Faith Du Jour

It was a faith buffet Sunday at the Democratic National Convention. Vote for Obama but feel free to worship the deity of your choice was the message.

A choir belted out a gospel song followed by a rabbi reciting a Torah reading. Helen Prejean, the Catholic nun who wrote "Dead Man Walking," spoke on the death penalty and young Muslim women in headscarves joined in on the fun.

It doesn't end there. There will be four "faith caucus" meetings, blessings to open and close each night, and panels and parties run by Democratic-leaning religious advocacy groups.

One hallmark of Democratic faith efforts at the convention is diversity. That can be a volatile mix. I know Obama is not running for head pastor, but Republicans are often blasted for mixing religion and politics. Will the Dems suffer the same objections?

It all part of a carefully orchestrated efforts to gain votes and Obama is not leaving anyone out. The campaign is giving a platform to people who otherwise would not have been invited to or attended a Democratic convention. One example is Joel Hunter, a moderate evangelical megachurch pastor from Orlando, Fla.

They have crafted language in the Democrats' abortion platform that acknowledges the need to help women who want to keep their pregnancies. Evangelical leader Jim Wallis helped with the "Christianese" as were new front groups such as Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. The thought being is you use the word "Catholic" some will fall for it.

Despite all the effort, there is little evidence religious votes are shifting. A Pew poll released last week showed the political preferences of religious voters, including highly sought Catholics and white evangelicals, have scarcely budged since 2004.

Get ready for the dog and donkey show. Just remember to read between the scripted lines and production pizazz.

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