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November 2, 1960


St. Louis, Missouri (JFK+50) Today former 1st Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, wrote on the religious issue of the 1960 presidential campaign in her syndicated newspaper column, “My Day.”*

*”My Day” was published 6 days a week from 1935 to 1962 with Mrs. Roosevelt missing just 4 days (at the time of FDR’s death). 

Mrs. Roosevelt points out that while Protestant ministers are divided on the issue, she is “glad that we are not united in opposing our Constitution.”

She discusses this nation’s founding on the principle of religious freedom & explains that there is no religious test for seeking public office.

Mrs. Roosevelt, who has endorsed Senator John F. Kennedy, writes that there is a “sense of identity between the people & the (Senator)” as evidenced by the crowds that “want to shake (his) hand, or…touch him, or…(just) look at him.”


Excerpts from ER’s column follow:


November 2, 1960

by Eleanor Roosevelt

St. Louis–Reformation Sunday is past & our Protestant ministers have divided.  Some preached anti-Catholic sermons & some did not, & 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 & some of these were Protestants as well as Roman Catholics, & Jews & Quakers…

Our founding fathers carefully left out of the Constitution qualifications (for public office) on either race or religion…

I do not know what will happen on November 8 (Election Day)…but as I…hear about crowds that have greeted Senator Kennedy…& 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 & the candidate.

When people finally decide that someone is their man–that he understands them & cares about them–though they may not agree with everything he says & does, they are still close to him & they trust him & they believe in him.”

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