Why Only One Catholic President of the US?


#1

Just curious as to why we’ve only had one Catholic president in the US. Something that came up in RCIA got me thinking about it and I’m just curious what your opinions are. It doesn’t really matter why I suppose but I realized that as far as I know JFK was the only one and it looks like we would have had more than that just on the law of averages.

Amie


#2

Two reasons, I think.

  1. For most of our history, Catholics were not part of the upper-class, from which presidents have usually come.

  2. There is an undercurrent of predjudice against Catholicism, stemming from the Protestant roots of the country’s formation. It boils down to questions like “will you do what’s right for the country, or what the pope tells you?” Even today, it seems less “OK” for Catholics in public office to acknowledge that their faith helps guide their actions, then it is for other faiths.


#3

Good question…There certainly are a lot of rich Jews, and we haven’t had a Jewish president either…

I think that many people fear voting for Catholics because they fear the Pope could dictate policy for the country.

cheddar


#4

I think it has more to do with geography than anything else. Policy wonks from the Northeast make lousy presidential candiates. Good ole boy southerners are easier for the population to relate to. The South is mostly Protestant. That’s my humble opinion.


#5

[quote=cheddarsox]Good question…There certainly are a lot of rich Jews, and we haven’t had a Jewish president either…

I think that many people fear voting for Catholics because they fear the Pope could dictate policy for the country.

cheddar
[/quote]

Think we dispelled the Pope running the country bit in 1960 with the election of John Kennedy.


#6

[quote=mary bobo]Think we dispelled the Pope running the country bit in 1960 with the election of John Kennedy.
[/quote]

Just think what Kerry would’ve added to that opinion.


#7

I don’t think there has ever been a Lutheran president. It seems that Episcopalians are overrepresented.


#8

[quote=cheddarsox]Good question…There certainly are a lot of rich Jews, and we haven’t had a Jewish president either…

I think that many people fear voting for Catholics because they fear the Pope could dictate policy for the country.

cheddar
[/quote]

Or, conversely, the dominant ethos in the US has been Protestant. And why not ? Protestants are under no obligation to go out of their way to vote for a Catholic - it’s not as though there were any wrong being done to a group, by not voting for members of it to attain office in government.

That last point of yours is spot-on. I don’t think it’s an unreasonable fear - look at the distaste some Catholics express for democracy these days: Catholics do not - shall we say ? - always express themselves in a way which is calculated to put suspicions about their fidelity to their own country to rest, even today. ##


#9

had John Kerry been a real Catholic, and if the democratic party adhered to its historic ideals, we might well have had another Catholic president,


#10

As was already mentioned, the last Catholic that could have won by a landslide, did not hold Catholic values – better to have a non-Catholic in office who holds some of our Catholic values than a Catholic who doesn’t adhere to most of our Catholic values.


closed #11

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