Secular Coalition Disappointed in DNC's Insertion of God into Party Platform

Washington, DC -- The Secular Coalition today expressed disappointment at the Democratic Party's insertion of "God" into the party platform this afternoon at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC.  

After adopting a platform that initially made no mention of God, Convention Chairman Antonio Villaraigosa added a new section via voice vote despite an unclear majority from the delegates. According to Talking Points Memo, "[Convention Chairman Antonio Villaraigosa] had to take the vote three times after nays appeared to match yeas. Eventually he declared a two-thirds majority for amending the platform, which was met with boos in the hall."

Edwina Rogers, Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America, said religion plays too big a role in politics at both the state and federal level.

"The comingling of God and politics that we are increasingly seeing from our politicians at both the state and federal levels is precisely what our founders aimed to avoid," Rogers said. "The separation of religion and government is one of our nation's core founding principles and it should be embraced by both parties, because it really is the best guarantee of freedom for all Americans-including the religious. Our founders knew that and it's a shame today's lawmakers don't."

In the U.S. Constitution, "God" is not mentioned at all. Religion is mentioned only twice: In the First Amendment, to prevent government establishment of religion and guarantee its free exercise, and again in Article VI to ensure there be no religious test for public office.

The language adopted by the DNC this afternoon read, "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."

Prior to the insertion of "God" into the platform, the Secular Coalition also took issue with wording in the "Faith" section of the platform that expressed support for faith-based initiatives and referenced morality couched in religious language without making any reference to nontheists. In a 2008 then-candidate Obama made a campaign promise to end employment discrimination by faith-based organizations that accept taxpayer funding. The issue has yet to be adequately addressed.

 "We know that our nation, our communities, and our lives are made vastly stronger and richer by faith and the countless acts of justice and mercy it inspires," the faith section of the Democratic Party Platform reads in part. "There is no conflict between supporting faith-based institutions and respecting our Constitution, and a full commitment to both principles is essential for the continued flourishing of both faith and country."  

The Republican Party platform mentions "God" 10 times.

According to the American Presidency Project's archives at the University of California, Santa Barbara, from 1964 to 1992 the Democratic platform made no mention of "God" at all. Neither party mentioned "God" in their 1972 platforms.

Secular Coalition for America Advisory Board Chairman, Woody Kaplan, and noted author and Advisory Board Member, Wendy Kaminer, are available on-site at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC, for media interviews throughout the convention on this issue and others relating to secular issues and the role of religion in government.

Media Contact: Lauren Anderson Youngblood, Communications Manager, office: 202-299-1091 ext. 205, email: lauren@secular.org

 

 

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