Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Invocations and Benedictions at the DNC

Last night I watched Hillary's speech at the convention (on which I will be mum at the moment). Afterwards, there was the end-of-the-day benediction, in which two ministers said prayers for all the politicians and delegates (along with a bunch of other stuff, which I was tuning out). I was stupefied, quite frankly.

I must admit to complete ignorance of there being invocations and benedictions at the conventions (and a presumed history of such). It should be abolished, period. There is no place for this kind of stuff in politics. What ever happened to the separation of church and state? I'm afraid I missed something here. I would like to know if this has always gone on at conventions, and I'm a bit lazy at the moment, as I should be doing schoolwork and not blogging, so if anyone can tell me the history of this "tradition", please do.

Last night's benediction bordered on freaky (to my ears). You can read the whole thing here.

As I listened to the Reverends Jin Ho Kang and Yoougsook deliver their prayers, at some point I started wondering if they were going to end it with some sort of animal sacrifice. I believe this is the line where I started to get even more comfortable than I usually do seeing such public displays of religiosity: "God of new creation, now may the new leadership of this country trumpet a new day for this nation and the world so that our young people shall see visions, and our old ones dream dreams."

Perhaps instead of an animal sacrifice, they should have passed out the peyote after that line. Can you imagine what the convention would turn into if that happened. Anyway, it would have gone well with the post-benediction music - "Let Me Take You Higher".

I must admit to being more than a bit offended by these lines: "May we build a bridge of harmony among all God's people. May the work of this convention provide hope for all people of God in the nation." As an atheist, I feel rather left out. Oh, I know someone will say I'm being a stickler, for "we're all god's people", but what if I say I'm not? If they had to pray, which evidentally they must, I'd prefer that they would pray for the planet's people or something a little more benign.

I just looked at the list of clergy who have been slotted to conduct these prayers. Not only is there not one Muslim in this supposedly diverse group, but no one from any secular humanist organization, or at least a church as liberal as the Unitarian Universalists.

I have much more to say about this, but I must stop writing (and thinking). I had a desire to put this out there, for it seems no one except the Christian websites are even mentioning it. I wonder how the Republicans are going to top the religiousity of the Democrats this season.

Writing this has made me decide (not a big decision) to put a link to a generally unknown organization that people ought to know about - Americans United for the Separtion of Church and State. Even if you disagree with me, and are a avid theist, understanding the importance of this separation is imperative. In fact, it has been argued that the church/state separation has kept religion healthy and growing in this country.

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