Anti-God Scuffle at DNC: Should Devout Black and Latino Catholics Be Concerned?

Anti-God Scuffle at DNC: Should Devout Black and Latino Catholics Be Concerned?


It was all smooth sailing at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina this week. Day one, on Tuesday, ushered in many praises on how smoothly, well orchestrated and energizing it was. Unlike the Republican National Convention, Barack Obama’s name and policies had been weaved seamlessly and throughout all party speeches. Life couldn’t get better for the man who seeks to be reelected for a second term and all who support him.  But what goes up, must come down. At least a little bit.

Half-way through Wednesday and in-between speeches, meetings and musical performances there was a little scuffle.  The equivalent of political melee went down on the convention floor when the party attempted to reinsert the mention of God in the party platform and to affirm that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.

After the convention chairman Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa ordered a voice vote to include the mentions, thinking it would be a quick and easy “in”.   He and other party leaders looked perplexed to hear so many resounding “nos” echo through the convention halls. Villaraigos switched from asking for opposition to requesting those in favor of the measure to say “yea”, then determined that he had heard 2/3 in favor and ordered the changes added. It was still quite inconclusive.

Videotape of several angry delegates and a few Arab American delegates booing and waving their arms in discontent over the final decision circulated about the web. During the long nearly year-long campaign season, more than once there was a battle between the Faithful and those who believe the principle of separation of Church and State should leave God out of the mix.

Word circulated that President Obama himself ordered the language moved into the platform — after perhaps getting an earful from interested parties about the noticeable exclusion of the very controversial topics.

Understandably, there are decades-old pro-Israel US policies which the leaders on both sides of the political spectrum, President Obama and Mitt Romney, have vowed to uphold and promote if elected President.  That the mention of Israel being the capital of Jerusalem was omitted could have been a political oversight.  One would expect the reinsertion to upset Arab-Americans. The fighting across the ocean between Israelis and Palestinians over land each declare Holy and seek control over has trickled into American Presidential politics once more.

However, perhaps more surprisingly is the fact that Church-, Mosque- and Temple- going Democrats seemingly at odds again with the anti-God, Atheists, Agnostics and pro-Separation Church and State promoters that seek to keep Faith out of politics in the party each group shares.

When Barack Obama appeased Gays and pro-Gay rights progressives in his party by embracing marriage equality, the scuffle over traditional marriage did a number to disjoint the party at a time when party unity was and is essential.

Church-going Blacks, Hispanic Catholics and Pro-Life Democrats  may be caught in a bind. Recall, many in the party called anyone who disagreed with the President’s decision on Gay marriage a bigot — all because they opposed a policy they said went again their long held faith and belief sets.  But in the big Tent all must fall in line or fall apart.

There are often accusations that the Right of the political spectrum and the Republican Party are being taken over by religious zealots, but could the allegation be equally levied that the left is being guided by those who are against traditional religious principles and the centuries old binding concept of being guided by a higher being that the US was built upon?

Based on evidence from yesterday’s embarrassing voice vote it is looking quite so.


  1. What was "embarrassing" about voting on those issues? Regardless of whether you agreed with its outcome, it's a good example of how a democracy works.

    "… but could the allegation be equally levied that the left is being guided by those who are against traditional religious principles and the centuries old binding principle of being guided by a higher being that the US was built upon?"

    The allegation could be made frequently and is. However it has no merit.

    • Mr. Tucker, Didn't you hear more than half of the DNC vote to keep Jerusalem and God out of the platform? Is Villaraigosa, mayor of L.A., deaf? Did you ever see anything as awkward as calling for an affirmative vote that got progressively negative? Three times? Keep voting until you get the result you want? And pass it even if you don't? How embarrassing for our entire country. I say, if you don't want God or Jerusalem in your platform, take it out, then own it! Or admit that a mistake was made and that the President wants it to be corrected.

      I must ask: If the Democrats won't listen to their own people, what makes you think they will ever do a thing for the other half of the country? Their leaders will only follow their own agenda. This was NOT a democracy in action. And it is very clear that if Obama is re-elected there is no hope of bi-partisanship. Thus, no hope of anything being accomplished to save our economy.

      • "More than half"? "Calling for an affirmative vote that got progressively negative"?

        Judging from what I saw and heard from online video clips, Mayor Villaraigosa held three different voice votes on the motion because wasn't a perceivable difference between 'yeas' and 'nays', especially for the first two votes. Proper parliamentary procedure allows for the chair to hold another vote until one side or the other is seen as prevailing. There is nothing unusual or unethical about that. The point being the chair was authorized to make a judgement from his observations in the room. Those of us who weren't in the arena, not on the stage with Villaraigosa, aren't in position to reliably state from a video clip what *he* observed.

        I also noted from the video no one objecting to the motion responded to the chair's request for discussion. Given that, and the sequence of events — first the omission, then the motion to amend for inclusion — opponents had every opportunity to a) voice their dissent and b) influence the agenda to their liking. They failed. And far from the vote itself being a "scuffle", "melee" or any such hyperbole pointing to a rift in the Democratic caucus, it was an isolated tense moment about minor and obscure semantics.

      • Yes… the video doesn't conclusively show whether either side garnered the 2/3rds required to settle the matter.

        That's. Why. You. Had. To. Be. There. In. Order. To. Form. A. Reliable. Opinion.

        As the video demonstrates, the platform was presented to all delegates for feedback. A motion was made. The chair opened the floor for discussion, to which no one responded. The chair then held a voice vote. He held votes until he was satisfied one side achieved the minimum standard. The votes were conducted in a room with hundreds of people present. That's as 'small-d' democratic as such processes get. And as I wrote earlier, it was a good example of democracy in action.

        For those reasons, your insinuation that Villaraigosa and/or the DNC nullified the voters is intellectually reckless and without merit. Furthermore, you're clearly exaggerating by characterizing events and their implications as you have. But perhaps the most irresponsible of your statements here is the false equivalence suggested between the Christian Right's influence on the GOP and that of atheists/agnostics on the Democratic Party. It ignores the fact of a Christian Left; their prevailing influence on Democratic policy (relative to that of atheists and/or agnostics), and their belief — not shared by the Christian Right — secular government and religion are compatible and can co-exist.

        • my insinuation" hmmm. My rhetorical question that you have run with and taken to another level. Well in any event, I won't argue with you further but it's great to see you are a fan of my writing and continue to follow my work. Thanks. – This is Jeneba btw commenting using another account.