God-o-Meter just hung up from a conference call with the Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (pictured) and senior Obama advisor Anita Dunn laying out the nightly themes for the Democratic National Convention in Denver this month. It was suprised to hear not a peep about faith themes, particularly given that convention cochair Sebelius is reportedly in the running to be Obama’s running mate because of her ability to win in a culturally conservative state and because the convention’s CEO is an ordained preacher who largely engineered the Democrat’s faith-outreach offensive over the last four years.
The Obama camp and the Democratic National Convention Committee are unveiling more convention details this week. GOM is eager to see whether faith messaging figures into the event in anyway. Yes, GOM realizes that there are already some faith-based events on the convention calendar:
This will be the first Democratic convention to start with a religious service, another sign meant to prove that the party is serious about belief, and the [Democratic National Committee's Faith in Action] members, who have worked for months on how best to inject faith into the convention, want to be sure the gathering is led, and well-attended, by a wide range of the religious. (This convention will also be the party’s first to include a caucus for people of faith alongside delegate caucuses devoted to the issues of various ethnic groups, women, the disabled and the L.G.B.T. — the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender — community.)
But the convention is a television event. And GOM is guessing that folks watching at home (at least on the networks) won’t get to see the religious service or the people of faith caucus meeting. So what do the Dems have planned for primetime? An address by pro-life Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey Jr. or moderate Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine that included a discussion of faith or the moral dimension to abortion would send a message that the Democratic Party had truly changed in its approach to religion. That’s the kind of high-profile announcement GOM will be watching for.