Description

In John F. Kennedy and the Politics of Faith Patrick Lacroix explores the intersection of religion and politics in the era of Kennedy’s presidency. In doing so Lacroix challenges the established view that the postwar religious revival disappeared when President Eisenhower left office and that the contentious election of 1960, which carried John F. Kennedy to the White House, struck a definitive blow to anti-Catholic prejudice. Where most studies on the origins of the Christian right trace its emergence to the first battles of the culture wars of the late 1960s and early 1970s, echoing the Christian right’s own assertion that the “secular sixties” were a decade of waning religiosity in which faith-based groups largely eschewed political engagement, Lacroix persuasively argues for the Kennedy years as an important moment in the arc of American religious history. Lacroix analyzes the numerous ways in which faith-based engagement with politics and politicians’ efforts to mobilize denominational groups did not evaporate in the early 1960s. Rather, the civil rights movement, major Supreme Court rulings, events in Rome, and Kennedy’s own approach to recurrent religious controversy reshaped the landscape of faith and politics in the period.