Continuities in American Anti-Catholicism: The Texas Baptist Standard and the Coming of the 1960 Election.

Continuities in American Anti-Catholicism: The Texas Baptist Standard and the Coming of the 1960 Election. Summary

In June 1960, Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn and Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson told evangelist Billy Graham that religion would dominate the fall campaign if Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts received the Democratic nomination. Graham dutifully reported the prediction to his preferred candidate, Vice President Richard Nixon, the presumptive Republican nominee. Kennedy's Catholicism promised to present challenges in Johnson and Rayburn's home state of Texas, and Texas was "in play" in 1960. Southern Baptists, the largest and most powerful Protestant denomination in the Lone Star State, could help swing the state and the election. The Baptist vote in 1960 was heavily anti-Catholic, and the state's leading denominational newspaper, the Baptist Standard, helped fuel that sentiment. Moreover, the Standard's anti-Catholicism did not suddenly blossom in 1960. Rather, it exemplified long-standing American nativist viewpoints with regard to the Roman Catholic Church. (1)



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