Politics and Religion

Archive Report

Religious Issue in Carter Candidacy

For the third time in the nation's history, the religious beliefs of a candidate for the presidency have become, if not an issue, at least a subject of interest with possibly significant bearing on the outcome of the election. This time, however, there is a difference. On the previous occasions, the religion in question was Roman Catholicism, the faith of Democratic candidates Al Smith in 1928 and John F. Kennedy in 1960. In 1976, concern centers on the Southern Baptist Convention, the church of Democratic nominee James Earl (Jimmy) Carter Jr.

The flap over Carter's religion would have seemed strange to Americans in an earlier time. For at least until Kennedy's paper-thin victory in November 1960, it was taken for granted ...

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