Two very prominent public voices fell silent yesterday. Earlier in the day, D. James Kennedy of the Coral Ridge Hour died at age 76. Then last night (early this morning local time), Luciano Pavarotti died at age 71.
From the Lycos Obituary for Pavarotti:
ROME (AP) — Luciano Pavarotti, whose vibrant high C’s and ebullient showmanship made him the most beloved and celebrated tenor since Caruso and one of the few opera singers to win crossover fame as a popular superstar, died Thursday. He was 71.
From the CNN Obituary for Kennedy:
MIAMI — The Rev. D. James Kennedy, a pioneering Christian broadcaster and megachurch pastor whose fiercely conservative worldview helped fuel the rise of the religious right in American politics, died Wednesday. He was 76.
Both men were known for what came from their mouths, and both were born in the 1930s. That’s where the similarity ends.
One man spent his life spreading joy and pleasure with his voice,
Much as the star power of Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov revived widespread interest in classical ballet in the 1970s and 1980s, Pavarotti’s beaming charisma and bravura style captured the attention of the late-20th-century audience for opera.
Widely considered the greatest tenor of his time, Pavarotti began his life modestly in Modena, the son of Fernando, a baker and amateur singer, and Adele, who worked at the local tobacco factory.
“I dreamed to become a singer when I was four and I hear my father singing in the church with a beautiful tenor voice,” he told CNN in a 1991 interview. “And I say to myself, well, let’s try to do something.”
The young Pavarotti — who played soccer with his town’s junior team — joined the church choir with his father and traveled with him to Wales, where the singing group won first prize at the Llangollen International singing competition.
while the other spent his time here spreading intolerance and hate with his.
Kennedy’s voice and face were known to millions through radio and television broadcasts, urging Christians to evangelize in their daily lives, while condemning homosexuality and abortion as assaults on the traditional family. His also preached on the major policy issues of the day, rejecting evolution and global warming.
Kennedy was influential in the founding of the religious right, but did so more often from behind the scenes, as attention focused on his allies, the Revs. Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell.
“He was never in the front ranks of evangelical leaders that were also political leaders, but he was active at every stage of the Christian right,” said John Green, a senior fellow at the Pew Forum for Religion & Public Life who specializes in religion and politics.
Kennedy was a founding board member of the Moral Majority, which Falwell formed in 1979. In 1996, Kennedy created Coral Ridge’s political arm, called the Center for Reclaiming America for Christ, to mobilize conservative Christians against gay marriage, pornography and what he called “judicial tyranny,” among other issues.
Kennedy also founded the Center for Christian Statesmanship, which organized Capitol Hill Bible studies and other events that attracted top government officials. He encouraged them “to embrace God’s providential purpose for this nation.”
“The Bible says, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and have dominion over the earth,'” Kennedy said in a 1996 interview with The Los Angeles Times. “God should be in every sphere of life: economics, business, education, government, art and science.”
While both men acquired no small amount of money using their voices, one used his money and influence to assist those with less fortune in places like Bosnia, Armenia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan.
Among his charities were a 1995 “Concert for Bosnia” that raised $8.5 million and other concerts that raised $3.3 million for refugees from Afghanistan and $1 million for refugees from Kosovo.
It was not just his annual extravaganza that saw Pavarotti involved in humanitarian work.
During the 1992-95 Bosnia war, he collected humanitarian aid along with U2 lead singer Bono, and after the war he financed and established the Pavarotti Music Center in the southern city of Mostar to offer Bosnia’s artists the opportunity to develop their skills.
He performed at benefit concerts to raise money for victims of tragedies such as an earthquake in December 1988 that killed 25,000 people in northern Armenia.
One used his money and influence to build larger sources of personal income.
Still, Kennedy was the author of more than 50 books and founded two schools _ Knox Theological Seminary and Westminster Academy, a K-12 Christian school near his church.
Coral Ridge Ministries, his radio and TV outreach arm, claimed a weekly audience of 3.5 million people for all its broadcasts. Kennedy’s TV show, “The Coral Ridge Hour,” has been airing reruns on more than 400 stations and is broadcast to more than 150 countries on the Armed Forces Network, his ministry says. Last year, the National Religious Broadcasters group inducted him into its hall of fame.
While neither man was perfect, I know which one I’ll miss. The world is indeed a lesser place for his loss.
From whence came the art: