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The 2008 Democratic National Convention began as no previous convention ever has -- with a prayer and worship service. The first official event here in Denver was an interfaith gathering attended by more than 3,000 people.
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Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick offered a curious contrast in his Democratic Convention speech earlier this week. He deemed Senator Barack Obama a man of vision and compared him to the policies and programs of the Bush administration.
In 2000, I was fortunate enough to attend the Republican Convention in Philadelphia as an instructor in an experiential learning program for college students. That convention, which nominated then-Texas governor George W. Bush for president of the United States, was noted for its overt attempts to present a diverse public face to television viewers.
The religion of a political candidate should not matter. This principle is not only supported by the doctrine of the separation of church and state articulated by the First Amendment and developed by Jefferson and Madison, it is also supported by the dominant traditions of the Christian church.
Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly managing editor Kim Lawton reviews the transformation in the Democrats' approach to people of faith at this year's national convention and asks whether it will change public perceptions of the Democratic Party.
She was buoyant, strong, eloquent, and convincing. Also classy and passionate, in a speech that pulled off her threefold task. Hillary Clinton endorsed Obama immediately and unequivocally. She spoke straight to the feelings of the many that wanted her, not Obama.
The interfaith gathering last Sunday (August 24) and the events all week are diverse in terms of representing different religions, but not in terms of ideology, which is progressive across the faiths.