Democrats Reinstate ‘God,’ ‘Jerusalem’ Back Into Party Platform

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US Israel Foreign PolicyOne day after Governor Deval Patrick (D-MA), exhorted the Democratic Party to “grow a backbone and stand for what we believe,” leaders decided to be contrary and go in just the opposite direction.

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Taking intense heat from the GOP for omitting “God” and “Jerusalem” from the 2012 Party Platform, Dems have buckled under pressure and reinstated the language from 2008 that extremely narrowed the scope of inclusivity:

“We need a government that stands up for the hopes, values and interests of working people and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential.”

On Jerusalem:

 “[Jerusalem] is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.”

Many delegates booed loudly in the contentious voice vote that was repeated three times, but  Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa ruled in favor of the changes.

“In the opinion of the chair, two-thirds have voted in the affirmative. The motion is adopted and the platform has been amended,” Villaraigosa said.

See DNC delegates vote on amendment below:

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This is disappointing for several reasons, chief among them being that it excludes those agnostics and atheists in the United States who don’t share a faith in God. By ingratiating itself to Israel once again, it shows a dependency on the past, takes sides in a conflict that is not our business, and shows a political and financial motivation that Democrats claim is detrimental to a country trying to move “forward.”

Equally puzzling are reports that President Barack Obama claims to not have been aware of the change in language, and that it was he who insisted that it be reinstated. This is not confusing because his Christianity should — or could — ever be called into question, but because he has just as strongly supported the separation of Church and State.

At the annual Prayer Breakfast in May, Obama made the following statement:

“If I’m willing to give something up as somebody who’s been extraordinarily blessed, and give up some of the tax breaks that I enjoy, I actually think that’s going to make economic sense. But for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’ teaching that ‘for unto whom much is given, much shall be required.’ It mirrors the Islamic belief that those who’ve been blessed have an obligation to use those blessings to help others, or the Jewish doctrine of moderation and consideration for others.”

The above statement is admirable; however, blatantly blurring God with Israel in a political party’s platform in the United States of America is not. It is also a slap in the  face to many Arab-Americans and Palestinians who have campaigned diligently on behalf of the Democratic Party.

In the speech below, then Senator Obama passionately delivered a speech on the necessity of church and state.

While the reinstatement of God and Jerusalem is a personal triumph for evangelicals within the party, it is a striking mis-step for the political party as a collective and a clear foreign relations gesture, not a testament of faith.

Morality and God are not synonymous and it is unfortunate that Democrats felt pressured to make that political statement. If this is the first day of “showing backbone,” then the spinal curvature must be excruciatingly painful.

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