In case you missed it last night, the Democratic Convention ended with a benediction delivered by Donald Miller, an evangelical Christian author. Miller prayed for better education, healthcare for all and a living wage – all prayer-worthy topics. Near the end of the benediction, Miller prayed for unity, acknowledging the vast divsersity in America.
But then Miller followed up a call to unity with this line: “I make this request in the name of your son Jesus, who gave his own life against the forces of injustice. Let him be our example.”
Here’s the YouTube footage so you can see the prayer in its full context:
The closing of this prayer is somewhat unsettling. On the one hand, Miller emphasized, “I make this request…”
But prayers need to be reflective of the audience, not just the person leading the prayer. In that convention hall there were Christians, yes, but also Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Unitarians, and many others who do not have a faith tradition. Closing a prayer in such a sectarian fashion sends the wrong message to those who are different.
The Democratic National Committee is a private organization, so there are no legal ramifications to this prayer (unlike, say, when an Air Force chaplain prays in Jesus’ name). But there should be a higher moral and ethical standard of conduct, especially when a national party is attempting to unify the American people in such an important election.
But I fully understand and appreciate that there is more than one way to look at this prayer. What do you think? Leave us a comment!