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Discussing religion, spirituality and values. Amy Umble is the religion reporter for The Free Lance-Star. You can email her at
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Listening to news reports about Ted Kennedy this week has made me think a lot about redemption. So I was intrigued by an America Magazine article exploring the idea that Ted Kennedy’s work for the poor, the disabled and the sick could be seen as redemption for Chappaquiddick.

Commentors at the Catholic Web site wanted to focus on Kennedy’s abortion stance, suggesting not everyone is ready to make the leap to redemption from Kennedy’s work. 

I was very interested in a quote from Kennedy’s biographer: “I once asked him why someone as well off as him was so interested in the poor and the sick, and he said it was his mother’s Catholic teaching: the Sermon on the Mount and the passage from Luke that to those who much is given, much is expected.”

I wonder how often faith influences political decisions–not in the rhetoric we hear during campaigns but in smaller ways we never know about.  


  • MAVRICKinc

    We fail to know anything about tomorrow and what part of religion plays in the political arena, because we never ask. We don’t have to know anything about the chicken or the egg and in the best and worst of circumstance we continue to give the power of original thought, by proxy, over to those of political and religious persuasions.

    If you’re Presbyterian, Catholic, Jew, Muslim, Hindu or serving in the ideas and beliefs of Christian thought, you become just another piece of someone’s quest for market share.

    If redemption serves any purpose, one must know all of the facts, or the most they can cipher about any one person, stripped of the political and religious persuasions and marketing fascia.

    For some, and more than you could possibly imagine, the banner of Saving Grace is what comes with the inquiring mind, from one battlefield to the next.

    Redemption is the ultimate “get out jail card.” It’s called a second chance and is worth nothing more than what you or anyone else does with their lives.

    Redemption is of man’s making. HE doesn’t really care what any of us do with our next dime.

    That’s really up to us, not HIM. Many people have chosen to do the right thing, even if they have had to embrace the “other side” to accomplish their ends. It’s what we commonly call and reference as the “BOTTOM LINE.”

    How we get there comes from many traveled journeys, from many directions and from many different mind sets. We are charged with making our own mind up, with or without knowing how the fine print and details read.

    This is why, by proxy, we have only one person or group doing our thinking for us.

    We are just the ingredients that one person or group stir into a pot to see which ingredients rise from their boiling caldron to the surface of their soup, only to be skimmed off by whatever means, so that only THEIR appetites for the bland, the lie, mediocrity, divisiveness and control of what ingredients make up make their way to their bowel of soup that comes with a glass of skimmed milk.

    This is the human genome in all its glory, before HE ever merged into the best and worst of our thoughts and the consequences that come with both.

    From the “Origins of Totalitarianism”, by Hanna Arendt comes a passage on “The War on Truth” that speaks to the art of redemption and what we get for our money.

    The passage reads: “Before THEY seize power and establish a world according to THEIR doctrines, totalitarian movement conjure up a LYING WORLD OF CONSISTENCY which is more adequate to the needs of the human mind than reality itself; in which, through sheer imagination, uprooted masses can feel at home and are SPARED the never ending shocks which real life and real experiences deal to human beings and THEIR expectations. The force possessed by the totalitarian propaganda- before the movements have the power to drop iron curtains to prevent anyone’s disturbing, by the slightest reality, the gruesome quiet of an entirely IMAGINARY WORLD- lies in its ability to shut the masses off from the REAL WORLD.”

    Try putting this observation into play and see what you get back. It may be disguised as Utopia, but the harsh reality is that what you see is not necessarily what you get, less the earthly persuations and powers of redemption.

    Think of it as being found guilty of the crime, in a court of competent jurisdiction, with a presidental pardon at the other end of all the lies, to live out the rest of your life as someone who has been granted redemption, not by HIM but THEM.

    Redemption only bares false witness to the real truth, what ever that might be. It’s not a matter of what we used to be, in the framework of our most basic instincts, it’s about what we are today. So far, I don’t see much difference between that birth and the birth of todays human genome and the dance we do everyday to the tune of our DNA.

    I’m going to stick with saving grace.