'Blue Like Jazz' Author Prays at Democratic Convention

The author of the spiritual bestseller Blue Like Jazz asked God to help solve America's problems in his prayer at the Democratic National Convention Monday night.

From social problems such as broken families to personal issues like apathy, Donald Miller invoked the name of Jesus Christ to right these wrongs.

"We need you, God, as individuals and also as a nation," Miller prayed before thousands of people attending the Denver convention. "Help us serve people, not just causes. And stand up to specific injustices rather than vague notions."

God was asked to help lawmakers work together to "finally" provide health care to the uninsured, a living wage for families, and equal educational opportunities for children.

"We have tried to solve these problems ourselves but they are still there," Miller, a Republican turned registered Democrat, prayed. "We need your help."

The popular young evangelical author was tapped to give the benediction at the DNC in place of another young evangelical who backed out last week.

Cameron Strang, the editor of the hip, young adult-oriented Relevant Magazine, pulled out of delivering the benediction citing fear that his bridge-building effort would be misinterpreted as an endorsement, according to The Associated Press.

Strang, the son of Charisma Magazine founder Steven Strang, is a registered Republican. And the elder Strang has endorsed presumptive Republican nominee John McCain.

Instead of speaking on the main stage on opening night, the younger Strang said he prefers to participate in a lower profile event such as one of the convention's faith forums.

The Democratic National Convention this year is like none other because of the prominent role of religion throughout the weeklong gathering. The convention holds its first-ever faith caucus meetings this week to discuss topics important to religious voters.

In addition to the faith forums, each night there is an opening invocation and closing benediction delivered by religious leaders.

The appearances of Miller and Strang are meant to appeal to young evangelical voters, which surveys show are more open to the Democratic Party than their predecessors.

While these young faith voters still consider the issues of abortion and gay "marriage" important, they also care about poverty, torture, genocide, and creation care.

As a result, young evangelicals are being heavily courted by both parties because of their refusal to align themselves with a political party.

Other speakers at the DNC's opening day were Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts and Michelle Obama, who both garnered rave reviews from political experts.

Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, the former bitter rival of presumptive Democrat nominee Barack Obama, will give the much-anticipated keynote address on Tuesday.

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