DENVER - At the first official event Sunday of the Democratic National Convention, a choir belted out a gospel song and was followed by a rabbi reciting a Torah reading about forgiveness and the future.
Helen Prejean, the Catholic nun who wrote “Dead Man Walking,” assailed the death penalty and the use of torture.
Young Muslim women in headscarves sat near older African-American women in their finest Sunday hats.
Four years ago, such a scene would have been unthinkable at a Democratic National Convention. In 2004, there was one interfaith lunch at the Democratic gala in Boston.
But that same year, “values voters” helped re-elect President Bush, giving Democrats of faith the opening they needed to make party leaders listen to them.
The result was on display at Sunday’s interfaith service, staged in a theater inside the Colorado Convention Center, and will be evident throughout the convention agenda and on the sidelines.
There will be four “faith caucus” meetings, blessings to open and close each night, and panels and parties run by Democratic-leaning religious advocacy groups that didn’t even exist in 2004 — not to mention protests from religious groups and leaders opposed to the Democratic platform.
And of course no atheist, agnostic or secular humanist on the list of speakers. If the intention was to show diversity amongst the Democratic party and unity of people from all walks of life, then that should include everyone. Unfortunately, to the believers, Democrats or otherwise, a coalition that supports nontheistic views is not welcome. But those who value the separation of church and state still made their voices heard:
In June, the Madison,Wis.-based Freedom from Religion Foundation, a 12,000-member watchdog group for the separation of church and state, erected a billboard near the Colorado Convention Center that proclaimed “Imagine No Religion.” In early August the sign was changed to “Keep Religion Out of Politics.”
During the convention, the foundation will fund mobile billboards asking for church-state separation and broadcasting its view that religion is divisive.
“Faith does not unite us,” Freedom co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor said. “And this is a time when we should be in unity behind our secular government.”
Most liberals still support Obama despite the religious mumbo jumbo he believes in and that is interjected into politics from both sides now, (me NOT being one of them because I do not trust him...but trust McCain even less...what to do,what to do!). One thing I am certain about is that no matter who your support or who is elected, we must continue to make our voices heard that separation of church and state must be upheld and to keep our secular government from slipping towards a theocracy.