Me with my lovely wife, Kathy:

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I was not a fan of Ted Kennedy's politics. He was the leader of the Left. I am mostly a conservative. While he may have argued against various expensive, and expansive, programs at different time in his career, he was clearly part of the movement that stretched the US government envelope in the direction of bigger government, impacting, even controlling, a steadily increasing portion of the personal lives of US citizens. In his younger years Senator Kennedy became well known for his failure to control various appetites. I regretted, and continue to regret the fact that the well-known politician was clearly part of the redefining of what is accepted, and even expected, morally and ethically, in the realm of public service. Apparently, in his latter years, the Senator gained the victory over some of these personal demons.

I did, however, observe a trait in Kennedy's public career that is admirable; one we could use more of in politics on a local, state, and federal level; one that many conservative and even Christian leaders need to learn. Ted Kennedy once spoke at Liberty University. He did not compromise on his liberal views, but he made his points in a gracious way. There was no doubt that the late Rev. Jerry Fallwell was his political counter-pole, yet he graciously responded to Fallwell's invitation and behaved like a gentleman. (BTW, he was treated like one, while on the Liberty campus.) In the Senate Orin Hatch was close friends with Kennedy. Again these men were, on most issues, political enemies, yet they were united by a profound friendship. Brent Alderman comments on this unexpected trait in the Lion of Senate, referring to the remarkable friendship between Kennedy and conservative columnist, Cal Thomas. I'm not suggesting that we compromise on matters that are non-negotiable, or that we adopt a go-along-to-get-along mode. I am appealing for a more civil tone. I fear that too many of us look to Sean "Never-Let-Them-Finish-A-Sentence" Hannity rather than to our Lord, Who though He clearly confronted evil, was always more concerned about people's souls than their politics.

This is not just a concept that I am recommending for the big guys up in Washington. My little part of the world is currently involved in an argument over consolidation. A friend told me that some former friends were still divided because of the last consolidation vote, twenty-five years ago. My church, not long ago had to make a decision related to our building. Unfortunately, in the discussions leading to the decision, eternal values sometimes were sacrificed for stuff that won't even last a lifetime. Even when talking politics over a cup of coffee, I need to maintain a civil tone.
  • We need to remember that hindsight has shown us that there are times when we are sure that we are right, but we aren't.

  • We need to be reminded that the person who holds to whatever ridiculous view we are arguing against is a creature of God, a person who bears His image, and one for whom Christ died. How can we have such disdain for one whom Christ loves so much?

  • Ultimately, the answer is not the president, senator, governor, or dog-catcher we elect, but the Savior we serve.
Last night I prayed for Senator Kennedy's family. I encourage you to the same--whatever your political persuasion.

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