The present political situation in the United States raises an interesting question. Once more, the highly emotional issue of a Catholic running for President rages on the American scene. Ever since Catholic, Al Smith lost to Herbert Hoover in 1928; the consensus has been that a similar endeavor would amount to political suicide for the Catholic candidate. Such predictions have not terrified Jack Kennedy, and so there is a strong possibility that the 1960
Presidential election will include a Catholic candidate. What should the attitude of the Protestant Reformed voter be?
In order to gain the perspective of young people on the controversy, Beacon Lights presented the topic, “May Protestant Reformed Voters choose a Catholic for President?”, to the Redlands Young People’s Society. The general opinion of the society was that great deal of the propaganda circulating on the matter out to be ignored. Vague insinuations are made to the Inquisition. The character of the Romish Church of Medieval times is referred to. Conjectures are made of the Pope flying in from Rome to direct United States affairs from atop the Washington Monument.
Examination of modern Catholicism and the expressions of the candidates themselves reveal this to be the proper attitude to assume: the spheres of church and state must be kept separate. This means that religious prejudices ought to be kept out of the voting process. The fact that the name Roman Catholic results in more mental emotional activity does not mean that a modern Roman Catholic will make a less capable president than a Unitarian or Episcopalian. Nor will a Catholic’s governmental policies be less compatible with Protestant Reformed belief than those of other candidates of other churches. Potential voters should weigh carefully the respective merits and qualities of each nominee as far as the sphere of statesmanship is concerned. Even in the unlikely case of two Catholic opposing each other, no one is justified in refusing to cast the ballot.