- (Photo: REUTERS/Jim Young)
CHARLOTTE – Democrats are saying there was "no discord" over Wednesday's motion offered by former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland to insert the words "God" and "Jerusalem" back into the Democratic Party's platform after the platform committee passed the original version omitting the words. However, some delegates and convention attendees disagree and say words should not have been added and that the voice vote was not reflective of two-thirds of those present.
Key Democrats such as Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Los Angles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa claim all the attention to the issue is unwarranted and that inserting the words back into the platform was not done to correct an oversight, but rather to reflect the personal views of President Obama.
"It was essentially a technical oversight and because President Obama because he personally believes that Jerusalem should be the capital of Israel …The language on God – while we were amending the platform to include Jerusalem we also thought it was important that we made a reference there," Wasserman-Schultz told CNN, referring to the efforts to reinsert God to the platform.
The Christian Post happened to encounter the Florida congresswoman as she was walking into the Charlotte Convention Center Wednesday morning and when asked if she felt the motion would have passed on a roll-call vote, she refused to answer the question after asking what media outlet the reporter was from.
"I don't have time to deal with this stuff," she said as she was scurried away by staffers.
Moments later The Christian Post ran into Mayor Villaraigosa in the convention hall. When asked if she felt the motion passed by a two-thirds margin, he said, "Absolutely. And let me also point out that under convention rules, any delegate has 10 minutes to protest the vote and no one did. I think that says it all."
Yet a question being asked by pundits is can Republicans capture votes from religious Democrats or independents who do care about recognizing God and Jerusalem and feel isolated by a growing liberal movement in America?
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council thinks the Democrats committed a major blunder by failing to keep God and Jerusalem in their platform and that Mitt Romney now has a chance to convince moderates he is the better candidate.
"The Democrats relented because there was a major push-back by Christian Democrats," Perkins told The Christian Post. "Now Romney has the same opportunity to capture what in the 1980s were known as 'Reagan Democrats.' These are moderate Democrats who for the most part are Christians and have a hard time with an overtly liberal agenda being presented by Obama and the Democrats."
Anita Hayes, a black Democratic activist from Georgia, is not a delegate but was attending the convention as a guest and happened to be in the convention center when the motion was made. "I think it's ridiculous my party would exclude God from their platform. I don't know what these folks are thinking but most everyone I know goes to church and worships Jesus. It's those atheists who should have been quiet. Why do they care anyway?"
But others who were attending the convention disagree that the platform should have been changed.
Iowa delegate Dennis Roseman, who is Jewish by birth but describes himself as an agnostic, said he may be one of the few delegates who care about the platform and what it says. "Platform issues are important to me and I care about the process," Roseman told CP. "I didn't boo when the motion was made, but I did vote against the changes. It's not the words God and Jerusalem that bothered me so much as why they needed to be added."
Roseman was unsure if the motion would have passed with a roll-call vote of each delegate. "I don't know," he said.
Another Hispanic delegate from Arizona who said she is Catholic but declined to give her name said she didn't think the media needed to be covering the issue and that it didn't matter what others, especially Republicans thought of them. "Everyone thinks Democrats are nothing but a bunch of atheists so why does it matter anyway?" she asked, on her way to see President Obama speak. "No, they should not have changed the platform and it made no difference to me if God was in there or not."
The convention will conclude Thursday evening with President Obama formally accepting his party's nomination.