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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Edward M. Kennedy, RIP

Edward M. Kennedy, RIP

It’s no secret that I was not a fan of the late Senator Ted Kennedy.  To me he represented and epitomized the entirely wrong approach to government.  He believed in big government, but I see government as the primary threat to individual freedom.  He wanted to push religion out of the public square, I feel that religion is the glue that holds a civil society together.  As a Catholic he personally opposed abortion, but as a Senator he was a strong advocate of all forms of abortion.  I believe in the right to life and that equal protection under the law applies as much to the unborn as it does to someone who is 90 years of age.  He favored liberal judges who rewrote the US Constitution to fit their liberal views, I believe in original intent.  

The aforesaid gives you a pretty good idea of how I disagreed with Senator Kennedy.  Nevertheless, by all accounts he was a personally charming individual, a man of fierce personal beliefs, hard working, and inspiring to many, especially his children.  

Conservative spokesmen have reminded us of his personal shortfalls—Chappaquiddick, his nearly out of control attacks on Robert Bork, and his lack of temperament and civil discourse on other occasions.

The fact is all individuals, rich or poor, intelligent or simple, liberal or conservative, have feet of clay.  That includes you and me.  We’re all sinners.  We’re all mortals. 

Commentators, at times of the death of national figures like Senator Kennedy, like to talk about someone being in heaven or hell based on how good they perceive that individual was.  At the time of Ronald Reagan’s death, one lout commented something about Reagan roasting on a spit.  Such talk shows ignorance of the Christian religion to which both Reagan and Kennedy publicly subscribed.  

It seems to be a general concept that “good” people go to heaven and “bad” people go to hell.  The catch is that there are no “good” people by God’s standards.  As it says in Romans 3:10, “There is no one righteous, not even one.”  What a quandary!  In Romans 3:20 it goes on to say, “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.”  So if heaven depends on our “goodness,” then you and I and Ted Kennedy and Ronald Reagan will all fall short.  We have a problem.

God has created this perfect place called heaven, but if He lets in one person who is imperfect, then heaven is no longer perfect.  But God, in His unfathomable love, provided a solution which He described clearly throughout the New Testament, and is summed up perfectly in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast.”

The solution that God provided doesn’t require anything of us except that we believe in Jesus.  That was God’s plan and Jesus’ message.  He said it repeatedly in the New Testament, and was especially clear in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Thankfully, our going to heaven doesn’t depend on how good we have been, but only on our faith in Jesus.  That is the rock solid foundation of the Christian message.  It’s what makes Christianity unique among the world’s religions.  It’s the hope upon which Ted Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and all the powerful and not-so-powerful people in the world can depend on for going to God’s heaven.

Through God’s grace we believe and our sins are washed away.  We can enter the perfect place God has created—heaven.  All the stupid, unthoughtful, unkind, and downright evil things we have done get washed away in the flood of Jesus’ righteousness.  We can’t do anything.  God has done everything.
Pro Gloria Dei!

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