In the aftermath of the 2004 presidential election, the Democrats were roundly accused of losing the "moral values voters" in America, and of being the party of "secularists" who were hostile to faith and religion. The very first Democrat to call me and ask to talk about that accusation and how to change the moral debate in America was Ted Kennedy. He invited me to his home, where he and his wife, Vicki, engaged me in a long and very thoughtful conversation into the night about the relationship between faith, morality, and politics. Their own deep Catholic faith was evident and their articulation of it very impressive. Our discussion was not partisan at all -- it was not about how to win religion back for the Democrats. Rather, we focused on the great moral issues facing the nation, and how we as people of faith needed to respond to them.
On the occasion of his death, I pray that God may now move us as a nation to address the greatest commitment of Sen. Kennedy's life -- the need for a comprehensive reform of the health-care system in America -- as a deeply moral issue and one that calls forth the very best that is within us. May we honor the life and death of Sen. Edward Kennedy by laying aside the rancor, lies, fear, and even hate that has come to dominate the health-care debate in America this summer, and regain our moral compass by recovering the moral core of this debate: that too many Americans are hurting and suffering in a broken and highly inequitable health-care system, and that it is our moral obligation to repair and reform it -- now.
To learn more about health-care reform, click here to visit Sojourners' Health-Care Resources Web page.
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