POAUProtestants and Other Americans United for Separation of Church and State
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No one," they stated, "is authorized to speak for the Baptists as a whole, and the POAU certainly does not speak for us" (Wood 1976, 99).
In 1960, POAU lawyer and author Paul Blanshard was the most articulate and outspoken libertarian opponent of Catholic Church participation in U.
28) POAU and ACLU leaders defended the questions to Catholic candidates as a legal and unbiased political challenge.
Having struggled to distinguish criticism of the Catholic hierarchy from Kennedy's presidential candidacy, Blanshard urged the POAU to avoid election politics.
POAU members would subsequently feel "that we have broken faith" Blanshard feared, and acted irresponsibly with the leadership's mandate to defend church-state separation.
POAU particularly attracted liberal ire for criticizing Kennedy's religious affiliation at the National Conference of Citizens for Religious Freedom (NCCRF) in early September.
Christianity and Crisis editors Niebuhr and Bennett denounced both the NAE and POAU for having "loosed the floodgates of bigotry clothed in the respectability of apparently rational argument.
75) By late September, however, even Blanshard was discouraging POAU leaders from further comments on Kennedy's Catholicism, leaving only antiliberal evangelical leaders to join POAU in promoting the campaign's religious issue.
The POAU director even described a "Vatican-inspired colossal political machine whose announced purpose is to control the world.
Falcon, United for Separation: An Analysis of the POAU Assaults on Catholicism (Milwaukee, 1959), 15-17.
POAU might well think that religious authorities cannot attempt to influence public policy directly or indirectly, and that religiously affiliated schools, hospitals, orphanages, and social welfare activities must be excluded from the benefits of publicly funded programs, but Kennedy should not have agreed with them--and nor should the evangelical ministers in that room.