National Catholic Reporter

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The Voice Vote in Jerusalem and God

The most awkward moment of the Democratic Convention - thank God, so to speak, it was not in primetime - came when the chair of the convention called for a voice vote on amending the Democratic platform to reinsert the party's commitment to Jerusalem's status as the capital of Israel and to mention the Godhead. Many people shouted "no."

In the case of Jerusalem, what to say? Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish state even when there was no Jewish state. Through the millennia, Jews did not pray, "Next year, in Tel Aviv" at Passover. Of course, the final status of Jerusalem is subject to negotiations with the Palestinians. Perhaps some arrangement can be made to accommodate the Palestinian desires. But, one thing is clear. If you get into a cab at David Ben-Gurion airport and say to the driver, "Take me to the parliament," he will not drive you to Tel Aviv. So, why the shouts of "No"? Because there is a growing hostility to Israel on the left. It is ugly. It is uninformed. But, it is there.

Maybe they were shouting "no" to God. The Democrats are, ipso facto, the party to which the non-religious turn because the Republicans have become evangelical church at the polls, a kind of role reversal on the old definition of the Anglican Church as the Tory Party at prayer. But, the fact that secularists are drawn to Democrats should not mean that the Democrats must be drawn to the secularists. If anyone thinks that having a large proportion of a convention shout "No" at the prospect of adding mention of God into the platform is good politics, well, he should not become a campaign consultant.

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August 29-September 11, 2014

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