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What to Watch: Kennedy's Letter to the Pope

Happy Monday. Here are items from the weekend that we're watching:

–A funeral for Ted Kennedy was held on Saturday where Cardinal Theodore McCarrick read from Kennedy's letter to Pope Benedict XVI as well as from the Vatican response. Kennedy mentions what he believes to be his accomplishments, mentioning immigration, health care, and education.

"I have always tried to be a faithful Catholic, Your Holiness, and though I have fallen short through human failings, I have never failed to believe and respect the fundamental teachings of my faith. I continue to pray for God's blessings on you and on our church and would be most thankful for your prayers for me."

From Ross Douthat's New York Timescolumn: "It's worth pondering how the politics of abortion might have been different had Ted shared even some of his sister's qualms about the practice."

–On a related note, Mike Huckabee is defending his remarks that Kennedy would have been told to "go home to take pain pills and die" if he had been under President Obama's health care plan. He said on his Fox show that his comments were overblown and taken out of context, according to Politico.

"When diagnosed with brain cancer, Senator Kennedy didn't do as President Obama suggested and take a pain pill and ride it out at home," Huckabee said. "He went to the best medical facilities in the world, had surgery and sought to live as long and as strong as possible."

– Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) has spent about a tenth - $152,777 - of his campaign's receipts on the church he founded called Beloved Community Christian Church. Congressional Quarterly's Jonathan Allen uses it as an example of how candidates use the campaign finance system to redirect funds to institutions they care about. There's nothing illegal about his donations, but it's unusual because they are directed towards a church.

Terri Schiavo's father died in Florida at age 71.

Terry Schiavo died in 2005 after the feeding tube was removed according to her husband's wishes. Her heart stopped 15 years before, but her family had insisted she wanted to live.

–Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network, Regent University, and the Christian Coalition, is recovering from 10 hours of heart surgery. 79-year-old Robertson announced earlier this year that he would retire from his Regent post next year.

The Washington Postprofiles Brian Brown, executive director of National Organization for Marriage.

"He tries to help people see that opposing gay marriage does not make them bigots, that the argument should have nothing to do with hate or fear, and everything to do with history and tradition. The reason Brian Brown is so effective is that he is pleasantly, ruthlessly sane."

–And for something light, check out William Wan's analysis of politicians' "religious views" on Facebook at The Washington Post.

Barack and Michelle Obama: "Christian"

Michael Steele: "Catholic"

Bill Clinton: nada

Sarah Palin: nada

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