John Kerry on Faith

An ongoing collection of quotes from Kerry about faith, his relationship with God, religion & politics, and more.

 
Senator John Kerry is Catholic and a former altar boy. He attends Mass regularly and describes himself as a "believing and practicing Catholic," He recently discovered that his paternal grandparents were Jewish. Below are selections from recent speeches and interviews in which he mentions his faith or religious topics.

On Faith and Politics
"My faith, and the faith I have seen in the lives of so many Americans, also teaches me that, 'Whatever you do to the least of these, you do unto me.' That means we have a moral obligation to one another, to the forgotten, and to those who live in the shadows. This is a moral obligation at the heart of all our great religious traditions."
--Speech at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, October 24, 2004

"The Bible tells us that in others we encounter the face of God: "I was hungry and you fed me; thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you received me in your homes; naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me." This is the final judgment of who we are and what our life will mean.

I believe we must keep faith, not only with the Creator, but also with present and future generations."
--Speech at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, October 24, 2004

"Now with respect to religion, you know, as I said I grew up a Catholic. I was an altar boy. I know that throughout my life this has made a difference to me. And as President Kennedy said when he ran for president, he said, I'm not running to be a Catholic president. I'm running to be a president who happens to be Catholic. Now my faith affects everything that I do and choose. There's a great passage of the Bible that says What does it mean my brother to say you have faith if there are no deeds? Faith without works is dead. And I think that everything you do in public life has to be guided by your faith, affected by your faith, but without transferring it in any official way to other people. That's why I fight against poverty. That's why I fight to clean up the environment and protect this earth. That's why I fight for equality and justice. All of those things come out of that fundamental teaching and belief of faith. But I know this: that President Kennedy in his inaugural address told of us that here on earth God's work must truly be our own. And that's what we have to - I think that's the test of public service."
--Third Presidential Debate, Tempe, AZ, October 13, 2004

"With faith in God and with conviction in the mission of America, I believe that we can reach higher. I believe we can do better. I think the greatest possibilities of our country - our dreams and our hopes - are out there just waiting for us to grab onto them." --Third Presidential Debate, Tempe, AZ, October 13, 2004

"And let me say it plainly: in that cause, and in this campaign, we welcome people of faith. America is not us and them. I think of what Ron Reagan said of his father a few weeks ago, and I want to say this to you tonight: I don't wear my own faith on my sleeve. But faith has given me values and hope to live by, from Vietnam to this day, from Sunday to Sunday. I don't want to claim that God is on our side. As Abraham Lincoln told us, I want to pray humbly that we are on God's side. And whatever our faith, one belief should bind us all: The measure of our character is our willingness to give of ourselves for others and for our country." --Speech at the Democratic National Convention, Boston, MA, July 29, 2004

"I can't take my Catholic belief, my article of faith, and legislate it on a Protestant or a Jew or an atheist. We have separation of church and state in the United States of America."
--Interview in the Dubuque, Iowa, Telegraph Herald, July 2004

"The Scriptures say: 'It is not enough, my brother, to say you have faith, when there are no deeds.' We look at what is happening in America today and we say: Where are the deeds?"
--Speech at New Northside Baptist Church, St. Louis, March 28, 2004

"My brothers and sisters, our time has arrived: We can bring change to America. And if we live by our faith and pray with our feet, no one's going to stop us now."
--Speech at the Greater Bethlehem Temple Church, Jackson, MO

"Scripture tells us there is 'a time to break down and a time to build up.' This is our time to break down division and build up unity. This is our time to reject the politics of fear. This is our time, as Langston Hughes so eloquently put it, to:

"'Let America be America again...Let it be the dream it used to be.for those whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain, whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain must bring back our mighty dream again.' "So, let us pray."
--Speech at the AME Convention, July 06, 2004

"America is a land of tolerance for every belief, it can never be a place of indifference to faith. We should never separate our highest beliefs and values from our treatment of one another and our conduct of the people's business."
-- Speech at the AME Convention, July 06, 2004

On Abortion
"First of all, I cannot tell you how deeply I respect the belief about life and when it begins. I'm a Catholic - raised a Catholic. I was an altar boy. Religion has been a huge part of my life, helped lead me through a war, leads me today.

"But I can't take what is an article of faith for me and legislate it for someone who doesn't share that article of faith, whether they be agnostic, atheist, Jew, Protestant, whatever. I can't do that. But I can counsel people, I can talk reasonably about life and about responsibility."
--Second Presidential Debate, St. Louis, October 8, 2004

"I'm against the partial birth abortion, but you've got to have an exception for the life of the mother and the health of the mother under the strictest test of bodily injury to the mother. Secondly, with respect to parental notification, I'm not going to require a 16- or 17-year-old kid who's been raped by her father and who's pregnant to have to notify her father. So you've got to have a judicial intervention. And because they didn't have a judicial intervention where she could go somewhere and get help I voted against it."
--Second Presidential Debate, St. Louis, October 8, 2004

"I believe that choice, a woman's choice is between a woman, God and her doctor. And that's why I support that. Now I will not allow somebody to come in and change Roe v. Wade. The president has never said whether or not he would do that. But we know from the people he's tried to appoint to the court he wants to. I will not. I will defend the right of Roe v. Wade."
--Third Presidential Debate, Tempe, AZ, October 13, 2004

"I oppose abortion, personally. I don't like abortion. I believe life does begin at conception."
--Interview in the Dubuque, Iowa, Telegraph Herald, July 2004

On Homosexuality
"I think if you talk to anybody, it's not a choice. I've met people who struggled with this for years, people who were in a marriage, because they were living a sort of convention, and they struggled with it. And I've met wives who are supportive of their husbands or vice versa when they finally sort of broke out and allowed themselves to live who they were, who they felt God had made them. I think we have to respect that.

"The president and I share the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. I believe that, I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. But I also believe that because we are the United States of America, we're a country with a great, unbelievable Constitution, with rights that we afford people, that you can't discriminate in the workplace, you can't discriminate in the rights that you afford people. You can't disallow someone the right to visit their partner in a hospital. You have to allow people to transfer property, which is why I'm for partnership rights and so forth."
--Third Presidential Debate, Tempe, AZ, October 13, 2004

On Faith-Based initiatives
"And I invite churches and faith-based institutions to continue to play the role they have always played--as leaders, teachers, and guides in our communities. I know there are some who say that the First Amendment means faith-based organizations can't help government. I think they are wrong. I want to offer support for your efforts, including financial support, in a way that supports our Constitution and civil rights laws and values the role of faith in inspiring countless acts of justice and mercy across our land."
--Speech at the AME Convention, July 06, 2004

Continued on page 2: »

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