11/01/2007 - The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life invited Mass. Sen. John Kerry to discuss the propriety of public inquiry into politicians’ religious beliefs and how those beliefs influence candidates’ views on the issues of the day. Kerry, a 2004 presidential candidate, also addressed the role of faith in presidential campaigns, his perspective on religion in the 2008 election, and the impact of religion on public affairs.
Kerry began his career in public service in 1982 when he was elected lieutenant governor of Massachusetts. Two years later he won election to the U.S. Senate and has been re-elected three times since. In 2004 he was the Democratic nominee for president. When he accepted his party’s nomination, Kerry invoked John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan’s public position on the privacy of one’s faith: “I don’t wear my religion on my sleeve, but faith has given me values and hope to live by, from Vietnam to this day, from Sunday to Sunday.” However, in recent years the senator, a lifelong Roman Catholic, has discussed his faith more openly, including the connection between his formative Catholic teachings and his work as a public servant.
John Kerry, U.S. Senator, D-Mass.; Democratic Presidential Nominee (2004)
E.J. Dionne Jr., Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution; Columnist, The Washington Post
Read the full transcript Faith and the Public Dialogue: A Conversation with Sen. John Kerry on the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life Web site.