Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Democratic Conventions Odd inter-Faith Religious Service

Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s resignation and being booed down at a breakfast of her state’s delegation was not an official event at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this week, although given the coverage of the latest Hillary-related e-mail scandal, you could be forgiven for thinking it was.

What was one of the Dem confab’s first official events got little or no coverage. And it symbolized all that is bewildering about the Party’s approach to religion vis-à-vis the public square.

The event in question was the “Interfaith Service of Prayer for the Nation” held at Philly’s cathedral, the Basilica of Ss. Peter and Paul. Planning for the event began in February by the Philadelphia Liturgical Institute, at the request and on behalf of the DNC.

The prayer service was … odd.

This was not because of anything that happened at it. The service itself was fine and actually quite lovely. It featured beautiful music. The service of readings was fitting and even inspiring.

Cathedral rector Father G. Dennis Gill gave an inspiring sermon in which he said our nation’s foundational documents are very clear about how the country is founded on the power and presence of God. Then he looked at our national situation today, which reminds us, he asserted, of a need for us to once again rely on that power and presence so that God’s ways are our ways. One of the ways we can do that is to pray, he noted, and also support each other in whatever works we can do.

All well and good.

What was odd was this.

The DNC specifically requested that a prayer service be held on the convention’s first day. It was to take place at the cathedral because of its proximity to the delegates’ hotels and the Convention Center, where many of the day’s official events took place (the televised evening events took place at the Wells Fargo Center, home to the 76ers and Flyers sports teams).

And yet on the convention website listing the day’s official events, it wasn’t listed. The meeting of the DNC’s Faith Council was listed and at a time conflicting with the interfaith prayer service.

And so it should not surprise that the event drew such a small crowd. (See picture.) It was hard to tell who were delegates (I’ll assume the woman with the stylish American flag scarf was one) and who attended just because. Several DNC volunteers were evident by their bright blue T-shirts proclaiming, “ASK ME.”

But there was not one Democrat bigwig. No Nancy “I’m a devout, practicing Catholic” Pelosi. No Donna Brazile (a fellow Catholic whom I love, despite our differences).

Read the rest here.

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