Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

January 7, 2013

Kaine has vision, espouses freedoms

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— Surely recent letter writers would not write a letter (Dec. 28) criticizing U.S. Senator-elect Tim Kaine without coming to hear his commencement speech to Bluefield College graduates on Dec. 15. Yet, it sounds like that is what they did, for his remarks belied their assertion that “Bluefield College’s position as a Christian liberal arts institution is sharply at odds with Mr. Kaine’s professional reflections.”

Tim Kaine spoke directly to the issue of what it means to graduate from a Christ-centered institution in 2012.

He straight-forwardly addressed how Christian faith can help people cope with tragedy, in particular, for the school shootings in Newtown, Conn. He addressed the question of how Jesus can help us to respond to grief and the pervasiveness of evil. Mr. Kaine reminded us of the beatitudes: “Blessed are they mourn: For they shall be comforted.” Our job as Christians is to comfort. He furthermore challenged students to continue to act in a Christ-like manner — to be comforters — in their post-graduation life. His counsel, to bring a Christ-centered sensibility to this violent, hurting world, seems in line with Bluefield College’s values to me, a practical application of Christian ethics.

Also, in the wake of the Newtown shootings, it is difficult to understand how someone could suggest that “strong opposition to the second Amendment” is “secular” and “amoral.”

It is an honor for Southwest Virginia (so often forgotten by Richmond, not to mention Washington) to have a U.S. senator interested in coming to our community. Mr. Kaine is a man with a vision for the future, not an adherent to failed economic policies of the past. His positions usually espouse individual freedoms. “Blessed are the merciful: For they shall obtain mercy.”

Rob Merritt