The Kennedy funeral: Caroline Kennedy's son speaks out against "the old politics … of straight against gay"

The camera paused several times on George W. Bush, seated in a second row; he looked like a fidgety child, his eyes constantly moving, as though he could not bear to sit still and had no sense of what was being said.

President Obama and Teddy's two sons gave moving eulogies as well. Tears flowed when Ted Jr. recalled his father taking him sledding as we was recovering from the amputation of his leg. Twelve-year-old Teddy slipped and fell and told his dad he couldn't climb the hill with his artificial leg. His father picked him up and looked him in the eye. "I know you can," he said. "If it takes all day, you and I will climb this hill together." And so, with dad's hands supporting young Teddy's waist, they climbed the hill.

Perhaps my favorite part came when an assortment of Teddy's grandchildren, nieces and nephews came forward to take turns in leading Intercessory Prayers. This is a standard part of the Catholic (and Episcopal) Mass, in which a series of sentences are offered for peace, for plenty, and for the well-being of the Church and the World. After each sentence, the congregation answers: "Lord, hear our prayer." The first young woman said they had adapted the prayers from Teddy's own words to honor his life's work. And so each child came forward to ask that everyone should have health care, an education, a living wage, etc.

One of them was Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg's youngest son Jack:  "For a new season of hope that my Uncle Teddy envisioned, where we rise to our best ideals, and close the book on the old politics of race and gender, group against group, and straight against gay, we pray to the Lord."

None of the eminent priests who stood behind him, including Cardinal O'Malley, blinked an eye. (This is, after all, Massachusetts.)

Gotta love those liberal Irish-Catholics.

Posted by Jim Harper

Jim Harper is the former editor of Creative Loafing/Weekly Planet. He wrote this post after watching the video of the Ted Kennedy funeral on Sat. Aug. 29.

We're accustomed, I suppose, to people of all political stripes offering up their religious faith as justification for their most cherished political values. But it was moving, nonetheless, to hear Teddy's parish priest cite so many parts of the Christian Gospel, especially those parts about remembering that the world is larger than our own concerns and that our highest calling is to serve the poor, the lonely, the hungry, the sick and dispossessed. It was not hard for the priest to make specific connections to Senator Kennedy's career.

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