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LIFE.com: Taboo Then, Typical Now

1960: A Presidential Candidate Is Not Protestant

Even in the United States, a country founded in part on the principle of religious freedom, it was a huge deal when John F. Kennedy ran for the presidency -- his Roman Catholicism was seen as a liability, with many voters actually worried that if elected, Kennedy would take orders from the Pope. Since then, of course, candidates for the nation's highest office have represented different faiths and cultures. Pictured: President Kennedy leaving Mass in Washington, D.C., 1962. (Photo: STF/AFP/Getty Images/LIFE.com)
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