July 25, 2008

Democratic Convention To Include Interfaith Service Led By Pentecostal

Plans are coming together for the 2008 Democratic National Convention scheduled next month in Denver. But one question remains for the organizers to answer - what to do with those pesky atheists in the party. Specifically, should they be represented in the interfaith service someone deemed necessary to open the Convention? And in case you haven't heard about that yet, not only will there be an interfaith service, but it will be led by a Pentecostal minister, Leah Daughtry.

If you don't recall interfaith services at previous Democratic conventions, that is because this appears to be the first. Not surprisingly, atheists are asking whether they will have any role in such a service or whether they are correct to interpret this as exclusionary.

Personally, I am not overly worried about whether atheists end up being part of the interfaith service or not. On the other hand, I am worried about why an interfaith service is deemed necessary in a country founded on separation of church and state. I am even more bothered over the role of a Pentecostal minister in organizing the service.

If this article is accurate, as I believe it is, in describing the Pentecostal brand of Christianity as "a fast-growing growing branch of evangelical Christianity that emphasizes the supernatural, including healing, prophesy and speaking in tongues," you'll understand my concern. Modern Americans should be embarrassed by such a set of beliefs rather than trying to elevate them in status.

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