The Democratic Party Convention
All that "God talk"
One of the things I noted about John Kerry's speech at the Democratic Party's Convention a week ago is that Mr. Kerry made reference to God on at least one occasion. As a person interested in religion (and Christianity specifically), I was pleased to hear that the party that I personally believe stands against any form of significant, living Christianity would reference God in its major candidate's speech. If you missed it, John Kerry said something to the effect that the parties shouldn't be arguing whether God is on their side, but whether we are on God's side. Ignoring for the moment that George Bush had said those same words in a speech a few years ago, it was nice to hear the delegates clap at this statement instead of making the catcalls I was expecting to hear when God is mentioned.
You see, even if I were inclined to like some or even most of the Democratic Party platform, it is difficult to support a party that adopts a world view the minimalizes people of Christian faith. I think John Leo has it right:
I am certainly not a devotee of the Republican party which I view as having flaws. But just as the Democrats are running a strong "Anybody But Bush" campaign, I find that the jarring anti-Christian stances held by the Democrats (combined with their support of abortion on demand) leaves me as one of those Americans who is part of the Republican party by default. The Democrats have chosen time and time again to support causes that are antithetical to my views as a thinking, informed and active Christian.Rub your eyes. Did we just see a Democratic convention brimming with flag-waving patriotism, respect for the military, and references to God and values? Why, yes, I believe we did. Barack Obama, the impressive new African-American star of the Democratic Party, told us how blue-state Americans "worship an awesome God," the implication being that Democrats generally are deeply committed to religion and overcome by the power and majesty of God. Even semialert people who follow politics with one eye shut know this isn't really the case. As umpteen scholars have pointed out, the Democrats are morphing into a secular, or nonbelieving party, while the most fervent nonminority Christians are moving into the Republican column.
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The Boston convention was a festival of values that the Democratic Party either does not hold or does not want mentioned much in the public arena. Has any Democratic gathering paid so much positive attention to the Pledge of Allegiance? Obama promoted the pledge. Ted Kennedy offered an improbable (for him) twofer: By using the phrase "under God," he invoked both faith and the pledge. The party platform announced that the "common purpose" of Americans is to "build one nation under God." But the pledge has been under heavy fire from Democratic pressure groups for years, both for the "under God" line and the sheer fact that it is said in schools. Millions of Americans view the pledge as an affirmation of community and national commitment. Among Democratic groups, it is usually viewed as mandatory patriotism.
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Perhaps the most jarring of the "values" themes in Boston was the convention's attempt to identify with religious voters. Come to the Democratic convention and sing "Amazing Grace." Many religious people, of course, are Democrats. But the secular elites who control the party have worked long and hard to marginalize religion in America and to banish it from the public square. Two political scientists, in a 2001 study published in the Public Interest, concluded that the origins of the culture war can be traced to "the increased prominence of secularists within the Democratic Party and the party's resulting antagonism toward traditional values." The authors, Louis Bolce and Gerald De Maio, describe a "secularist putsch" among the Democrats, explaining that it made the Republicans the traditionalist party "by default more than by overt action." According to Bolce and De Maio, the secularist constituency is as important to Democrats today as organized labor. Under these circumstances, invoking God (seven mentions in the Democratic platform) drags marketing to the point of hypocrisy. Get used to it. The Democrats will be strongly religious--right up till November 2.