Religious Ideals 

Kerby Anderson

There was a time in the past when political leaders of both parties talked about the importance of religion in the founding of this country. Terry Jeffrey found a speech by an urban northeastern Democrat that illustrated this so well.

The candidate proclaimed that “a devotion to fundamental religious principles has characterized American thought and action.” He argued that the nation’s greatest leaders understood the “essential religious idea” of our founding. “Our earliest legislation was inspired by this deep religious sense,” he explained. “Our first leader, Washington, was inspired by this deep religious sense” and “Lincoln was inspired by this deep religious sense,” he continued.

Then his speech turned to a warning. He sensed that the very principles on which the nation was founded were being attacked. He warned that “these basic religious ideas are challenged by atheism and materialism: at home in the cynical philosophy of many of our intellectuals, abroad in the doctrine of collectivism, which sets up the twin pillars of atheism and materialism as the official philosophical establishment of the State.”

Near the end of his speech, he said “we cannot assume that the struggle is ended. It is never-ending. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. It was the price yesterday. It is the price today, and it will ever be the price.”

This was a rousing speech about liberty and religious ideals delivered by an urban northeastern Democrat who also warned that we face a struggle from secular materialistic enemies here and abroad. How did this candidate do after giving such a speech?

He was first elected to Congress and later elected to the US Senate. Fourteen years later, he was elected president of the United States. His name was John F. Kennedy.

His speech back then wasn’t that controversial. It was even prophetic. But I doubt it would be permitted in today’s Democrat party.