Job 19 — The Redeemer
The Book of Job: Do the Birds Fret About What They Must Have Done Wrong?

The Kennedy-Khrushchev Rapport and the Man to Uncover JFK’s Assassination: Part 3

For complete context, see Part 1.

Q: Who first pointed out that there were both clean and unclean animals on the ark, packed in together by necessity in order to ride out the flood, so they had better learn to get along? Who first cited that bit of Genesis scripture as a model that communist and capitalist nations would do well to follow, since with the advent of mutually annihilative nuclear weapons, they were pretty much both in the same—um—boat?

Unless you have been tipped off, I guarantee you will not get this. Who first said it?

It was Nikita Khrushchev, third Premier of the Soviet Union, that hothead of my youth who pounded his U.N. desktop with removed shoe and on another occasion, hollered, ‘We will bury you!’ Nikita Khrushchev, torchbearer of the communist world, who quoted the above Genesis story, quoting it for American President John F. Kennedy, who said he appreciated it—and the two went on to forge, via letter exchange, an unexpected and, to this day, mostly unknown friendship that would serve to stabilize the world. The Cuban Missile crisis almost blew it up. Both operated among the deep distrust of their own military advisors, who regarded their respective heads as naive, even traitorous, for consorting with the enemy. Kennedy arguably paid for it with his life.* Khrushchev paid for it with his career—he was shortly thereafter deposed.

Now, how did Khrushchev, peasant-born, atheist-indoctrinated, and throughly communist, learn of clean and unclean animals on the ark? I didn’t know that factoid myself until I became a Jehovah’s Witness. At Sunday school I had learned that ‘two-by-two, they entered the ark,’ that storybook vessel with happy bow and stern, whereas the Genesis description is little more than a floating box.

Did Khrushchev’s illustration come about through contacts with Pope John XXIII, who took a great interest in world affairs and, as leader of the Catholic Church, figured he had a role to play? He sent emissaries to Russia who were received by Khrushchev. Whatever was his role as catalyst, he too ‘paid’ with his life, but he paid as we all do—as a consequence of Adam. He died shortly thereafter of cancer. “[Kennedy, Khrushchev, and John XXIII] had a profound respect for one another all understood the extent to which their combined role was historically necessary, however diverse or contradictory their backgrounds. For a brief period their candle burned brightly. Then very quickly, the trio was lost to history,” writes Norman Cousins in his book, ‘The Improbable Triumverate: An Asterisk to the History of a Hopeful Year.’ Doesn’t the subtitle say it all? A hopeful year is all you get under the current system of human rule; then the candle is quickly snuffed out.

Nonetheless, even that hopeful year I knew nothing about. Cousin’s 1972 book, along with another book, from 2008, ‘JFK and the Unspeakable’ completely overturned my view of both Kennedy and Khrushchev. I was raised in a conservative home in which, during holidays, my even more conservative grandpa dominated dinner conversation. It took me the longest time to realize that my dad never really cared about politics; he simply didn’t have the wherewithal to tell his wife’s dad to zip it. Touring with my dad many years later through one of the tiny towns in upstate New York memorializing the war dead in the central square, he was troubled. “They shouldn’t do this,” he said. “It just glorifies it.”

In such a home where people didn’t have the energy to challenge grandpa and figured he was probably right anyway, more or less, John F. Kennedy was persona non grata. Nixon was our guy—Nixon, who was ‘tough on communism,’ the great evil of my youth. But he lost the 1960 election to Kennedy, lost because he sweated like a pig, we are told, on new-fangled television, whereas Kennedy adapted effortlessly to new medium of debate, poised and cool.

To be sure, Kennedy was also packaged as tough on communism—you had to so package anyone you wanted to sell back then, but how was anyone to know that he was really tough on communism? Grandpa would grouse. Maybe he would go weak-kneed—and it seemed like he did early on. “He beat the hell out of me!” he summarized after his first meeting with Khrushchev.

Kennedy was the first Roman Catholic U.S President. It was a significant concern at the time. Protestants were dubious of Catholics, fearing they might be subject to dictation from the Pope. Kennedy commented on the pre-election brouhaha that he didn’t know why there was such a fuss over him being Catholic since, “It’s not as though I’m a very good one.” His affairs were numerous, though this would not be known for a very long time; media back then hushed such things up. James W. Douglas, The Catholic author of ‘JFK and the Unspeakable,’ is plainly a devout man; repeatedly qualifies his glowing coverage of JFK with remarks that ‘he was no saint.’

He credits him, though, along with Khrushchev, for averting nuclear war—against the hostile and contemptuous advice of the military hard-liners long used to running the show. These hawks had calculated the odds of winning a nuclear war. They were willing, if need be, to give it a shot—and the bar for ‘need be’ was not very high. Pope John XXIII brought the two world leaders to understand the point of view of each other, at a time when to understand the enemy’s viewpoint was deemed all but traitorous. Had Kennedy not been Catholic it might not have happened. ‘Tell the Pope to mind his own business,’ President WASP would have said.

to be continued: 

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'


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