Ted Kennedy (1932-2009)

Senator Ted Kennedy died early this morning from brain cancer. He will be remembered as one of the most powerful senators ever to have served, as well as one of the Senate’s most effective orators. He was the third-longest-serving senator in American history. He will also be remembered for his infamous role in a 1969 scandal that came to be known as “Chappaquiddick,” an auto accident that left a young woman dead. Many think that this incident ruined any hope that he might one day be elected president.

I saw Senator Kennedy in person one time a few years ago during a trip to Washington, D.C. I saw him inside the Capital building in the corridors beneath the floor of the Senate. The Senate was in session, and he was busy talking and dealing when I happened upon him.

He was 77 years old.

Psalm 90:10-12
10 As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years,
Or if due to strength, eighty years,
Yet their pride is but labor and sorrow;
For soon it is gone and we fly away.
11 Who understands the power of Thine anger,
And Thy fury, according to the fear that is due Thee?
12 So teach us to number our days,
That we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom.


  • paul

    whether you’re liberal or conservative, whether you agree with the way that he tried to get things accomplished or not, one has to acknowledge that the poor, the downtrodden and the meek were at the center of much of his life’s work.

    I honestly don’t know how seriously he took his faith, or if he took it seriously at all. That is for God and God only to judge.

    However, I do know that you can judge a man’s faith by the fruit that he bares, and at least later in his life, the fruit that he bore (or tried to bare) makes playing percussion and writing for a living seem pretty stupidly insignificant.

    RIP Ted Kennedy.

  • Darius T

    He tried to “bare” fruit? Is that similar to paring fruit? πŸ™‚ Sorry, had to ask.

    “[O]ne has to acknowledge that the poor, the downtrodden and the meek were at the center of much of his lifeÒ€ℒs work.”

    The same could be said of Karl Marx, yet based on the effect of his ideas, none hated the poor more than he. I suppose in today’s postmodern age, as long as one is deeply committed to something, it doesn’t particularly matter to what he is committed. It’s the depth of the commitment that matters, not the object of that commitment. (Doug Wilson made this exact point on his blog today, albeit on a different topic).

    I pity the man because it’s unlikely that He knew Christ (though as you said, Paul, only God knows) and because he wasted his life pursuing the wrong worldview.

    All in all, he’s totally irrelevant. A hundred people far more important to the Kingdom died today in Ghana or Argentina or China, yet they pass away into obscurity.

  • russware

    Darius, bless your heart, you are utterly ungracious and over-the-top as expected.

    Perhaps Ted Kennedy was no model Christian… if he was at all, but I can find no fault in Paul’s expression of the good the man did regardless. And I find your comments, which seem to be intended as a rebuff to Paul, as simply a mean-spirited flailing at the air.

    As for Kennedy’s moral conduct and views, as far as I know we are ALL wretched sinners saved by virtue of grace alone, not political affiliation.

    THAT is gospel (good news) for ALL of us!

  • Darius T

    Matthew, huh? Pursuing the wrong worldview isn’t proof of a lack of faith, but it’s not a good sign of it either. If one’s worldview shows little sign of being informed by God’s Word, then it seems less likely that one knows the Giver of the Word. But who knows, God will judge Teddy K. according to where he put his ultimate trust.

  • Darius T

    Yes, I agree. However, based on the “fruits” of his life, and on the theological problems inherent to Roman Catholicism, it seems unlikely that his faith was in Christ. But maybe it was, and that would be great (though it would have been nice to see that faith lived out).

  • Hutch

    Ted Kennedy led the opposition to the confirmation of Robert Bork in 1987 (primarily because Kennedy knew that Bork would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade). If Bork had been confirmed, Roe v. Wade would have been overturned by at least 1992. Ted Kennedy was personally responsible for the millions of babies that have been aborted since 1992.

  • Darius T

    Hutch, you beat me to it. Very good point.

    That said, Kennedy was only partially and indirectly responsible for those deaths. More directly responsible are the mothers and fathers who killed them and the doctors who aided and abetted them in those horrible deeds.

  • Darius T

    As always… πŸ™‚

    By mild, I meant someone who doesn’t think anarchy is a good thing. I know a few libertarians who, in their idealistic ideas, don’t see room for any government. I don’t find that particularly Scriptural or compelling, or based in reality.

  • paul

    Darius —

    those libertarians that you mention that don’t want any government only don’t want any government until they need to call the police, fire department or feel the need for military intervention. Their idea of shoestring government is so riddled with holes as to be laughable. Those are the folks that you just point towards the TV and remind them that the basketball game will start any minute now…

  • Darius T

    Actually, the ones I’m talking about make a pretty good case and have very well-thought out ideas. They may have a point, but since the chances of us ever trying their ideas out are zero, what’s the point wasting time over a utopia rather than modifying the system we have right now?

  • Nathan

    “However, I do know that you can judge a manÒ€ℒs faith by the fruit that he bares, and at least later in his life, the fruit that he bore (or tried to bare) makes playing percussion and writing for a living seem pretty stupidly insignificant.”

    When a public figure of the stature of Ted Kennedy dies, it is always difficult to critique the man’s life apart from the political mindset that one has. As Paul notes, Kennedy believed himself to be about the poor. As Darius and Hutch have pointed out, his pro-abortion position is diametrically opposite to that mindset for those of us who see the sanctity of life as a benefit to the poor.

    Point being, one cannot separate their political viewpoint from their assessment of the life of a high-profile political figure. While we can pray for the family, it is almost impossible to separate the man from his politics. So, many who despised the man, who fought vehemently against him in the Congress will now flower accolades on him at his passing. The same was done when Reagan died by his opposition.

    What cannot be denied is that Ted Kennedy came from an activist family (I don’t mean that viciously) whose father manipulated however he could to get his family into powerful positions. JFK and Bobby were cut in that same mold and Ted followed suit. Much like the Bush family has done. And much like many other powerful families in our nation’s history.

    Another powerful man in history once said, “The conclusion when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. Because God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”

  • ex-preacher

    Hang on Darius – are you saying that aborted babies might go to hell? That doesn’t seem right.

    Of course, it’s not biblical or logical to support murder. That is exactly what makes Ted Kennedy such a hero. He sacrificed his own salvation so that millions of unborn would go to heaven.

  • Darius T

    “Hang on Darius Γ’β‚¬β€œ are you saying that aborted babies might go to hell? That doesnÒ€ℒt seem right.”

    We don’t know either way, but we do know that the Bible is pretty mute on the subject. But we do know that all people are born into sin and with a sin nature, which deserves hell. Based on that, we would have to say that unless God steps in and gives saving grace to babies, they are doomed. That’s all we can say based on the Bible. I would like to think because we know that God is a merciful God that He has mercy on all babies, but there isn’t Scriptural warrant for that belief.

  • ex-preacher

    What sort of justice is that? Personally, I don’t think anyone – no, not even Hitler – deserves an eternity of torture. But babies? What a sad religion you have. Does it bother you at all that you may be more merciful than the God you worship?

  • Michael Templin

    ex-preacher, you are foolish. I deserve damnation because of my lawlessness and so do you. We have all broken the law of God, and in doing so have been rebellious against our creator. It is God’s graciousness that he saves us from our vocation as “children of Satan” and gives us a new title “Sons of God”. No one…not even babies deserve deserve God’s grace…hence the reason why it is grace. Repent and believe the Gospel.

    the Gospel in a nut shell: God created all things. Man rebelled. In rebellion there is cursing, yet a promise of restoration. God used the law, prophets, Judges and a kingdom to bring men into His kingdom by faith. Yet he ultimately sent His son Jesus, the promised King and Messiah to seek and save that which is lost. This king Jesus acted in spirit filled humanity and accomplished the will of God, without sin. Yet when the government and religious authorities put Him to death, the grave could not hold Him…He was vindicated in resurrection and reigns victorious over the dominion of Satan, because His Father is eternal and just. This same Jesus, the Great I AM is setted at the right hand of God the Father and we currently long for the finality of our salvation, the resurrection of our bodies in the kingdom of God. He will return, and He will crush Satan, and His kingdom will be irresistible. Not only will his salvation be for man-kind, but for all creation.

    You must repent (turn from your sin), and Christ Jesus must be the sole object of your faith. If you are not born-again you cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. Not only that, but the promises of our salvation do not belong to you and you will be defeated, just like satan.

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