Monday, August 25, 2008

Separation of Church and Conventions

While we Catholics focus on Biden and the problem of abortion-supporting Catholics, the Democratic Party has been trying to present themselves as a party of faith. From NPR:

For the first time ever, Democrats have planned "faith caucus meetings" led by an array of religious and spiritual leaders, including Christians, Muslims and Jews. Democrats want to convince voters that they are putting their faith in action — and show that Republicans haven't cornered the market on family values or faith.

"Everybody woke up after the last election and realized the Democratic Party had not done well dealing with religious voters," says Steven Waldman, founder of the online spiritual center [...]

"Republicans were able to use religion more effectively," says Jim Wallis, founder of faith-based Sojourners magazine.

The agenda of the religious community has changed, Wallis says. As recently as two years ago, many religious Americans were focused only on issues such as gay marriage and abortion.

The new generation of religious citizens "has a wider, deeper agenda that includes poverty, protecting the environment or 'creation care', war and peace, human trafficking and Darfur, for instance," he says.

This convention will try to juggle all of these concerns. "I believe in separation of church and state, and so does Barack Obama," says Wallis. "But that doesn't mean segregation of moral values from public life or the banishing of religious language from the public square. Dr. [Martin Luther] King invoked the prophets Jeremiah, Isaiah and Jesus. He spoke with a Bible in one hand and the constitution in the other."

This pernicious nonsense has got to stop at once.

What pernicious nonsense? Why, the idea that until yesterday the only "faith-based" voters were WASPs who cared primarily about stopping abortion (because they want to control women) and gay marriage (because they hate gays).

Because, you see, all deeply committed Christians are troglodytes like that. They want to burn the Constitution and impose the Christian version of sharia on America. They don't care about enlightened issues like Darfur and the environment and peace and human trafficking--genocide, Hummers, military stuff and cheap labor is meat and drink to these people, or at least most thinking people say so. They act like abortion is somehow actual evil as if such backward medieval notions as good and evil still mean anything in the age of HDTV and text messaging. And we're pretty sure that, living in Southern Gospel Utopia, they've never met a real-live gay person, because that's the only reason they could possibly want to keep gay people from exercising their God or Deity of Your Choice-given right to an abor...wait, wrong speech...marriage.

Thankfully for the Democratic party there's no shortage of spiritual or even downright religious people who will grasp at the opportunity to shill for the Party of Dead Babies. From the NPR piece:

Each evening of the convention will be punctuated by an invocation and a benediction by religious leaders, including a rabbi from Washington, D.C., a Catholic nun from Ohio and a Greek Orthodox archbishop from New York. There will be other faith-based panels, too, geared toward spiritual discussion. One is titled "Faith in 2009: How an Obama Administration will Engage People of Faith."

Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter spoke at an interfaith service on Sunday. The convention CEO, Leah D. Daughtry, is a preacher.

Now, in one sense I could understand a religious leader accepting an invitation to pray with the Democrats on the ground that the party needs prayer--heck, some of us think it just about needs an exorcism. But to take the appearance of so many religious figures at face value would be naive; the Democratic party hasn't changed. There may be an attempt by the party to get religion, but it's clear from their unwavering support for ESCR, abortion, gay marriage, and a whole host of other policies that the god Moloch still gets the lion's share of their worship efforts.

Maybe it's time that organized religions started instructing their leaders to turn down invitations to appear at national political conventions. The party of "separation of church and state" ought to reconsider the wisdom of attempting to blend church and convention, especially when you can only do so by defining "church" to exclude a large number of religious believers.

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