By Fidel "Butch" Montoya
The Democrats made their strongest pitch ever toward Evangelicals this past week in Denver, Colorado at their national convention. The first ever “Interfaith Gathering” was the first official function of the convention.
It was to be a time when different representatives from various faith beliefs could gather, in the name of unity, proclaim, and exalt their faith in an atmosphere of tolerance. There was a Jewish Rabbi, Muslim Iman, Buddhists Priest, Methodist Minister, Catholic leader, Pentecostal Preacher, and three more Jewish Rabbis.
The gathering, not to be confused with a “service,” as that title was too Evangelical for the planners of the event, was clearly an attempt to water down the Gospel.
The Jewish Daily reported that this was the first time that “the overt use of sectarian language” which had been used in the past, and alienated Jews and other minority religions was not overly emphasized.
Eric Sapp, a faith consultant working with the Democrats in planning the gathering said, “It just wasn’t Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.”
Clearly, the Democrats who have laid claim in their efforts to reach out to Evangelicals are talking out of both sides of their mouth. In one breath, they claim to want Evangelicals, especially Latino Pentecostals, to join the new tolerant and open Democrat Party. In the other breath, they were planning all along to discredit the name of Jesus.
Someone needs to tell the Democrats that they cannot play politics with our values and Christian beliefs.
In an interesting admission, the Jewish Daily reported, “Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, executive vice president of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, led the interfaith audience in a “Hebrew amen,” he prompted one of the event’s lighter moments when he added, “Now I feel more at home.”
“Now I feel more at home?”
It was okay for the other religious leaders of the Interfaith Gathering to feel at home by proclaiming or in some cases, leading the entire interfaith audience to join in some of their religious liturgy.
There were readings from the Torah, the Quran, but no reports of anybody reading from the Holy Bible. No wonder so many who do not proclaim Jesus as Lord felt at home.
President Bush was elected by over 80% of the Evangelical vote in the last election. Democrats fearing the growing influence and importance of religious faith in Evangelical voters, and who are faithful to vote on Election Day, are attempting to mislead these voters by creating a false sense of openness and tolerance for Evangelicals.
The Obama campaign is working overtime to attract the Jewish vote, which ironically in the past has always voted for the Democrats in large numbers. This time, with Barrak Obama running for President, the campaign is afraid that Obama’s alleged support for Israel is not recognizd by Jewish voters as strong enough. For that reason alone, it gave Jewish Rabbis prominent roles throughout the convention program.
The Democrats even had a “Faith Caucus” that explored the role of religion in politics. Several of the presenters at the caucus focused on “common good faith based initiatives” in politics. In a “Unity Breakfast,” Democrats attempted to paint a Party with a keen interest in ensuring that religion would play a role in an Obama Administration.
What is interesting is a proposition propagated by Jim Wallis of Sojourners, that Evangelicals are no longer interested in holding abortion and gay marriage as issues of importance. In other words, Wallis is trying to create a new Evangelical movement that is trying to water down the opposition of Evangelicals for two corner stone issues.
Instead, Wallis and the Democrats who finally have found religion, want the Church to concentrate on new issues, the emphasis on "new issues".
The Jewish Daily, reports, “Democrats say they are hoping to focus on areas of common values in all faiths — fighting poverty, loving one’s neighbor, justice, equality and caring for the earth — rather than their theological differences.”
Wait a minute, as a life long Democrat, I thought the Democrats were always against poverty, and for justice, equality, caring for the earth, and loving one’s neighbor? Have I been mislead all these years?
No wonder we are still fighting poverty, for justice for all people, for equality in human rights, caring about our environment, and respecting one another. It seems the Democrats have finally found the issues that Evangelicals have preached from the pulpit for years.
In all fairness, the Jewish Daily reports that “Jesus name” was used FOUR TIMES” during the Interfaith Gathering. “Oh my God, FOUR TIMES!” I sure hope the other religious leaders were not offended or felt uncomfortable with the use of Jesus name.
I had been invited to pray at this Interfaith Gathering by the CEO of Democratic National Convention Committee, Rev. Leah Daughtry. As you may have read in the newspaper, I was disinvited because I was deemed “too controversial” for the event and the campaign.
I have been wondering about a side conversation Rev. Daughtry, Rev. Apostle Ralph Beecham, President of the Greater Metropolitan Denver Ministerial Alliance and I had regarding invitations to pray in public. Daughtry said that if she was invited, people should know that as a Pentecostal she would pray in Jesus Name.
I told Rev. Daughtry I agreed and if I was asked to pray at an interfaith event, the people who invited me should understand that I would pray in Jesus Name as well. Rev. Apostle Ralph Beecham agreed with both of us. We decided this was a non-negotiable value.
Today, knowing that the Democrats do not want “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,” at their conventions, I am wondering if maybe Rev. Daughtry remembered I would end up praying in Jesus Name.
Who knows if I had not been disinvited, maybe the Jewish Daily would be reporting that a Pentecostal preacher from Denver stood up to pray at the Interfaith Gathering and made a whole lot of people uncomfortable because not only did he pray in Jesus Name, he ended up speaking in tongues.
In Jesus Name, Amen!
Fidel “Butch” Montoya
H. S. Power & Light Ministries – Latino Faith Initiative
Denver, Colorado 80212