- Posted September 6, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Sights and sounds of the DNC
The God Impolitic
"I've been avidly following the campaigns, and the rhetoric they put out, but the outrage borne by the Republicans over the omission of the word 'God' and over the lack of mention of Jerusalem reached what I feel are new heights of fanaticism. The Democrats played right into their hands and handled the situation poorly. I feel that religion and government don't mix well, and those who wish to inject religion into how this country is run should be opposed."
- dsashin, CNN iReport producer
The recent situation regarding the Democratic Party’s platform –its language with respect to the omissions of God and Jerusalem taking center stage – has been making the rounds throughout every facet of the media, regardless of bias. However, this omission of language is not what leaves me feeling so perturbed. Yes, the dropping of the aforementioned words was definitely a lack of foresight, as the Democrats should have realized that their every move and statement would be checked, monitored, recorded and spouted for all of Christendom to see should they make a misstep. The same goes for the Republicans being observed by their opposition. This is perhaps one of the more unfortunate consequences of living in the Age of Information, where past platforms, speeches, interviews, and general gaffes can be conjured at a moment’s notice with a couple of mouse clicks and keystrokes, and all for the purpose of tearing down one’s opponent (whether deservedly so or not).
My disappointment stems from the fact that the Democrats, following about a day’s worth of rather vociferous complaining from Republicans, scrambled to change their plank on the Middle East to include the 2008 platform's language on Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and to re-insert additional language from the ’08 platform, stating: “We need a government that stands up for the hopes, values and interests of working people, and gives everyone willing to work hard the change to make the most of their God-given potential.” Furthermore, the language change has now opened the party to further attack, as numerous delegates shouted “no” to changing the language – three times – during the voice vote held by Antonio Villaraigosa. Damage control fail. Allen West’s campaign has already released an ad using this event to attack his opponent, Patrick Murphy, with the following statements interspersed between video clips of the DNC proceedings and various media commentators: “Three times they said no to God. That’s Patrick Murphy’s party. Are those your values?”
What disturbs me more is the fact that the Democrats so easily folded under all the condemnation and criticism, in order to placate an opposition that has become overrun by religious zealots who cry foul when they see the lack of the word “God” in the Democratic Party platform and conclude that the party is, therefore, godless. There are atheists and agnostics in both parties, so the notion that liberals and Democrats alone are godless and without faith is flat-out wrong. But the way the Democrats tried to right their mistake in order to save face was wrong too, and it was done in a manner similar to what my dog once did when he tried to hide the mess he once made on the dining room rug. They can cover the stain, but something still smells bad.
If I were a delegate, I probably would have shouted "no" too – not out of any desire to deny or reject God, or to deny that Jerusalem is the rightful capital of Israel (as a Jew, I personally believe it is), but because I refuse to acquiesce to the outrage of a fringe group within the Republican Party (which I fear is growing to the point of becoming mainstream) that believes America is a “Christian nation,” that views President Obama as a socialist or a Marxist who seeks to shred the Constitution, and views liberals as secular godless heathens who wish to destroy this country. They wax poetic about the Constitution and its framers, despite the fact that the very document on which our government is founded contains no mention of God. The only slight religious reference is, “the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven,” which is found in Article VII for the mere purpose of dating the document as per 18th Century rituals. Still, I don’t think they would dare call the framers “godless.”
I sincerely wish that none of what has transpired over the last few days had ever happened. I have no problem with people saying “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, or singing “God Bless America” and “America the Beautiful” (though it wouldn’t kill Romney to take some voice lessons), but God and religion should have no bearing on public policy at all, and it should have nowhere near as much influence in the court of public opinion in a secular nation. Unfortunately, that’s not what I see happening here anymore. There is a thin line between having faith and pushing faith, and the Republicans are openly crossing it – and, in turn, it is revealing something ugly about this great country.
As the old saying goes, politics makes strange bedfellows, and religion is among the more dangerous of those. If we continue to kowtow to the zealots and hypocrites who contort a secular document like The Constitution into something they assert to be born of the divine, it pains me to think just how far under the covers these bedfellows will lie.