The Profiles in Courage Award 2013.
The Kennedy Society has decided to present for 2013 The Profiles in Courage Award - John F. Kennedy’s book “Profiles in Courage” – to Mrs. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend with this Laudation: For her courage to continue the legacy of her father, Robert F. Kennedy and her uncle John F. Kennedy. She has shown courage against apathy and indifference and against abuse of religion by mixing God with politics.
Despite the losses in the Kennedy family since World War II, present in her name, and in her youth, she has followed her father’s words, when he wrote to her in November 1963 after the assassination of her uncle, “As the oldest of the next generation you have a particular responsibility… Be kind to others and work for your country.”
In ‘grace under pressure’ she has explained it about her life after June 5, 1968,
“I cried a lot that summer. But I wanted to be connected to my father’s work, to his mission… and finding ways to speak out against apathy and indifference.”
Committed to public service she in her political career carried on and from 1995 to 2003 became Lieutenant Governor of Maryland. In her tenure she worked for reducing crime and promoting economic development in her commitment to the Kennedy legacy.
In her book “Failing America’s Faithful How Today’s Churches Are Mixing God with Politics and Losing Their Way,” 2007, she shows - as said by former President Clinton - that she is “a woman of passion, integrity and faith.” In the book she appreciates those like her father speaking against the inhumanity of the war in Vietnam and for the deeds of persons like Andrei Sakharov and Desmond Tutu. She clarifies when the hierarchy of her Church does not follow the words of its master, Lord Jesus, with statements like this: “The Church cared more about its tradition than its flock.” She takes care to be fair and refers to her Church’s support for civil rights and the Encyclical of Pope John XXIII “Peace on Earth,” April 1963, a response to the dangers of the Cuban Missile Crisis.She clarifies the difference between Jesus and the Church, with her statement about Catholic Bishops in US that they “refused to believe that they had anything to learn from listening to women.” And, “There is sin in holding fast to prejudices when time has revealed their error.”
In The Washington Post, 2010 Kathleen Kennedy Townsend responds with passion against Sarah Palin’s attacks on her uncle, John F. Kennedy’s speech, September 12, 1960 on church and state, and she asks: “Who anointed Sarah Palin our grand inquisitor?”
She points out that Palin praises Abraham Lincoln, but she forgets he declared,”Judge not…” She also defends her uncle’s speech, 1961 with the commands from Isaiah, to “undo the heavy burdens (and) let the oppressed go free.” She writes: “My father, Robert F. Kennedy wrote a magazine article titled “Suppose God is Black.”And she continues: “Teddy Kennedy believed that his stands were at one with his faith. He did disagree with Roman Catholic hierarchy at times. But as we have seen, the hierarchy’s positions can change, and in our church, we have an obligation to help bring about those changes.”
Speech by Svend Aage Nielsen
Mail to Svend Aage Nielsen from Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, 13 06 03