Dr. D. James Kennedy Dead At 76
Far right televangelist, Dr. D. James Kennedy has died at his home from the complications from his December heart attack. Certainly any right thinking person feels for his family at this time out of respect, however the future impact on his ministry which made extensive political use of religion is not known.
A son of an alcoholic mother, and a former college dropout who admitted to living a life of sin in the early 50's, Kennedy turned his life around while working as a dance instructor for Arthur Murray studios in 1953 and became influenced with God after hearing a radio broadcast.
But his heavy use of politics in his radio and TV programs such as THE CORAL RIDGE HOUR and attacks on the Gay community and the ACLU made him the subject of much distain in the progressive community. Kennedy seemed to abuse his gifts as a great communicator and preacher to promote his own brand of politics when he could have been more effective as a genuine preacher of the Gospel.
At one time, Kennedy was known for always talking to other passengers on his airline flights about God. But his witness was often hampered by his heavy handed use of right wing politics. His real promise as a great preacher was never really realized for this reason, and he will never be considered as a great like Billy Graham for this reason. Kennedy often used religion as a bait to lure viewers, but then switched the conversation quickly to promotion of his personal ultraconservative and usually highly partisan Republican Party politics. Kennedy's influence never seemed to extend far in his own community. Broward County, Florida tended to vote Democratic and Gay owned businesses flourish in the community. But part of the Kennedy myth was to bait gullible persons to donate millions to his organization with the claims from Kennedy that he could make some difference on issues of concern to social conservatives.
In more ways than not, Kennedy was merely a political huckster who found that using God was a path to promotion of his personal politics and gaining a personal fortune and living the high life. But he was also a uptight and angry man at many times, bragging about walking out of PG rated movie one time in disgust over some language used.
Kennedy also made some wild undocumented claims such as claiming that as many as 10,000 American university professors were Communists for example. And he claimed that the U.S. was a "Christian nation" and strongly opposed the accepted legal standards for seperation of church and state. Kennedy leaves behind a wife, adopted daughter and a $24.5 million dollar a year televangelist empire.