The Making of a Catholic President: John Kennedy, Faith and Public Office

by Public User Archive

The 50th anniversary of the 1960 presidential campaign:

A discussion with The Making of a Catholic President author Shaun Casey,

John Seigenthaler and Sander Vanocur

At the Newseum – Monday, March 8, 6:30 p.m.

Presented by the Religious Freedom Education Project at the Newseum

WASHINGTON – A panel discussion of the landmark 1960 presidential campaign by John F. Kennedy will be conducted at March 8 at 6:30 p.m., at the Newseum’s Knight Conference Center, 555 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.

The 1960 election, won by Kennedy over then-Vice President Richard Nixon, was one of the closest and most contentious in American history. Panelists for the discussion include:

– Shaun Casey, author of The Making of a Catholic President and professor of Christian Ethics at Wesley Theological Seminary.

– John Seigenthaler, journalist, founder of the First Amendment Center and an assistant to Robert Kennedy during the 1960 campaign.

– Sander Vanocur, award-winning network television journalist, who reported on the 1960 campaign and was among the panelists posing questions in the televised Nixon-Kennedy debates.

Moderator for the discussion will be Charles C. Haynes, director of the Religious Freedom Education Project at the Newseum.

Casey will be available at a book-signing after the discussion, and copies will be on sale.

The Making of a Catholic President offers insights into one of the most extraordinary presidential campaigns in American history, including how the Kennedy campaign transformed the “religion question” from a liability into an asset. Drawing on many never-before-seen documents, the book shows Kennedy’s chief advisers grappling with staunch opposition to the candidate’s Catholicism. Casey also reveals, for the first time, many of the Nixon campaign’s efforts to tap into anti-Catholic sentiment.

The event is open to the public, but RSVPs are recommended to reserve a seat. The Knight Conference Center at the Newseum is on the seventh floor. The entrance to the conference center is from Sixth Street, just north of Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. To RSVP, please contact Ashlie Hampton, at 202/292-6288 or

“The role of religion in presidential politics has been a much-debated issue throughout American history,” said Charles Haynes. “This discussion will explore how Kennedy – and the American people – dealt with the ‘religion question’ 50 years ago and consider controversies over faith in politics today.”

The Religious Freedom Education Project at the Newseum is established on the conviction that religious liberty, or freedom of conscience, is an inalienable right for people of all faiths and none. Located at the Newseum, in partnership with the First Amendment Center, the Religious Freedom Education Project works to educate the public about the vital importance of religious freedom through events, educational initiatives and outreach.

– To RSVP for “The Making of a Catholic President: John Kennedy, Faith and Public Office,” contact Ashlie Hampton, 202/292-6288 or

– For more information about the Religious Freedom Education Project, contact Charles Haynes at

Date: March 8, 2010

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Location: Newseum, Knight Conference Center (555 Pennsylvania Ave, NW; seventh floor)

Attire: casual

Ticket/Pricing Information:

Free & open to the public

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