It's too bad that the Democrats decided they had to try to outdo the Republicans in the god bizness. We're not electing a pastor or pope or any other religious potentate. Furthermore, it should have been obvious long ago that there is no way a few pious nods to god would satisfy the rabid religious right. They want your soul!
Nods to god are frequently somewhat humorous in that the preacher or another of god's representatives on earth stands before the crowd mumbling imprecations to the deity while the crowd is mumbling among themselves, the great majority neither listening to or giving a rat's ass about what is being said at the podium.
Secondly, every one of these pious reflectors belong to one form of religion or another and they just can't seem to help themselves. They've got to try to push their beliefs on the rest of us. It's like an addict who can't stop himself from reaching for just one more cigarette.
So, at the opening invocation, former Colorado state senator, Polly Baca, started the DNC off plying god's good graces, mentioning, of course, her favorite savior, Jesus Christ, and finishing the whole thing by crossing herself "in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit."
That's probably not a good way to set the mood for Jews, Muslims, non-practicing Catholics, non-believers, Wiccans, Buddhists, Southern Baptists, Pentecostals, and all the other assorted systems which claim to have a different "truth" about deities, sons of deities, mothers of deities, heavens of deities, or hells of deities.
Monday night's benediction followed the same pattern as set by Ms. Baca, except it was given by an "evangelical," the writer Donald Miller. State of Belief Blog noted that Miller started out well, praying for "education, healthcare for all and a living wage ... Near the end of the benediction, [he] prayed for unity, acknowledging the vast diversity in America."
Then, incongruously, he blew it, saying, "I make this request in the name of your son, Jesus, who gave his own life against the forces of injustice. Let him be our example."
I'm sure Miller thought he'd done a good deed. But as State of Belief Blog says, "...prayers need to be reflective of the audience, not just the person leading the prayer. In that convention hall there were Christians, yes, but also Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Unitarians, and many others who do not have a faith tradition. Closing a prayer in such a sectarian fashion sends the wrong message to those who are different."
1. Most prayers at secular, public gatherings end up as sermons, telling the crowd what they should believe or should do and reflect the pray-er's own theological understandings. They should be banned for that reason.
2. Secondly, as State of Belief Blog noted, prayers should reflect the audience. But that is simply impossible. One prays only out of a particular religious tradition. Religious traditions, by nature, are exclusive, not inclusive. A prayer cannot, under any circumstances, be reflective of a large, diverse audience!
Let those who pray do so privately or in their church, temple, mosque or wherever their deity lurks behind the scenes. There is absolutely no valid reason whatsoever that we need prayers said at political conventions, public school graduations, at meetings of state legislatures, or in the halls of Congress.
And if you think you can manipulate god by praying in public or if you think that somehow your prayer rises to the deity like sweet incense, re-read your holy book!