1927 December 8

National Conference of Christians and Jews Holds First Meeting


Formation of the National Conference of Christians and Jews (NCCJ) was prompted by anti-Catholic bigotry across the country in the 1920s. Many of the attacks on Catholics and Catholic politicians were led by the Ku Klux Klan. (See the anti-Catholic law that restricted parochial schools in Oregon and the resulting Supreme Court decision on June 1, 1925.) Anti-Catholic bigotry reached its peak in the attacks on Democratic Party presidential candidate Al Smith in the 1928 presidential election. (See the events of September 18, 1928 and October 6, 1928.)

The issue of a Catholic as presidents was finally laid to rest in 1960, when John F. Kennedy delivered a famous speech on religious liberty on September 12, 1960, and was elected president two months later. The NCCJ worked to promote religious and racial tolerance from its founding until the present. It is now known as the National Conference for Community and Justice.

Go to the NCCJ website: http://www.nccj.org/

Watch a documentary on Al Smith’s 1928 nomination for president: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcopBKsclhY

Read about Kennedy’s breakthrough election: Shaun Casey, The Making of a Catholic President: Kennedy vs. Nixon 1960 (2009)

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