A while back it was announced that the Democratic National Convention will be kicked off with what’s being called the “first-ever Democratic National Convention interfaith gathering“. The polarization among loyal democrats seemed nearly instant, some seeing it as a line in the sand and others writing it off as nothing but a show to win votes. The latter was my initial reaction; it just seemed to surreal. The overall weirdness of the ordeal never left my mind but I’ve been able to mentally write it off as a song and dance maneuver to get the fence-sitters until very recently. The Saddleback church event happened, my mind exploded and I saw things a little differently. It wasn’t just an issue of the DNCC alienating atheists, humanists and other generally godless folk anymore, it was all out assault on secular politics.
Keep in mind the difference between being an atheist and believing in a secular government. One is a political view while the other is a world view. You can be of any faith, worship any god you like and still believe in a secular form of government. I only point this out because there seems to be a common juxtaposition of the terms.
That’s out of the way…back to the Saddleback church event. Here we had both candidates agreeing to appear at a forum, in a church that seats 22,000 people a week, lead by pastor Rick Warren. “Mr. Warren…said he had called each man personally to invite him to his event, which will focus on how they make decisions and on some of Mr. Warren’s main areas of focus, like AIDS, poverty and the environment.” That sounds OK, right? Both sides speaking in a forum, no drilling of questions, no yelling, just a conversation about important issues. Unfortunately, that’s not quite how things went, not at all.
What we got was a ‘by admission only’ church fundraiser, endorsed by both parties, where each candidate waxed quixotic on their past, issues of faith and what ‘god’ means to them. What we got was a religious litmus test of the candidates which the media and general populous alike ate up. Final nail in the coffin for my blue vote in November? Damn near. That inkling of “must remove GOP from the White House” was a splinter in my mind and hard to ignore.
This is all old news by this point. We’ve seen the news and read the papers. The lines have more or less been drawn and the convention will go off as planned. Curious as to what else the convention had in store I started poking around the DNCC press releases for a schedule or overview of some sort. What I found was nothing short of amazing. Secular representation by a major U.S. political party isn’t just dead…pieces are still being cleaned off the freeway. We’ve finally crossed the Rubicon into social absurdity. Highlights:
“Democrats have been, are and will continue to be people of faith – and this Convention will demonstrate that in an unprecedented way,” said Leah D. Daughtry, CEO of the DNCC. “As Convention CEO and a pastor myself, I am incredibly proud that so many esteemed leaders from the faith community will be with us to celebrate this historic occasion and honor the diverse faith traditions inside the Democratic Party.”
“Each night of the Convention, the official program will begin with an invocation and end with a benediction delivered by a national faith leader or an individual who is active in their local faith community.”
“National leaders from a range of denominations will host the Convention’s first-ever Faith Caucus meetings during the week where they will discuss bringing people of faith together to address some of the most pressing issues of our time.”
“On Tuesday, August 26, the Faith Caucus will hold two panel discussions – “Common Ground on Common Good,” an opportunity to discuss finding common ground on the moral issues of the day, and “Faith in 2009: How an Obama Administration will Engage People of Faith.” On Thursday, August 28, the Caucus will convene for “Moral Values Issues Abroad,” a panel on how the faith community can work together to address pressing moral issues around the world, and “Getting Out the Faith Vote,” a session on how to appropriately engage communities of faith in the 2008 election.”
What really gets to me about this whole situation, the coup de grâce, is the 2008 party platform and the complete lack of it being mentioned. There’s some REALLY good stuff in there (federally funded science administration, firm stance against donations from political action groups, stripping power from the Patriot Act…etc etc etc) but we’re not hearing word one about it. The entry on faith is a paragraph on the bottom of page 48, that’s it, yet the entire convention is laid out like an ad campaign for faith based initiatives. Why? Society. The majority of American’s think it’s more important to know who’s more down with jesus than how either plan to fix the health care system, stabilize the energy crisis or balance out tax laws (among other things).
They’re not just posturing for votes, they’re not just feeding into the delusional idea that matters of faith are more important then matters of state and country, they’re feeding it on silver platters with a grand buffet.
I do think Obama could be a good leader. I’d like to think he’s just what we need in America after eight years of Bush but so far I’ve only seen that on paper, printed words, not actions and I’m just not convinced.
So, unless we see a paradigm shift into reality, cya’ Dems…it’s been fun.
“When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”
– Sinclair Lewis