Ted Kennedy died of brain cancer this past Tuesday, leaving behind a tainted legacy. He was the liberals' champion and the conservatives' arch-enemy. But this post is not about his works or where his soul might be resting right now (if it is resting at all). There is something he said at a dinner, more than 20 years ago, that has shed a spotlight on a current issue. The following is an excerpt from Yahoo's biographical article on him.
When a Moral Majority fundraising appeal somehow arrived at his office one day in the early 1980s, word leaked to the public, and the conservative group issued an invitation for him to come to Liberty Baptist College if he was ever in the neighborhood.
Pleased to accept, was the word from Kennedy.
"So I told Jerry (Falwell) and he almost turned white as a sheet," said Cal Thomas, then an aide to the conservative leader.
Dinner at the Falwell home was described as friendly.
Dessert was a political sermon on tolerance, delivered by the liberal from Massachusetts.
"I believe there surely is such a thing as truth, but who among us can claim a monopoly?" Kennedy said from the podium that night. "There are those who do, and their own words testify to their intolerance."
"Tolerance" has a become a buzzword and a banner, used by the secular left, to push an agenda of relativistic morality (or none at all) and gain acceptance of practices and beliefs that have historically been frowned upon by the populace-at-large. Drug use, sexual promiscuity and deviancy, abortion, and entertainment being some of the most obvious examples.
How ironic that Kennedy confessed a belief in (absolute) truth, but in the same breath denied the possibility that anyone could know it. By accusing such people of intolerance, he himself demonstrates a similar intolerance toward those very same folks.
In general, many vocal non-Christians accuse Christians of being intolerant, just because we espouse to the immutable truths found in the Word of God. But God Himself is the very image of tolerance. Anyone who's read the Bible cover-to-cover knows how infinitely patient and forgiving God is. Just look in the Books of Judges and 1 and 2 Kings, how often the Israelites rebelled against Him, and yet He always heard their pleas of repentance. Jesus patiently tolerated not only the doubts and nearsightedness of His own disciples, as well as the humiliation of imprisonment, torture, and the cross. How many sinners does He even today allow to live to a ripe old age?
On the other hand, God told the Israelites, as they were about to enter Canaan, to mercilessly and utterly wipe out the nations around them. He warned them that if they failed to do so, their heathen neighbors would be a stumblingblock to them and lead them astray. Naturally, God's chosen people disobeyed, and we all know the results. Likewise, I think Christians as a whole have been too tolerant of society's moral slipping and sliding, to the point where we have not only become the extremist minority, but we and our children are being assaulted every day by the filth that runs through our streets, like open sewers (paraphrasing from a Carman song).
Is there a way back? Some, looking at Revelation, say that things will just keep getting worse and worse, until He finally makes His triumphant return. But I say, even if the Titanic's sinking, we should not just sit there playing fiddle, but get as many as we can to the liferafts.
So don't let the atheists shoot you down with accusations of intolerance, hatred, and judgmentality, for they are guilty of the very same thing they accuse you of. Invite them to remove the beam out of their own eyes, before they start looking for slivers in yours.
As you can see, I don't tolerate people who call me intolerant. ;)
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