One of the reasons liberals are so hostile to public expressions of Christianity is because it threatens the monopoly that the religion of liberalism enjoys in the public square. The late Ted Kennedy was more than a leading senator, to liberal supporters. He was a secular saint. His appeal was essentially religious. He made it fairly explicit in his famous concession speech to the Democratic National Convention that re-nominated President Jimmy Carter. Kennedy reduced thousands of liberal delegates to tears with this emotional peroration:
May it be said of our Party in 1980 that we found our faith again.
And may it be said of us, both in dark passages and in bright days, in the words of Tennyson that my brothers quoted and loved, and that have special meaning for me now:
"I am a part of all that I have met
[Tho] much is taken, much abides
That which we are, we are --
One equal temper of heroic hearts
Strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end.
For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.
Not for Ted Kennedy the cool rationalism of his party’s founder, Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson had famously said “if I had to go to Heaven in a political party, I would not go at all.” For Ted Kennedy and for those weeping delegates, the Democratic Party holds that place that used to be reserved for church and church alone. It’s no wonder that those teary believers—more than 90 percent of whom tell researchers they never go to church—end their search for the meaning of life in political activism.
Analyze Kennedy’s Epistle to the Gentiles and you will see that the concern, the work, the cause, the hope, the dream that is the subject of his panegyric is government. Government giveth and Government taketh away. The only Government worthy of that capital G is one that provides health, education, and welfare. All Americans are invited into the Democratic Church. Only the heretical conservatives are excluded.
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