Humorist Will Rogers was famous for joking, "I am a member of no organized political party. I am a Democrat." The 2008 Democratic National Convention demonstrated just how far removed today's Democratic Party is from that of Rogers' day.
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.
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.
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.
It is interesting at the start of the Democratic Convention to note that the draft platform the delegates are beginning to discuss says more about what a faith initiative will not be than what it will be in an Obama administration.
Barack Obama cannot help that the election campaign until now has been mostly about him -- his background, his personality, his race, his politics, his oratory, his church, his newness, his inexperience, his family, his primary victories, his victory over Hillary and Bill Clinton, his rock star tour of Europe.
Read excerpts from Kim Lawton's August 17, 2008 interview with Pastor Rick Warren at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California.
The election season moves into high gear this week with the Democratic National Convention in Denver, followed by the Republican gathering in St. Paul.