Today is John Sidney McCain III’s birthday. The war hero, longtime senator, and presidential candidate would have been eighty-two years old.
His body is lying in state in the Arizona state capitol today. A private service will be held at 10 a.m., then the public can pay their respects beginning at 2 p.m. local time.
Tomorrow, a memorial service will be held at North Phoenix Baptist Church, his home congregation. The event will be livestreamed on McCain’s website.
Friday, McCain’s body will lie in state inside the US Capitol Rotunda. Only thirty other people in US history have been so honored. His Senate colleagues and staff will honor him in an 11:00 a.m. ceremony, then members of the public will pay their respects from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
On Saturday, a televised funeral service will begin at 10 a.m. in the Washington National Cathedral. At McCain’s request, former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama will deliver eulogies. On Sunday, McCain’s family will hold a private service at the US Naval Academy before laying his body to rest at the academy’s cemetery.
What explains John McCain’s abiding popularity across our land?
One: He put principles before politics
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called McCain “a great American patriot, a statesman who put his country first and enriched this institution through many years of service.” Such praise from a leader of his own political party is unsurprising.
But Chuck Schumer, a Democrat who serves as Senate Minority Leader, also honored McCain: “John’s dedication to the country and to the men and women who served it was unwavering. His life is a story of American heroism personified.” Other Democrats, from Barack Obama and Joe Biden to his fellow senators and Arizona constituents, have echoed Schumer’s praise.
McCain was a staunch conservative (he had a lifetime 81 percent conservative voting score with the conservative Club for Growth), but he worked with Democrats on finance reform and immigration, among other issues. His willingness to put principle above partisan politics resonates with Americans who want our leaders to work for the common good.
Scripture teaches: “Whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin” (James 4:17). Jesus promised, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6).
Our postmodern culture no longer believes in objective truth, but it still values authenticity. Political commentator Peggy Noonan: “Sincerity and competence is a strong combination. In politics, it is everything.” Charles Spurgeon noted: “Sincerity makes the very least person to be of more value than the most talented hypocrite.”
Two: He was honest about his failures
None of us lives by our principles perfectly. McCain’s marriage to his first wife, Carol, ended after Vietnam. He later said, “My marriage’s collapse was attributable to my own selfishness and immaturity more than it was to Vietnam, and I cannot escape blame by pointing a finger at the war. The blame was entirely mine.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Jim Denison