The Interfaith Gathering at the Democratic National Convention on Sunday was an attempt by the party to be religiously inclusive while not crossing church-state boundaries. My two cents is that it was a good attempt, but they did not succeed on either count.
The gathering opened with Christian spirituals, Native American drumming and prayer. There were Muslims and Jews, a Buddhist, Catholics and Evangelicals. Unfortunately, all of the music (and there was lots of it) was Christian.
Many of the participants discussed about how their faith informed their politics from a place of social justice, which is a conversation our elected leaders should be having. But I was concerned when Governor Bill Ritter of Colorado said: “There is a tremendous intersection of faith and politics…Politics at its deepest root is moral.” Religion is just one source of moral values, and non-believers have complained in recent weeks about feeling unwelcome at the Democratic Convetnion.
Highlights of the gathering included a a passionate plea for the end to the death penalty by Sister Helen Prejean and a wonderful presentation by Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb on our responsibility to our neighbor.
As I said, the event left something to be desired, but even my most staunch First Freedom colleagues would give them points for trying.