Getting a lot of traction lately was a surprising reversal at the Democratic Convention where delegates amended their party platform, reinstating God and reaffirming Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The real surprise is why God and Jerusalem were omitted in the first place.
The sudden motion to amend, made by former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, appeared to catch the delegation flatfooted, creating a sharp dispute on the convention floor. Per convention rules, two-thirds of the delegate body must approve amendments to the party’s platform. Strickland’s motion divided the delegation so evenly that the voice-vote was held three times to determine which side had a vocal majority.
Antonio Villaraigosa, Convention Chairman and Mayor of Los Angeles, wasn’t so much confused by the proposed amendment as he was by how many had opposed its adoption. It was clear to anyone watching C-Span that the vote was far from unanimous. An uncomfortable Villaraigosa announced he had a two-thirds majority vote, but the disruptive boos from delegates tell a different story.
In the 2008 party platform, Democrats included this language about God:
"We need a government that stands up for the hopes, values and interests of working people and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential."
When Fox News correspondent Bret Baier asked Illinois Senator Dick Derbin why delegates had removed references to God in their platform, Derbin retorted,
“If the narrative that is being presented on your station and through your channel and your network, is that the Democrats are Godless people, they ought to know better.”
The problem is not Fox News. ABC, CNN, and Yahoo News had also covered the story on the front page of their news websites as it broke yesterday - although MSNBC chose to ignore it altogether. It’s a newsworthy story and a debate worth having.
Why was the language omitted? Has the Democratic Party become so secular that it winces at timeworn expressions of God, that in most cases, would be overlooked by most readers? Isn’t this the same Democratic Party that once promoted John Kerry’s Catholicism as a way to reach out to an important Christian voting bloc?
The Romney campaign stated that omitting God from their platform suggests Democrats are “increasingly out of touch with the mainstream of the American people.”
We shall soon see.