The Democratic National Convention was in an uproar early Wednesday evening over a motion proposed by former Democratic Ohio Governor Ted Strickland who proposed to reinstate language into the Democratic Party platform that would include the words “God-given” and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The vote required 2/3 majority support from the delegates and was done by voice vote.
Democratic Convention Chairman Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa needed to ask delegates to vote three times before he decided that Strickland’s amendment received 2/3 support from the delegates. However, it is still unclear if 2/3 of the voting delegates actually supported Strickland’s proposal. It is clear from the video the Arab American delegates were unhappy with the vote and the story may not be over just yet.
Before Strickland brought his proposal to the floor, I spoke with Senator Dick Durbin, Illinois Democrat, about the issue who said, “If the suggestion is that Democrats are God-less and the Republicans are God fearing that’s completely wrong when it comes to Democrats. I am prepared to concede that both Democrats and Republicans love this country and respect God—fear God and bring God into their lives. That’s a reality. Now let’s get on to the serious.” issues that confront us and it isn’t which party is God-less and which party is not.”
On Wednesday, news broke that the phrase “God” and pro-Israel language had been removed from the DNC platform, which had been in the platform in 2008. According to CBN.com:
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.”
Rep. Danny Davis, Illinois Democrat, talked with me about the initial omission in the platform on Tuesday night.
“I don’t know what the thinking has been of the committee, and I don’t know what they were trying to accomplish with the wording, so it’s difficult for me to have a comment without reading the document itself and also talking with some of the members of the black forum committee to try and understand what they were trying to accomplish,” he said.
“I know that linguists use words in many different ways. And they can use them to broaden a perspective or to sometimes limit a perspective and sometimes what they’re trying to do is incorporate thinking of people who might have some thoughts and ideas meaning essentially the same thing but expressing it a different way. I am a firm believer in what I call religious freedom, which means to me that individuals choose to convey the supremeness of god or the supremeness of a being in different way,” Mr. Davis added.