Democrats begin with syncretistic worship

The Democrats began their convention with an interfaith service:

At the first official event Sunday of the Democratic National Convention, a choir belted out a gospel song and was followed by a rabbi reciting a Torah reading about forgiveness and the future.

Helen Prejean, the Catholic nun who wrote “Dead Man Walking,” assailed the death penalty and the use of torture.

Young Muslim women in headscarves sat near older African-American women in their finest Sunday hats.

Four years ago, such a scene would have been unthinkable at a Democratic National Convention. In 2004, there was one interfaith lunch at the Democratic gala in Boston.

But that same year, “values voters” helped re-elect President Bush, giving Democrats of faith the opening they needed to make party leaders listen to them.

The result was on display at Sunday’s interfaith service, staged in a theater inside the Colorado Convention Center, and will be evident throughout the convention agenda and on the sidelines.

There will be four “faith caucus” meetings, blessings to open and close each night, and panels and parties run by Democratic-leaning religious advocacy groups that didn’t even exist in 2004 — not to mention protests from religious groups and leaders opposed to the Democratic platform.

Other challenges may come from within. At Sunday’s service, Bishop Charles Blake, head of the predominantly black Church of God in Christ and a self-described pro-life Democrat, said Barack Obama should be pressed to “elaborate upon his stated intention to reduce the number of abortions by providing alternative programs.”

One hallmark of Democratic faith efforts at the convention is diversity, which might soften objections from party activists wary of the Christian right or any mixing of religion and politics. . . . “If we create or become a mirror image of the religious right, we have failed,” said Burns Strider, who ran religious outreach for Hillary Clinton’s campaign and now does faith-based political consulting. “But if we have increased the number of chairs around the table, … then we’ve succeeded.”

Mollie Z. Hemingway was there and she reports the details, including the main sermon by a nun who claimed that if God allowed His Son to be sacrificed for the sins of the world, He would be an “ogre.”

The quotation: “She challenged them about the Christian account that God allowed his son to be sacrificed for the sins of humanity. ‘Is this a God or is this an ogre?’”

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Carl Vehse

    The demonrat party “jumped the shark” long ago.

    Their gatherings, whether a convention or a memorial service for one of their own (e.g., Sen. Paul Wellstone), have become a farce and mockery of decency, American ideas, and intelligence.

    Instead of the perverse entertainment of going to an insane asylum and watching the inmates drool, defecate, and distort themselves, Americans now have the MSM provide us this week with the spectacle of what one of the political parties in our country has become.

  • Carl Vehse

    The demonrat party “jumped the shark” long ago.

    Their gatherings, whether a convention or a memorial service for one of their own (e.g., Sen. Paul Wellstone), have become a farce and mockery of decency, American ideas, and intelligence.

    Instead of the perverse entertainment of going to an insane asylum and watching the inmates drool, defecate, and distort themselves, Americans now have the MSM provide us this week with the spectacle of what one of the political parties in our country has become.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    God an ogre? Yes how unloving of Him to sacrifice Himself and die for the sins of the world. How terrible that He does everything to forgive you so you can live and not die.

    And how loving it is to call this ultimate truth into question. And how inclusive and wonderful it is to continue the sins of the previous generation by defending the rights of people everywhere to tear the children to pieces in the womb at any stage in their development for the sake of convenience and self-centeredness. How nice it is when false gods bring down anything good and true!

    Democrats certainly are never ogres. They’re too good and too wise.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    God an ogre? Yes how unloving of Him to sacrifice Himself and die for the sins of the world. How terrible that He does everything to forgive you so you can live and not die.

    And how loving it is to call this ultimate truth into question. And how inclusive and wonderful it is to continue the sins of the previous generation by defending the rights of people everywhere to tear the children to pieces in the womb at any stage in their development for the sake of convenience and self-centeredness. How nice it is when false gods bring down anything good and true!

    Democrats certainly are never ogres. They’re too good and too wise.

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  • Pingback: Prayer at the DNC » Pursuing Holiness

  • Anon

    Is that nun in communion with Rome? Is she allowed to receive the Body and the Blood? Archbishop Chaput certainly wouldn’t let her!

  • Anon

    Is that nun in communion with Rome? Is she allowed to receive the Body and the Blood? Archbishop Chaput certainly wouldn’t let her!

  • Manxman

    “she challenged them about the Christian account that God allowed his son to be sacrificed for the sins of humanity. “Is this a God or is this an ogre?”

    Where’s the Inquisition when you really need it?

  • Manxman

    “she challenged them about the Christian account that God allowed his son to be sacrificed for the sins of humanity. “Is this a God or is this an ogre?”

    Where’s the Inquisition when you really need it?

  • Don S

    Does it strike anyone else as odd that, in an interfaith service which supposedly affirms everyone’s own path to God, and is all about unity and feeling good about one another, the fundamental tenet of the Christian faith is trashed as being barbaric? In other words, Christians are welcome as long as they simply believe that Jesus was a great teacher (perhaps allegorical) who advocated for large governmental programs to feed the poor and satisfy union leaders, and confiscatory taxes on those greedy rich to pay for the programs.

    Let me guess — there was no criticism of other faiths featuring exclusive teachings, such as, just for example, Islam?

  • Don S

    Does it strike anyone else as odd that, in an interfaith service which supposedly affirms everyone’s own path to God, and is all about unity and feeling good about one another, the fundamental tenet of the Christian faith is trashed as being barbaric? In other words, Christians are welcome as long as they simply believe that Jesus was a great teacher (perhaps allegorical) who advocated for large governmental programs to feed the poor and satisfy union leaders, and confiscatory taxes on those greedy rich to pay for the programs.

    Let me guess — there was no criticism of other faiths featuring exclusive teachings, such as, just for example, Islam?

  • Geremy

    Don @ 6–Did they also criticize Islam for allowing sects of it to allow suicide bombers? If death and sacrifice is bad, surely they are willing to call these people Ogres, too. And likewise, if killing makes one an ogre, then anyone who allows abortion is an ogre, as well.

  • Geremy

    Don @ 6–Did they also criticize Islam for allowing sects of it to allow suicide bombers? If death and sacrifice is bad, surely they are willing to call these people Ogres, too. And likewise, if killing makes one an ogre, then anyone who allows abortion is an ogre, as well.

  • CRB

    All of this reminds me of the Pharisees and scribes of Jesus day, who were willing to change to accomodate any number of new laws (600?!) in order to remain in power! The religion of the dems is Phariseeism dressed
    in new clothes! Truth is relative, after all, to such as these!!

  • CRB

    All of this reminds me of the Pharisees and scribes of Jesus day, who were willing to change to accomodate any number of new laws (600?!) in order to remain in power! The religion of the dems is Phariseeism dressed
    in new clothes! Truth is relative, after all, to such as these!!

  • Bruce

    This shouldn’t surprise anyone, should it? It will be interesting to see what the Republicans come up with. George Bush has been pushing, as I recall, a relatively strong syncretistic message for eight years now.

    No, this is just the left’s version of American Civic Religion. The right’s version is just as caustic.

  • Bruce

    This shouldn’t surprise anyone, should it? It will be interesting to see what the Republicans come up with. George Bush has been pushing, as I recall, a relatively strong syncretistic message for eight years now.

    No, this is just the left’s version of American Civic Religion. The right’s version is just as caustic.

  • Michael the little boot

    Bruce @ 9,

    Amen. Glad someone said it. (Equally glad that someone wasn’t me. :) )

  • Michael the little boot

    Bruce @ 9,

    Amen. Glad someone said it. (Equally glad that someone wasn’t me. :) )

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Also glad. Thanks Bruce, you’re right. American civic religion left or right are both just that of Worship in “Spirit and Truth”. Its always better when political parties just stick to politics.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Also glad. Thanks Bruce, you’re right. American civic religion left or right are both just that of Worship in “Spirit and Truth”. Its always better when political parties just stick to politics.

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