White HouseWritten by Don Byrd

Writing for the Baptist Standard, editor Marv Knox dissects the recent proclamation of one presidential candidate that he could not vote for a Muslim President unless that person “rejects the tenets of Islam.” We’ve been through this argument before, Knox explains, and Baptists played a key role in that recent history.

Here is an excerpt:

This line of reasoning follows the logic many Protestants—Americans rarely used the term “evangelical” back then—applied to John Kennedy when he ran for president in 1960. Protestants questioned whether a Catholic’s loyalty to the pope would overrun his responsibility to the nation. Some claimed a person could not be a good Catholic and a good president.

Two Texas events turned the tide for Kennedy. In a meeting with ministers in Houston, he pledged to uphold religious liberty and separation of church and state. And in response to an inquiry from Baptist Standard Editor E.S. James, he promised not to appoint a U.S. ambassador to the Vatican. Kennedy carried Texas, “the buckle of the Bible Belt,” and defeated Richard Nixon.

Read the whole thing.