« Supreme Court Orders Abuse Records Unsealed | Main | Kennedy's Catholic Faith »

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.

Kennedy delivered the 1983 speech at Jerry Falwell's Liberty Baptist College (now Liberty University) called "Faith, Truth and Tolerance in America." From the Associated Press:

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."

Comments

"....to speak for those who have no voice; to remember those who are forgotten; to respond to the frustration and fulfill the aspiration of all Americans seeking a better life in a better land....for all those whose cares have been our concern, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die."

Edward Moore Kennedy, August 12, 1980

The lion is no more.

I'll never forget the night Ted Kennedy gave that speech at the Democratic National Convention after failing to win his party's nomination for the presidency. I was staying in a one-room kitchenette in Liverpool, NY, just outside of Syracuse. It was - and remains - the greatest political oration of my lifetime.

Teddy Kennedy died late last night at the age of seventy-seven. In a life that is littered with ironies, here's the biggest one of all: His three older brothers - Joe, Jack and Bobby - are eternally frozen in our imagination as the personifications of youth. How poignant that our final image of the baby of that family will be as an old man, frail and mortally ill.

This truly is the end of an era, folks.

http://www.tomdegan.blogspot.com

Tom Degan

May he RIP

As the writer of Hebrews so powerfully stated, "It is appointed unto man once to die, after this the judgment." May God have mercy on Ted Kennedy...just as the rest of us will need HIS mercy also.

Our family’s prayers are with you Vicki in this time of grief. Our heart’s go out to the rest of Senator Kennedy’s family, his staff, and his many friends. May you rest in peace “Teddy”

This is the way a dynasty ends, not with a bang but with a whimper.
A startling reminder of our mortality in a larger-than-life man. May God have mercy on his soul.