Religious leaders and people of faith who’ve been invited to the table at this week’s Democratic National Convention are not sitting quietly with their hands in their laps.
The head of a large African-American denomination challenged the party on abortion. An Orthodox Jewish rabbi raised his voice about school choice. A thirty-something evangelical Christian author warned against Democrats who mock believers.
Although well aware that party officials have political reasons for reaching out to them, several faith figures taking part in convention events say they want to go beyond talk about how faith and values inform longstanding Democratic policies. They are also calling for change on core Democratic issues, which could create tension.
“It’s important that people of faith are being listened to just like other constituencies, that we’re not marginalized,” said Alexia Kelley of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, which has pressed the party to support policies aimed at reducing abortion rates. “Just because we’re participating in the process and engaging people who may not agree with us doesn’t mean we’re just a mascot.”