Again, not bad. He added: "Separation of church and state cannot mean an absolute separation between moral principles and political power. The challenge today is to recall the origin of the principle, to define its purpose, and refine its application to the politics of the present."
The issues outlined in Kennedy's speech still resonate today, except now it is the Democratic presidential candidates who are talking more about faith and public policy, not the Republican candidate.
Getting to know Sen. Kennedy that night and being with him on many subsequent occasions, helped me understand him on a level far different from TV images and direct-mail appeals that ask for $25 dollars to keep him from doing things that will "ruin" America (the Left sent out similar appeals for money to save America from my side).
I came to see Sen. Kennedy not as a symbol, but as a fellow human being who does not get up in the morning seeking ways to harm the country. I know of things he has done for the poor and homeless on his own time and in his own way without a press release or a desire for public approval. I know of other hurts and concerns about which I would never speak.
In our poisoned political atmosphere, there are few friendships like this, at least few anyone can speak of publicly for fear of political ruin. It ought to be a privilege (it is certainly a command) for my conservative Christian friends to pray for Sen. Kennedy that he might be healed and restored to health. It is certainly mine and I don't care who on "my side" knows it.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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