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The Democratic Party left God out of their party platform. Good Lord.

Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan was quick to pounce on the Democrats, charging that the omission of any mention of God in the Democratic platform was not in keeping with America’s founding documents and principles.

Of course, the Democratic platform omitted any reference to Buddha, Zeus, Thor or Anubis, too. By contrast, the Republican platform mentions God twelve times.

The 2008 Democratic Party platform made a single reference to God, referring to the "God-given potential" of working people.

The 2012 platform does contain a plank on faith, saying it "has always been a central part of the American story." The platform says the nation was founded on the principle of religious freedom and the ability of people to worship as they please. It also praises the work of faith-based organizations.

But no mention of The Man Upstairs?

In a concession to real-world practical politics, the Democrats should have left the “God-given potential” line from the 2008 platform intact. Party leaders should have realized that the Democrats’ every move and statement would be monitored, recorded, parsed and analyzed in mind-bending detail for all of Fox Nation to see. It should have come as no surprise that the once-fringe-now-mainstream “Christian nation” crowd who have seized control of the Republican Party would get their prayer beads in a bunch over the willful diss of our Lord by the godless Democrats, led by their secret Muslim-in-chief, Barack Obama, who seek to destroy America.

Paul Ryan and the rest of the Republicans have apparently never actually read the Constitution or any of America’s other founding documents, nor do they have any appreciation of the 200-plus year old concept of separation of church and state. A party platform which fails to mention God stirs no apprehension or distrust in me. A platform which mentions God twelve times gives me serious concern. There is a thin line between having faith and pushing faith, and the Republicans are not just crossing the line, they are doing cartwheels across it.

What disturbs me more, though, is the fact that the Democrats so easily folded under the Republicans' self-righteous condemnation and amended the platform to reinstate the “God-given” line. The notion that liberals and Democrats are godless and without faith is wrong, although atheists and agnostics are as welcome among their ranks as Americans of any other belief. But the way the Democrats tried to right their “mistake” in order to save face was wrong, too. Giving in to ignorance, zealotry and exclusionism is never the right decision.

I have no beef with God. I’m down with the Deity. I’m a Christian, although I don’t make a big fuss about it. Religion should be a personal thing. If someone else is Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh or Zoroastrian, that’s good for him or her and none of my business. As Thomas Jefferson himself put it, “[It] does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

Most religions have good things to teach us, and if people gave less lip service to the trappings of religion and more consideration to living by its noblest precepts the world would certainly be a better place. Imagine a whole world of individuals and nations actually practicing the concept of doing unto others as they would have done to them. Why, the entire Republican Party platform would have to be rewritten from scratch.

God and religion should have no bearing on public policy, and neither should they have much influence in the court of public opinion in a historically and officially secular nation such as the United States. Unfortunately, that’s not what one sees happening in this country anymore. It all comes back to that very thin line.

Originally posted to Richard Riis on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 01:37 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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