29 August 2008 ~ 6 Comments

Prayer At The DNC

Alright, time for a participatory post.  Get ready to comment.

This past week at the Democratic National Convention, there were two prayers given from the stage by prominent Christian personalities.  First in the opening by Donald Miller, and then at the closing, by Joel Hunter.  Take a few minutes to watch both prayers below:

Now I definitely have some thoughts and opinions on the content and delivery of both, however that is not what this post is about.  Rather, it is about the idea of the prayer itself at the convention.  I am WAY behind on reading all your blogs out there right now, so I don't know how much this is being discussed at the moment, with the exception of a few posts on one fairly prominent blog (you get three guesses which one and the first two don't count).

On the one hand, I love both their hearts in the issue, and have lots of respect for both these guys.  In a nutshell, it's the not gonna turn down an opportunity to pray anywhere concept.  I get it.  A great opportunity to be a light.  While I can honestly say that I would vote for a non-Christian candidate, I can't deny that faith, and more specifically faith in Christ, is a big positive in my book.  Of course I want a leader of our nation who I believe is seeking to follow after God, so that's great to see them praying on this platform.

But at the same time, I can honestly say that something just didn't sit right with me when I watched those prayers.  Even outside of what was prayed, I wonder if it's the idea of having the "benediction" at the convention at all.  Several questions come to mind. 
Are politicians using those of faith just for the sake of votes?
Even if they are, do we say fine, have your agenda and we'll take advantage of the opportunity and have ours? 
Many Christians champion the idea that prayer should still be allowed in schools.  I'm not one of those.  Faith isn't something I want the government having any say or authority over.  So does this marriage of faith and politics blur that line too much? 
Then again, you can't deny, as Rick Warren stated in front of a national audience a few weeks ago, that our faith does affect our politics.

Those are a lot of thoughts, without a lot of answers.  I'm curious what you think.
Was this a great opportunity, or a mistake?
Regardless of party affiliation, as Christ-followers, do these guys represent you well?
People without faith, does this irritate you, or do you welcome the opportunity to invite faith into politics?

I'm honestly pretty torn on the issues.
So let me know what you think!

6 Responses to “Prayer At The DNC”

  1. Rich Kirkpatrick 30 August 2008 at 9:59 am Permalink

    Guilt by association. They are being used, like the pastors that will pray at the RNC this coming week will be used–for politics in a completely political event.

  2. Jeff Ludington 29 August 2008 at 7:19 pm Permalink

    Bobby,
    Great question, and also as was said above, it is a loaded one. I clearly believe in a separation of church and state, however Rick Warren made a great point about not separating faith and politics. So, for them to pray is a good thing to me. I do agree that the prayers were very generic and political, but probably appropriate.
    I do want to know what our candidates believe, and how they reconcile it with their faith or beliefs. If you are pro-choice how does your faith support that. On the other side of the question, if you are pro-life how do you reconcile war, genocide, or whatever else challenges life. I am not saying that these things can’t be said by people of faith, but my faith drives me to answer them in ways that others may not.
    Back to faith in politics: as a pastor, I don’t want the government to control my church, and I don’t want to control my government with a “papal” type position. That is what separation of church and state means to me. However, we are a country founded by peopole of faith. It says so on our money (for now), and it was obvious in our early years. However, we have gotten away from that.
    I guess the real question is more about how far this separation of church and state should go. Should it prohibit people from prayer in public places? I don’t think so, but that is just me.
    Grace,
    Jeff Ludington.

  3. Rachel 29 August 2008 at 6:57 pm Permalink

    Those prayers were awfully political. Which I guess is okay, but does feel weird. It kinda makes me think we’re forcing God to be in favor of one political party or the other.
    And it does seem like a weird mix of faith and politics. And what would happen if they tried to get someone of another faith to pray?
    These issues are so complex and so close to our hearts it’s just scary!

  4. Aunt Linda 29 August 2008 at 6:54 pm Permalink

    Hey Bobby, you have asked a loaded question, near and dear to my heart. As you know, I work for the Board of Supervisors in my county, and each meeting starts with a prayer. I have often wondered why we have not been approached about prayer at the beginning of the meeting, as not everyone has the same beliefs. However, in my 12 years I have never heard anyone object to the prayer, which I must say amazes me. As far as prayer in itself, I don’t think they should pray before the Board meeting or the Convention; however, if they do, I say keep it generic. I don’t see anything wrong in praying for help in making the right decisions. I do have a problem when you start praying that “teachers will receive better pay,” as that is definitely ones opinion. In listening to the prayers that you posted, I think they were done in good taste and, in the most part, do not think they were being used as a political forum, except when teachers’ pay was mentioned. I like the closing of Joel Hunter’s where he asked everyone to close in their own faith.
    Love ya,
    Aunt Linda

  5. alex mclean 29 August 2008 at 6:33 pm Permalink

    Are politicians using those of faith just for the sake of votes?
    YES, and I don’t know what to think either…

  6. Ryan Lipert 29 August 2008 at 3:39 pm Permalink

    Would it have been weird if they had a muslim or a buddhist pray?


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