Dems' Godly God-Fest Ends with Prayer by Former Christian Coalition Leader
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Well, it was all very holy at the Dem convention this year -- more like a Pentacostal revival than a gathering of supposedly religion-hating liberals (Pentacostals rock, by the way. I went to a big Pentacostal mega-church in Florida's panhandle -- essentially Mississippi -- a few years ago, and they had a rockinâ€™ band that was just grooving in a big way. Kids were picking each other up, there was tons of sex in the air, as well as free child-care and all that -- it reminded me of some hipster club, except, you know, for the speaking in tongues and flopping around on the floor and whatnot).
BeliefNet's Steve Waldman wrote approvingly about this yearâ€™s religiosity on the WSJâ€™s blog:
At the last convention, people of faith were treated as a worthwhile little interest group, roughly on the same level as mohair farmers.
What a difference four years make. By my count, there are at least nine different faith-related events. The week opened with an Interfaith religious service ... Events were held by the Faith Caucus, the Network for Spiritual Progressives, the National Jewish Democratic Council, and the American Muslim Democratic Caucus.
Benedictions and invocations have been performed not only by liberal clergy but also by people like Donald Miller, a popular Christian author, who closed his prayer, "I make this request in the name of Jesus Christ."
So there was a lot of God Bless this and that, although, interestingly, nobody asked God to damn America. And there were lots of "faith leaders" in attendance. Contrary to popular belief, I have no qualms with any of this, even if I question to what degree it might be effective.
I did want to draw attention to one leader in particular -- the man who followed Obama, offering the prayer that closed the convention. â€˜Twas none other than Joel Hunter, mega-church pastor and, briefly, head of the rightwing Christian Coalition. He headed the group for about five minutes, until he said that maybe the (white) evangelical Christian movement might want to expand beyond Leviticus 18:22 and talk about environmental conservation, social justice, fighting poverty -- you know, the stuff Jesus would have cared about if he were alive today and all issues about which the GOP regularly sides with ... Satan! That brought a quick end to that gig (they called his departure a "resignation").
Anyway, his presence at the Dems' confab was noteworthy as he represents a new wave of more ... moderate, pluralistic preachers within the religious right. Frances FitzGerald, writing in The New Yorker , described Hunter as a leader of this emerging movement-within -a-movement:
Joshua Holland is an editor and senior writer at AlterNet.