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God's Own PartyThe Making of the Christian Right$
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Daniel Williams

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195340846

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195340846.001.0001

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God and Country during the Kennedy Presidency

God and Country during the Kennedy Presidency

Chapter:
(p.49) Three God and Country during the Kennedy Presidency
Source:
God's Own Party
Author(s):

Daniel K. Williams (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195340846.003.0003

The failure of conservative Protestants to prevent a Catholic, John F. Kennedy, from becoming president made them realize that they were political outsiders who were losing their battle for a Christian America. Yet rather than retreat, they renewed their political fight and formed alliances with other opponents of Kennedy in the emerging conservative movement. Supreme Court rulings against public school prayer and Bible reading in Engel v. Vitale and Abington v. Schempp further confirmed for conservative Protestants that the federal government was opposed to their interests. Initially, some evangelicals supported the Supreme Court decisions, because they believed that the Court rulings would counteract Catholic efforts to obtain federal funding for parochial schools, but by the end of Kennedy’s presidency, many evangelicals had decided that secularism posed a greater danger to the nation than Catholicism.

Keywords:   Abington v. Schempp, Catholic, conservative movement, Engel v. Vitale, Kennedy, school prayer, secularism

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