Democratic Convention to Open With Interfaith Service

balloondrop.jpgShortly after God-o-Meter filed on the absence of any faith themes on this morning’s Democratic National Convention Committee media call about daily convention themes, it got an email from someone identifying himself as “a member of the DNCC Specialty Media team responsible for reaching out to faith/religion media.” The note included a press release from Friday announcing an official interfaith religious service to kick off the Denver convention:


Top National and Local Religious Leaders to Speak
Richard Smallwood & Vision Among Featured Performers
DENVER – The Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) announced today the highly-regarded religious leaders and musical artists who will serve as featured speakers and performers at the first-ever Democratic National Convention interfaith gathering, kicking off the 2008 Convention. The interfaith gathering will be held at 2:00 pm MT, Sunday, August 24 at the Wells Fargo Theater, inside the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.
Bishop Charles E. Blake, Presiding Prelate of the Church of God In Christ, Inc. and pastor at the West Angeles Church of God in Christ; Dr. Ingrid Mattson, President of the Islamic Society of North America; social activist Sister Helen Prejean and Rabbi Tzvi Weinreb, Executive Vice President of the Orthodox Union, will keynote the event. Musical selections will be performed by Grammy® award winning gospel artist Richard Smallwood & Vision and The Spirituals Project of Denver.
“Democrats have been, are and will continue to be people of faith – and this interfaith gathering is proof of that,” said Leah D. Daughtry, CEO of the DNCC. “As Convention CEO and a pastor myself, I am incredibly proud that these esteemed leaders from the faith community will be with us to celebrate this historic occasion and honor the diverse faith traditions inside the Democratic Party.”
In addition to building a solid logistical foundation for the Convention, the DNCC has established and strengthened relationships with the Denver community since arriving in town more than one year ago. Along with remarks from Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, Jr., members of the local clergy community will also be featured at the gathering.
Imam Abdur-Rahim Ali of the Northeast Denver Islamic Center, Rabbi Steven Foster from Congregation Emmanuel, lifelong Democratic leader Polly Baca, human rights leader Reverend Lucia Guzman and Buddhist participant and University of Colorado Denver student Kathryn Ida will be part of the local faith community represented at the event.
This is the first time a celebration of this nature has been part of a Democratic National Convention. Delegates, elected officials, local residents, musical guests and spiritual leaders from many communities of faith will come together for this unique gathering. In addition to the speakers’ remarks, the program will include readings from diverse religious texts, prayers and musical selections.

The note also says that a “Pre-convention faith/religion press briefing – via conference call” is coming next week. Stay tuned.


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Paul, seeking wisdom.

posted August 12, 2008 at 1:04 pm

I hope that is televised on all networks without commentaries. For once I would like to see a celebration of faith that is not loaded down with Political media babble.
The Democrats are showing that they are diversified in faith as well as sectoral diversity. After all these years of being demonized by the Religious Right and the God Party, it will be refreshing. Of course the Self-proclaimed Redeemed will make noise about the inter-faith aspect of this event, seeing that non Evangelicals are taking part as well as Jews and Islamics, but that is to be expected.
As for God-O-Meter jumping the gun, At least you were equally fast in correcting yourselves. Thank you for keeping us informed.

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Keith Harrison

posted August 12, 2008 at 2:06 pm

I fail to see why a religious meeting should be associated with a political convention. This is an overt acknowledgment that religious beliefs influence political machinations, and spells bad news for the separation of church and state.
Religious meetings like these have no more place in a political convention than do book club meetings or quilting workshops.

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posted August 12, 2008 at 3:58 pm

Are you a Democrat? Are you bothered by the prominent new place that religion and religious people are attaining in the Democratic party? Or do you see this faith service as especially disconcerting, for whatever reason?

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