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At the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library yesterday.(Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

“There is a brutal calculus at the heart of one’s assessment of [Ted] Kennedy,” Mark Ambinder writes on his Atlantic blog. “Did his latter years make up for his serious, harmful transgression?” Ambinder is referring, of course, to the Chappaquiddick incident, in which Kennedy caused and then took his time in reporting the accidental death of a young woman—and he argues that “how one answers that question, I think, is as much a matter of how one views redemption.” In the political arena, he continues, Kennedy fares better according to a Jewish view of redemption as “an active, continuing process, one where doing good will hasten the coming of the Messiah” rather than a Christian version, “where the expiation of one’s sins are entirely the province of God, and not necessarily intelligible or accessible in our earthly lives.” Luckily for Kennedy, he concludes, the Jewish view is in fact the dominant one in contemporary American politics, despite frequent performances of born-again Christianity among politicians: even “Southern Baptist Bill Clinton’s rehabilitation is a work in progress, but Jewish in its character: he keeps his mouth shut and does good works.”

The Jewish Redemption Of Ted Kennedy [Atlantic]





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