This was the great offense laid on Jesus of Nazareth, whose name was invoked on several occasions at the Kennedy funeral and burial. Those who hated and rejected Jesus did so because He exposed what was in them and no one likes his dark soul exposed to the light. It is one reason some of us wear makeup and nice clothes, blow-dry our hair and why others consider plastic surgery as they age. If we seek to cover external flaws in these ways, how much more would we undertake to hide the internal ones? Vanity, vanity; all is vanity.
This is not to absolve Senator Kennedy of his sins, only to say that we are neither the judge, nor the one who can absolve. We can't forgive ourselves, or as I put it to a TV interviewer who asked me "bottom line: Senator Kennedy, a good man?"
"Only God is good," I responded. "The rest of us are sinners."
It is not hypocritical to care for someone who behaves badly. In fact, it is the height of love to do so because you want him to have a changed life and attitude that will help him behave better for his own sake and that of his family. Denouncing that person and condemning him to Hell is not likely to make him more open to things that will lead him in the other direction. Who among us has lived a perfect life that would be acceptable to God?
Twila Paris wrote a song that might speak even to hard hearts when they think of the One who forgave their own sins and who was never accused of going wobbly: "How beautiful the tender eyes that choose to forgive and never despise."
I strongly opposed much of what Senator Kennedy proposed, but I cared for him as a person. Those without sin, send your condemnation stones to this newspaper, or to the other address provided.
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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