyal followers that they follow rules and precepts. But no religious faith has the right to influence or control non-followers of the faith. That's what's happening here. Catholic archbishops are demanding that they be allowed to influence employees who are non-followers, or even employees who are Catholic, who choose not to obey edicts against birth control. This is wrong. 

I might be accused of religious intolerance for broaching this subject. But it is Joe Biden and Joe Manchin who are speaking in ways that open the sluice gates to eroding women's hard-fought rights to access to contraception. 

JFK made a brilliant speech, almost 52 years ago. He broke ground and made it a lot easier to be a Catholic running for office. Now, a handful of Catholics in office, and also in the media, are looking like they could be failing the trust that constituents and viewers have given them. This is a big deal. This is something that, as uncomfortable as  it may be, must be discussed. 

I've known, since 2006, when I hired Zogby to do some polling in Pennsylvania, that about 70-80% of the people who oppose abortion would also like to eliminate access to birth control. But that same polling showed that this is a vulnerability of conservative social-issue-pandering politicians. At least 60% of the electorate wants contraception to be available. 

The Catholic church may think they have a winner here, and it may be pulling the strings of some of it's "Manchurian" politicians, but overall, the great mass of voters opposes limiting access to contraceptions. It's an issue that will cost the politicians who get behind it. It's hard to imagine that they don't know that, yet they're standing with the Catholic archbishops. It really makes you wonder. 

What do you think?

see update at end.

JFK's Speech on Religion

from NPR: On Sept. 12, 1960, presidential candidate John F. Kennedy gave a major speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, a group of Protestant ministers, on the issue of his religion. At the time, many Protestants questioned whether Kennedy's Roman Catholic faith would allow him to make important national decisions as president independent of the church. Kennedy addressed those concerns before a skeptical audience of Protestant clergy. The following is a transcript of Kennedy's speech:

Kennedy: Rev. Meza, Rev. Reck, I'm grateful for your generous invitation to speak my views.

While the so-called religious issue is necessarily and properly the chief topic here tonight, I want to emphasize from the outset that we have far more critical issues to face in the 1960 election: the spread of Communist influence, until it now festers 90 miles off the coast of Florida; the humiliating treatment of our president and vice president by those who no longer respect our power; the hungry children I saw in West Virginia; the old people who cannot pay their doctor bills; the families forced to give up their farms; an America with too many slums, with too few schools, and too late to the moon and outer space.

These are the real issues which should decide this campaign. And they are not religious issues -- for war and hunger and ignorance and despair know no religious barriers.

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. So it is apparently necessary for me to state once again not what kind of church I believe in -- for that should be important only to me -- but what kind of America I believe in.

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.

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. It was Virginia's harassment of Baptist preachers, for example, that helped lead to Jefferson's statute of religious freedom. Today I may be the victim, but tomorrow it may be you -- until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped at a time of great national peril.

Finally, 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 works in the past, and promote instead the American ideal of brotherhood.

That is the kind of America in which I believe. And it represents the kind of presidency in which I believe -- a great office that must neither be humbled by making it the instrument of any one religious group, nor tarnished by arbitrarily withholding its occupancy from the members of any one religious group. I believe in a president whose religious views are his own private affair, neither imposed by him upon the nation, or imposed by the nation upon him as a condition to holding that office.

I would not look with favor upon a president working to subvert the First Amendment's guarantees of religious liberty. Nor would our system of checks and balances permit him to do so. And neither do I look with favor upon those who would work to subvert Article VI of the Constitution by requiring a religious test -- even by indirection -- for it. If they disagree with that safeguard, they should be out openly working to repeal it.

I want a chief executive whose public acts are responsible to all groups and obligated to none; who can attend any ceremony, service or dinner his office may appropriately require of him; and whose fulfillment of his presidential oath is not limited or conditioned by any religious oath, ritual or obligation.

This is the kind of America I believe in, and this is the kind I fought for in the South Pacific, and the kind my brother died for in Europe. No one suggested then that we may have a "divided loyalty," that we did "not believe in liberty," or that we belonged to a disloyal group that threatened the "freedoms for which our forefathers died."

And in fact ,this is the kind of America for which our forefathers died, when they fled here to escape religious test oaths that denied office to members of less favored churches; when they fought for the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom; and when they fought at the shrine I visited today, the Alamo. For side by side with Bowie and Crockett died McCafferty and Bailey and Carey. But no one knows whether they were Catholic or not, for there was no religious test at the Alamo.

I ask you tonight to follow in that tradition, to judge me on the basis of my record of 14 years in Congress, on my declared stands against an ambassador to the Vatican, against unconstitutional aid to parochial schools, and against any boycott of the public schools (which I have attended myself)-- instead of judging me on the basis of these pamphlets and publications we all have seen that carefully select quotations out of context from the statements of Catholic church leaders, usually in other countries, frequently in other centuries, and always omitting, of course, the statement of the American Bishops in 1948, which strongly endorsed church-state separation, and which more nearly reflects the views of almost every American Catholic.

I do not consider these other quotations binding upon my public acts. Why should you? But let me say, with respect to other countries, that I am wholly opposed to the state being used by any religious group, Catholic or Protestant, to compel, prohibit, or persecute the free exercise of any other religion. And I hope that you and I condemn with equal fervor those nations which deny their presidency to Protestants, and those which deny it to Catholics. And rather than cite the misdeeds of those who differ, I would cite the record of the Catholic Church in such nations as Ireland and France, and the independence of such statesmen as Adenauer and De Gaulle.

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.

But if the time should ever come -- and I do not concede any conflict to be even remotely possible -- when my office would require me to either violate my conscience or violate the national interest, then I would resign the office; and I hope any conscientious public servant would do the same.

But I do not intend to apologize for these views to my critics of either Catholic or Protestant faith, nor do I intend to disavow either my views or my church in order to win this election.

If I should lose on the real issues, I shall return to my seat in the Senate, satisfied that I had tried my best and was fairly judged. But if this election is decided on the basis that 40 million Americans lost their chance of being president on the day they were baptized, then it is the whole nation that will be the loser -- in the eyes of Catholics and non-Catholics around the world, in the eyes of history, and in the eyes of our own people.

But if, on the other hand, I should win the election, then I shall devote every effort of mind and spirit to fulfilling the oath of the presidency -- practically identical, I might add, to the oath I have taken for 14 years in the Congress. For without reservation, I can "solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, so help me God.

Transcript courtesy of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

for the first time since I've been running Opednews.com, I asked fellow editors for feedback on this article. I wanted to be sure I wasn't going too far. On their advice, I edited out one paragraph that you will not miss, that went on an aside. But one of our senior editors, Amanda Lang, actually OEN's first volunteer editor, who's been with us since 2003, provided some info and perspective I just can't resist including:

"I found some interesting research on the Founding Fathers views at the time the Constitutional debates were taking place:


Many supporters of the Constitution, including one of the most prominent, James Madison, agreed to support a bill of rights in the Constitution, if it could be ratified. Several of the states included suggested amendments, including rights of the people, in their ratification documents. The push was on for a bill of rights in the Constitution. Madison was true to his word -- on June 8, 1789, Representative James Madison rose and gave a speech in the House where he introduced a series of articles of amendment. One concerned religious freedom:

The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, infringed.

Madison's proposal follows the proposals of some of the states. New Hampshire's read:

Congress shall make no laws touching religion, or to infringe the rights of conscience.

Virginia was much more verbose:

That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence, and therefore all men have an equal, natural and unalienable right to the exercise of religion according to the dictates of conscience, and that no particular sect or society ought to be favored or established by law in preference to others.

New Yorkers had the same to say, but more succinctly:

That the people have an equal, natural, and unalienable right freely and peaceably to exercise their religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that no religious sect or society ought to be favored or established by law in preference to others.

Funny thing is, no one is forcing any person to USE the healthcare birth control option.  If you do not believe in birth control, don't f*cking buy it and use it period.  I'm sick of these damn mean old white men trying to drown the government in the bathtub, run it up my vagina, park it in my uterus, and ruling the country from there. 

Enuf said."

and that's from Amanda Lang.

Submitters Bio:

Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project. 

Rob Kall Wikipedia Page

Rob Kall's Bottom Up Radio Show: Over 200 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Rob is also published regularly on the Huffingtonpost.com

Rob is, with Opednews.com the first media winner of the Pillar Award for supporting Whistleblowers and the first amendment.

To learn more about Rob and OpEdNews.com, check out A Voice For Truth - ROB KALL | OM Times Magazine and this article. For Rob's work in non-political realms mostly before 2000, see his C.V..  and here's an article on the Storycon Summit Meeting he founded and organized for eight years. Press coverage in the Wall Street Journal: Party's Left Pushes for a Seat at the Table

Here is a one hour radio interview where Rob was a guest- on Envision This, and here is the transcript. 

To watch Rob having a lively conversation with John Conyers, then Chair of the House Judiciary committee, click hereWatch Rob speaking on Bottom up economics at the Occupy G8 Economic Summit, here.

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