It’s the sort of thing you expect only in hyper-partisan diatribes, Onion articles, or Saturday Night Live skits, a political blunder so epically, gratuitously embarrassing that its happening to a major political party in real life is inconceivable.
But it happened this week: the Democrats snubbed God. First came this change to the 2012 platform:
This is the paragraph that was in the 2008 platform:
“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.”
Now the words “God-given” have been removed. The paragraph has been restructured to say this:
“We gather to reclaim the basic bargain that built the largest middle class and the most prosperous nation on Earth – the simple principle that in America, hard work should pay off, responsibility should be rewarded, and each one of us should be able to go as far as our talent and drive take us.”
There remains a passage endorsing the charitable work of faith-based organizations, but that hardly mitigates the shock of somebody feeling the need to remove mention of Americans’ “God-given potential.” To all but the most hardened secularists, the line didn’t need changing – it was completely benign, implied no religious burden, denigrated no religion, and bound the Democrats to no particular policy. The only reason for removing it is that those who did so were simply so radical they didn’t want God getting any credit.
So far, the Democrats have yet to offer a better explanation – Sen. Dick Durbin deflected questions with indignation, and party chair Debbie Wasserman Schulz denied that there was anything to see behind the curtain.
Recognizing that pointlessly offending 89% of the population might be a PR problem, yesterday Democrat leaders moved to restore the 2008 language (as well as language recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital)…
…and somehow made the situation worse.
Convention chair Antonio Villaraigosa held a voice vote on the resolution. And a second one. And a third. Each time got plenty of “no” votes, and from the video, it’s not at all clear that the “yea” voices outnumbered them. On the third try, a visibly uncomfortable Villaraigosa declared the restored language approved…causing the hall to erupt into a hail of boos.
Even allowing that the original omission might have been an unintentional error, there’s no denying that a significant percentage of Democrat convention-goers – possibly a majority – wanted to keep the language out, and angrily voiced their disapproval when party leadership overruled them.
Booing God. On camera. At the president of the United States’ nominating convention. That’s a milestone nobody’s gonna pass in a while.
It’s no coincidence that a party growing increasingly hostile to God is also becoming increasingly absolutist on abortion. Both trends are rooted in a hubris that puts human desire at the center of moral and political theory and denies there are higher principles binding human behavior and limiting the burdens we can impose on our neighbors in the pursuit of our goals.