GOD DUMPED, THEN REINSTATED, BY DNC
Catalyst October Issue 2012
A major PR disaster erupted during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) when it was discovered that the word “God” had been excised from the Democratic Party Platform.
It should have come as no surprise that the mention of the word “God” would send shivers down the spine of the Democratic faithful. After all, the same Platform said it’s a good idea for two men to get married; the public needs to pay for abortions; the public must pay for a healthcare policy it rejects; the Catholic non-profit community must pay for abortion-inducing drugs, etc.
Indeed, the Obama administration has a “God problem.” On several occasions, President Obama has omitted the words “by their Creator” when citing the Declaration of Independence. He has also erroneously said that the national motto is “E Pluribus Unum”; it is “In God We Trust.”
The Platform deleted the word “God” when discussing our “God-given potential.” In 2008, the Platform spoke to the issue of having a government that “gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential.” The italics, which we added, were deleted from the 2012 Platform.
The night that the news broke about the removal, CNN’s Piers Morgan pressed DNC chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz on the excision. She dodged the question by saying, “We have a commitment through all faith traditions that our values are reflected in our policy. And that means that we should look out for the least of these, that we should fight for the middle class, that we should let everybody in America have an opportunity to be successful.”
Morgan wasn’t buying it. “This is, somebody has deliberately taken out the word ‘God’ because it was in the last one,” he said. In response, Wasserman Schultz remarkably said, “I can assure you that no one has deliberately taken God out of the Platform.” Morgan pressed her again, “So it was an accident?” She refused to answer.
As if we needed more proof of the Democrats’ religion problem, consider what happened when the DNC’s Faith Council met for a session. Though thousands were in Charlotte, a total of 150 showed up at the session. Did they discuss faith-based solutions to social problems, or the role of religion in public life? No. According to one source, they were fixated on such issues as voter suppression and affordable healthcare.
Had the Democratic faithful, disproportionately comprised of atheists and agnostics, known that the Faith Council wasn’t going to talk about God, they could have packed the house.
After taking heat for removing the word “God” from its Platform, the DNC finally decided to put it back in. When it was proposed to place “God” back in the Platform the delegates were not persuaded so the DNC did so by fiat, and then lied about the entire event.
The Obama camp would have us believe that the president intervened to save the day, ordering the delegates to rediscover God. But it was too late: the Obama campaign had already told Politico that Obama had personally approved the Platform, choosing to intervene only after the pushback began.
Wasserman Schultz said the decision to excise God was “essentially a technical oversight.” David Gergen told CNN viewers the same thing. But someone threw God out. Moreover, even if the oversight process failed, it does not explain why the word “God” was initially deemed offensive, thus meriting deletion.
Platform committee head, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, explained the revised wording by saying, “I wouldn’t call it an error. It was a clarification.” Michelle Obama called the whole thing “a non-issue; and I think it’s a distraction.” Obama’s faith-based director—of all people—Rev. Derrick Hawkins, also said the flap about God was “a non-issue.”
Terri Holland, a New Mexico delegate, disagreed with these assessments. She said the changes were made to “kow-tow to the religious right.” This is revealing: speaking about God in the Platform is not the kind of thing that thoughtful Democrats want to be associated with. Evidently, one has to be a right-wing loon to reference our “God-given potential.” Her honesty speaks volumes about the real sentiment of the Party. It is very much appreciated.