Democrats add reference to God to their platform.by Don Lacey on Sep. 18, 2012, under Atheism, AZ Politics, Christian Self-Righteous Arrogance, Christianity, Conservatism vs. Liberalism, Critical Thinking, Ethics, Faith, Freethought, Government, Logic, Question of the Day!, Reason, Religion, Responsible Government, Separation of Church & State
From Jim Wilson:
In the Atheists and Skeptics movements we are proud to have people of all political philosophies including a disproportionately high percentage of libertarians as well as people with less easily classifiable political philosophies. There are some self-identified conservatives, some green party supporters and a few registered Republicans. At FreeThought events it is often easy to get into discussions on political topics with people from all over the spectrum which to me makes for a good time.
In the Atheist and Skeptics movements, to some extent the stereotype of Atheist liberals does hold though and there are plenty of members of the Democratic Party and others who tend to vote for candidates from the Democratic Party. This should not be surprising, since the other major party in this country has done a lot to demonize or at the very least antagonize non-believers and those who simply want to keep religion out of government. The fact is that the Republican Party has habitually worked to encourage and empower the most theocratic and anti-intellectual elements of the religious right. This has greatly alienated many would-be conservative freethinkers.
Many of us when faced with the option of any democrat versus some theocratic Rick Santorum-type Republican will pick the former provided all other considerations are held equal. The Democratic Party often takes the secular vote for granted. After all, where else do we have to turn? We are not at risk of voting Republican and any other party is too small to be a threat. In such a situation Democratic politicians are happy to compromise with mixing religion and government with little fear of electoral retribution.
As a case in point, at the recent Democratic National Convention the party decided to amend their platform to include faith in God in its platform. Ohio Governor Ted Strickland presented the amendment.
“As an ordained United Methodist minister, I am here to affirm and attest that our belief in God is central to the American story and informs the values we’ve expressed in our party’s platform,” Strickland said.
Convention chairman Antonio Villaraigosa took three roll call votes before declaring that the amendments had passed and was booed when he did so. It took three attempts since the yes’s and no’s seemed to balance each other out. After the third attempt the changes were put in place.
While the decision to include this religious language may not have any actual policy implications, it sends a clear message. Some Democrats are more concerned with being electable and mainstream than they are with sticking up for their values, especially the values of people concerned with government endorsement of religion. Is it too much to ask to have a major political party in this country that unambiguously supports keeping religion and government separate? Maybe Democrats would be rewarded if they were more willing to stick up for their base, rather than compromise their values on everything. The first amendment of the U.S. Constitution very clearly states that the national Government should not be in the business of promoting religion, so why not stand clearly and firmly for this principle, and the let Republicans be the party of religious intrusion into the state? Why alienate all those voters and tax-payers who are not part of the Judeo-Christian tradition?
The truth is the Democratic Party and its candidates get a lot of flak from Republican politicians and conservative media outlets and the pressure to compromise values in response to this negative attention is pretty high. Maybe a little flak from would-be supporters who want their party to be an unambiguous defender of the separation of church and state would help push both parties in a more positive direction.