Thursday, September 6, 2012

Mitt Wins One: 'God' In Dem Platform, At A Cost

Mitt's whine that Dems didn't include a reference to "God" in their platform was enough to send Dems scrambling to insert such a reference... and it raised a stink, which was doubtless exactly Rmoney's intention. Score one for the Mittens.

The irony (remember, this site is all about irony!) is that the omission of "God" was almost certainly a considered decision, to accommodate a broad spectrum of religious people, some of whom are just certain they know the name of God (and it isn't "God"), and less religious people like me (call me "UU" or "agnostic" and I won't correct you) who think the deity or deities are nothing our government should concern itself with... period. In other words, the Dems, by not using the word, intended to embrace people of all faiths or no faith, people who believe in God in all Her forms or in no god at all. Somehow I think Thomas Jefferson would approve, but he's long since dead, which in my considered religious opinion makes him unavailable for direct consultation.

So six members of the Utah delegation objected to the hasty insertion. (What? there are Dems in Utah? YES, and they are by no means all Mormon! Two in the delegation are Jewish; two are Muslim.) Here's how a Muslim delegate put it:
“We have two Muslims in our delegation and we have two Jews as well,” she said. “We work together. But I think if they told me that they were going to make a Muslim city be the capital, I think we’d be dividing our Democrats. That’s why I’m in the Democratic Party — because I don’t want to be divided.”
TPM's Evan McMorris-Santoro tells us what happened next:
The vocal dissension in the Democratic ranks — and the video of convention chairman Antonio Villaraigosa looking pained as he held the vote three times while a chorus of nays rained down — is the stuff Republican dreams are made of. But the dissenters in the Utah delegation said they didn’t care about what GOP leaders might say.

“We don’t worry about the Republicans,” said Angelea Urrea of Roy, Utah. ...

Villaraigosa declared the two-thirds majority necessary to amend the platform based on the third of three voice votes. ...
In the time-honored tradition of the late great House Speaker Sam Rayburn, Villaraigosa gaveled God into the platform... and gaveled both democracy and religious freedom out the window. But hey, it's a small price to pay for appeasing the GOPers. [/snark]

What is wrong here is not that "God" is now in the Democratic platform: insubstantial, nonspecific references to the deity are pretty much standard in American political speech. What is really wrong is that Dems allowed themselves to be stampeded by Republicans into changing a document listing things Democrats firmly believe, causing a righteous fracas over the inappropriateness of religious references in that document. This is America, where at least in theory we don't dictate people's religious affiliations or affirmations by popular vote or government fiat. And don't think there won't be a few dozen hours of air time devoted to GOP ads on the sorry proceeding itself.

"God" will get us for that! Or, if not God, at least Reince Priebus...

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