DENVER – At the first official event Sunday of the Torah reading about forgiveness and the future., a choir belted out a gospel song and was followed by a rabbi reciting a
Helen Prejean, the Catholic nun who wrote “Dead Man Walking,” assailed the death penalty and the use of torture.
Young Muslim women in headscarves sat near older African-American women in their finest Sunday hats.
Four years ago, such a scene would have been unthinkable at a Democratic National Convention. In 2004, there was one interfaith lunch at the Democratic gala in Boston.
But that same year, “values voters” helped re-elect party leaders listen to them., giving Democrats of faith the opening they needed to make
The result was on display at Sunday’s interfaith service, staged in a theater inside the Colorado Convention Center, and will be evident throughout the convention agenda and on the sidelines.
There will be four “faith caucus” meetings, blessings to open and close each night, and panels and parties run by Democratic-leaning religious advocacy groups that didn’t even exist in 2004 — not to mention protests from religious groups and leaders opposed to the Democratic platform.
Other challenges may come from within. At Sunday’s service, Bishop Charles Blake, head of the predominantly black Church of God in Christ and a self-described pro-life Democrat, said Barack Obama should be pressed to “elaborate upon his stated intention to reduce the number of abortions by providing alternative programs.”
One hallmark of Democratic faith efforts at the convention is diversity, which might soften objections from party activists wary of theor any mixing of . Behind the scenes, efforts to attract the religious vote will concentrate largely on Christian “values voters.”
“If we create or become a mirror image of the religious right, we have failed,” said Burns Strider, who ran religious outreach for Hillary Clinton’s campaign and now does faith-based. “But if we have increased the number of chairs around the table, … then we’ve succeeded.”
One reason religion is playing such a prominent role at this week’s convention is that Obama has made faith outreach prominent in his campaign.
“People of faith are being engaged in the convention in a new and robust way ,and it’s because of Senator Obama’s acknowledgment that people of faith and values have an important place in American public life,” said Joshua DuBois, the Obama campaign’s religious affairs director.
The campaign is giving a platform to people who otherwise would not have been invited to or attended a Democratic convention. One example is, a moderate evangelical megachurch pastor from Orlando, Fla., who will offer the benediction Thursday, the night Obama accepts the nomination.
“Now there’s a genuine interest in speaking with groups and religious groups who were previously considered enemies,” said Rachel Laser, who works on culture issues for the centrist Democratic think tank Third Way.
Laser helped broker compromise language in the Democrats’ abortion platform that acknowledges the need to help women who want to keep their pregnancies. Hunter and liberal evangelical leaderwere involved, as were new groups such as Catholics in Alliance for the .
Despite all the effort, there is little evidence religious votes are shifting. A Pew poll released last week showed the political preferences of religious voters, including highly sought Catholics and white evangelicals, have scarcely budged since 2004.
Catholics are up for grabs, but white evangelicals have become so solidly Republican, Obama has little chance of carving too deeply into the Republican lead, said Allen Hertzke, a University of Oklahoma political scientist.
“There still is a possibility that Obama will chip into the Republican advantage with this religious outreach,” Hertzke said. “Even if he gains just a few points, that could be decisive in a close election.”
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell was supposed to give “closing remarks” during this afternoon’s Shorenstein Center-sponsored panel discussion with all three Sunday show moderators — NBC’s Tom Brokaw, ABC’s George Stephanopoulous and CBS’s Bob Schieffer — but instead, he opened up a can of worms about bias in 2008 election coverage
“Ladies and gentleman, the coverage of Barack Obama was embarrassing,” said Rendell, in the ballroom at Denver’s Brown Palace Hotel. “It was embarrassing.”
Rendell, an ardent Hillary Rodham Clinton supporter during the primaries, now backs Obama in the general election. Brokaw and Rendell began debating campaign coverage, including the on-air comments by Lee Cowan, and when MSNBC came up, Rendell went after the cable network.
“MSNBC was the official network of the Obama campaign,” Rendell said, who called their coverage “absolutely embarrassing.”
Chris Matthews, Rendell said, “loses his impartiality when he talks about the Clintons.”
At that point, PBS’s Judy Woodruff, who was moderating the moderators event, said: “Why don’t we let Governor Rendell sit down.”
That was met with applause from the crowd of big-time media figures, which included Arianna Huffington, Gwen Ifill, Al Hunt, and Chuck Todd.
Woodruff allowed Brokaw to respond, and in defending the network, he said that Matthews and Keith Olbermann are “not the only voices” on MSNBC.
(This post has been updated with additional quotes)
20 Aug, 200
Below are a list of reason why I would like to leave Islam: