August 26, 2009
Ted Kennedy Has Died
Senator Ted Kennedy known as the "Lion of the Senate," died at age 77 earlier tonight after battling brain cancer.
Hailing from a large Catholic family, Kennedy was the brother of former President John F. Kennedy and New York Sen. Robert Kennedy, who were both assassinated. He was also brother of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who was hailed after her recent death among pro-life groups for her efforts.
Kennedy's presidential aspirations were damaged after a 1969 crash that left a woman dead, and was defeated in the 1980 primary by former President Jimmy Carter.
The Washington Post is calling him "one of the most powerful and influential senators in American history." According to CNN, he played major roles in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act and the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act.
Update: Sojourners President Jim Wallis released a statement, saying that Kennedy had invited Wallis to his home to discuss the relationship between faith, morality, and politics after the 2004 election.
Their own deep Catholic faith was evident and their articulation of it very impressive. Our discussion was not partisan at all--it was not about how to win religion back for the Democrats. Rather, we focused on the great moral issues facing the nation, and how we as people of faith needed to respond to them.
When a Moral Majority fundraising appeal somehow arrived at his office one day in the early 1980s, word leaked to the public, and the conservative group issued an invitation for him to come to Liberty Baptist College if he was ever in the neighborhood.
Pleased to accept, was the word from Kennedy.
"So I told Jerry (Falwell) and he almost turned white as a sheet," said Cal Thomas, then an aide to the conservative leader.
Dinner at the Falwell home was described as friendly.
Dessert was a political sermon on tolerance, delivered by the liberal from Massachusetts.
"I believe there surely is such a thing as truth, but who among us can claim a monopoly?" Kennedy said from the podium that night. "There are those who do, and their own words testify to their intolerance."