St. Louis, Missouri (JFK+50) Fifty-four years ago today, November 2, 1960, former First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, wrote on the religious issue debated in the presidential campaign of 1960 in her syndicated newspaper column, My Day.
My Day was published six days a week from 1935 to 1962. Mrs. Roosevelt only missed four publication dates and those came at the time of FDR's death.
Mrs. Roosevelt pointed out that while Protestant ministers were divided on the issue, she was "glad that we are not united in opposing our Constitution."
She discussed the Nation's founding on the principle of religious freedom and explained that there is no religious test for seeking public office.
Mrs. Roosevelt, who had endorsed Senator John F. Kennedy, wrote that there was a...
"sense of identity between the people and the (Senator)" as evidenced by the crowds that "wanted to shake (his) hand, or...touch him, or...(just) look at him."
Statue of Eleanor Roosevelt
Excerpts from ER's column...
November 2, 1960
by Eleanor Roosevelt
St. Louis--Reformation Sunday is past and our Protestant ministers have divided. Some preached anti-Catholic sermons and some did not, and I am rather glad that we are not united in opposing our Constitution.
I think it is time for us to face the fact that our country was founded on religious freedom. People came here from many countries to escape persecution and some of these were Protestants as well as Roman Catholics, & Jews and Quakers...
Our founding fathers carefully left out of the Constitution qualifications on either race or religion...
I do not know what will happen on November 8...but as I...hear about crowds that have greeted Senator Kennedy...and Vice-President Nixon, one interesting observation (is that) the crowds that greet Mr. Kennedy want to shake him by the hand, or...touch him, or...look at him. This...means a sense of identity between the people and the candidate.
When people finally decide that someone is their man--that he understands and cares about them--though they may not agree with everything he says and does, they are still close to him and they trust him and they believe in him."