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September 6th, 2012

Prayer and Politics at the DNC

How faith leaders are taking part in the Democratic National Convention


A view from the first day of the Democratic National Convention. (CNS photo/Jessica Rinaldi, Reuters)

The Democratic National Convention is going on in Charlotte, North Carolina, this week, a city where Evangelical legend Billy Graham’s career remains a powerful presence.

Pre-Convention activities began Sunday with a group called Charlotte 714 hosting a non-partisan prayer service that called for repentance and renewal in Charlotte and across the United States.

A group of about 200 Muslim activists also gathered for prayer in Charlotte Friday, with organizers choosing Charlotte in an attempt to highlight issues important to the Muslim minority in the United States.

Convention attendees can attend morning prayer each day, a Jewish Community Training workshop, and a panel on religious liberty for a discussion entitled, “Keeping Faith in the Democratic Party.”

Catholics will be represented by two notable individuals. Sr. Simone Campbell, executive director of the left-leaning lobbying group NETWORK, who has been critical of the budget proposal crafted by GOP VP nominee Paul Ryan and who gained attention for leading the “Nuns on the Bus” tour spoke Wednesday. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, whose presence at the Republican National Convention initially ignited some controversy in Catholic circles, will close the convention with prayer Thursday evening.

Also making an appearance during the convention are:

  • Rabbi David Wolpe of Los Angeles, who was named most influential rabbi by Newsweek, offered the benediction Wednesday.
  • Vashti Murphy McKenzie, presiding bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, who is the first woman elected bishop in the nation’s oldest black denomination.
  • Metropolitan Nicholas, bishop of the Greek Orthodox Diocese of Detroit.
  • The Rev. Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition.
  • Jena Lee Nardella, young adult and executive director of Blood: Water Mission, which works to alleviate the water crisis and AIDS epidemic in Africa. (Here’s a link to her benediction and prayer.)
    The Author : Michael O'Loughlin
    Mike O'Loughlin is a writer living in Washington, D.C., covering religion, politics, and culture. In addition to Busted Halo, his writing appears in the Advocate, National Catholic Reporter, Foreign Policy, Religion & Politics, and America. He's also appeared on Fox News and MSNBC. Follow him on twitter at @mikeoloughlin.
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • Henry G

    2 points….Remember that the vote included the Jerusalem issue. More politicos cd be upset by that, rather than presuming it’s the God term.
    Also why call the NETWORK as a left leaning group. It;s more accurate to describe them as Gospel and Justice driven

  • Jairo

    I was very disturbed by the booing at the DNC. It was fairly obvious that the chair ignored their own rules, because there was definitely not a 2/3 majority. Its just a sign of how democrats/liberals want a more secular society devoid of any faith. I also have a problem not with just catholics, but any so-called faithful Christian, who is willing to put his personal agenda before the universal moral teachings of Christ. It’s very sad that so many are brain washed by the democratic party into thinking they are supporting the party of reason, open mindedness, and acceptance. If they ever bothered to look beyond the party talking points, and look at history past and present, they would see the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

  • Ella

    Prayers across the parties, ladies and gentlemen. Let’s prayerfully look at Church teaching on all these matters, life issues and social justice among many. Do not think yourself so wise but depend on God in everything. Pray for a discerning heart. In THIS God asks us to agree. Peace!

  • Lawrence

    Doug, I agree with you and Margo for the most part, but I think she just meant that once you are educated in Truth, to willingly go against it would contradict a prayerful life. I tend to look at “Catholics” supporting platform beliefs violating natural moral law in the “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” mindset of Jesus Christ.

    I really like Barack Obama’s character and his desire to help the 99%, but I cannot fully support his agenda that violates my Catholic beliefs. I’m not too keen on Romney as a person. It boils down to the most competitive candidate who doesn’t directly violate natural law. Honestly, if Obama retracts his push for contraception, homosexual marriage, and abortion, then I am fully on board.

    And before people start calling me another “close-minded Catholic” it would be only fair and NOT CLOSE-MINDED to educate oneself on why we believe what we do regarding these social topics in order to respectfully have a discussion. You can read from the Catechism of the Catholic here.

  • Doug

    To be a Catholic implies that one submits to the teaching authority of the Church, so Missy is misguided in her beliefs as a Catholic. We don’t get to pick and choose the teachings of the Catholic Church.

    Conversely, Margo is wrong as well. We are all sinners and God hears the prayers of all sinners. Otherwise, your prayers would not be heard. If you recall the Gospels, Jesus sat down with the worse parts of society during his time and brought them into his fold.

    As for the boos, since both topics were combined in a single resolution, it is difficult to tell exactly why people were objecting: supporting Israel or dissing God.

  • Bill

    The Catholic faith is neither yours nor mine, it comes from Jesus Christ. It is not a matter of picking and choosing. Some teachings are NOT subject to change or a radically different interpretation, for that we have many Protestant denominations, too many to list. Peace

  • Paul_SLO

    The booing is a growing part of the DNC platform. There are many democrats that do not support God being part of their goverment processes. To me, I thought there were too many boos against it to support the change. Unfortunately the DNC has issues with faith in the party.

  • Missy H

    I am so tired of Christians declaring that they know the heart of God in determining who/what embodies true faith. Please Miss Margo, look inside and find out about your own faith before pointing fingers and creating a Nazi like atmosphere for those who might not agree w/ your agenda. My Catholic faith is mine! Not yours! Be blessed, I am praying for you and your heart.

  • Margo

    You do realize that the DNC is in violation of several Church teachings by promoting contraception and homosexual marriages, right? The prayers are meaningless unless the party decides to obey God and the teachings of the one True faith of Catholicism.

  • Zachary Hubbard

    So what do you make of the loud booing by many DNC delegates when “God” and “Jerusalem” were put back into the party platform?

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