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Priest tells politicians JFK was a bad example

A US priest addressing the House Floor on Tuesday told legislators that too many politicians have followed the example of the nation's first Catholic president by pledging to separate their faith from politics.

While delivering the chamber's morning prayer, Fr Bill Carmody told the lawmakers that they should "be the antithesis of John Kennedy" and let religious faith guide their votes,

"Almighty God, please change and convert the hearts of all the representatives in this House. May they be the antithesis of John Kennedy, may they be women and men of God, and may their faith influence and guide every vote they make," he said.

Democrat Alice Madden took the floor to denounce the prayer, saying it was an unfair attack on the Democratic president.

In an interview, she Madden said President Kennedy had made his decision to separate his faith and his politics in the midst of anti-Catholic bigotry.

But Republican Bill Sinclair defended the priest, telling lawmakers the prayer was not an attack on Kennedy.

Some Church leaders have criticised presumptive Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, a Catholic, for his support for abortion rights and stem cell research.

Priest tells lawmakers not to emulate JFK (Associated Press/CNN 13/4/04)

Pollster finds deep U.S. ambivalence on religion-politics ties (Catholic News Service 13/4/04)
Kerry Ignores Reproaches of Some Bishops (New York Times 11/4/04)
British push to brief politicians on Church teachings (CathNews 31/3/04)
US archbishops differ on Communion for Senator Kerry (CathNews 4/2/04)
US Bishops consider sanctions for politicians (CathNews 12/11/03)

15 Apr 2004