Religious themes have been more likely to take center stage at recent Republican National Conventions than at Democratic gatherings. But politics and religion will be mingling all this week when Democrats convene in Denver to choose Barack Obama as their presidential nominee.
Spurred by a presidential candidate who freely talks about his religious beliefs, Democrats will go to great lengths to display their own religious fervor. Obama’s selection of Joe Biden as his running mate probably enhances the theme. Biden made a point of talking about his Irish-Catholic roots in Saturday’s joint appearance with Obama.
For the first time ever, Democrats have planned “faith caucus meetings” led by an array of religious and spiritual leaders, including Christians, Muslims and Jews. Democrats want to convince voters that they are putting their faith in action ”” and show that Republicans haven’t cornered the market on family values or faith.
“Everybody woke up after the last election and realized the Democratic Party had not done well dealing with religious voters,” says Steven Waldman, founder of the online spiritual center beliefnet.com.