I recognize that I am late on this. Been busy enough to neglect the blog. But now a brief reflection on Senator Kennedy's death.
Being a Californian, I am about as removed from Massachusetts as a citizen of the United States can get. Yet I have thought about Senator Kennedy pretty regularly since the early 1990s. Around that time I attended a Ligonier Ministries conference in San Diego that included a general session presentation by Cal Thomas (this is worth the read), the conservative syndicated columnist. I do not remember all that he said that day, but I do recall his comments about Senator Kennedy.
Cal Thomas spoke of how Senator Kennedy reached out to many conservatives in friendship, even as he remained staunchly opposed to most conservative policies. And Thomas shared how he reached out to Kennedy, giving him a book on Christian faith. Kennedy was spiritually sensitive and a "seeker." Some time later Kennedy approached Thomas and pulled him aside. He said how he'd been reading the book and wanted to talk more. Thomas relayed how they spent years together discussing faith.
Of course none of us know a person's heart in the end. For many Christians it is difficult to reconcile unrelenting support for policies like abortion with a vital Christian faith. So many of us, though, are filled with contradictions. It too is hard to understand how many politically conservative Christians felt at ease viciously attacking Kennedy with slanders that would make the Apostle Paul blush. Cal Thomas told his audience how much those attacks hurt Kennedy and his wife. Kennedy claimed that there was much in his life that he regretted, and he sought forgiveness for his flaws. Unfortunately it was conservative Christians who were most vocal in refusing to forgive and continuing to chasten.
All the reflections I have read on Kennedy's life by conservatives who knew him praise him as an honorable man, a friend, and a person who (especially later in life) lived selflessly. I hope this is what remains of Kennedy's memory, and not the callous jibes by some conservatives. The United States thrives, not when political differences result in unrelenting personal attack, but when everyone, no matter their views, acts like good citizens.