Author Zach Lorentz
Zach is the current Director of Public Affairs of the Secular Student Alliance at Missouri S&T. His interests include sexual freedom, reproductive rights, LGBT equality, and advocating for proper scientific education and understanding.
To the Democratic Party and President Barack Obama,
I would like to facetiously thank you for making me feel invisible, if not unwanted, at your recent convention. In the three areas of platform, proselytizing, and language, you impressed upon me a distinct air of disdain. Your actions made me, a lifelong Democrat and liberal, feel disowned from the party I have loyally supported.
The most noticeable transgression was the reinsertion of a “faith” clause into your platform. After pressure and derision from people who will not vote for you anyway, you forced a glad-handing adulation back into the platform. Yes, forced is the correct word; despite a voice vote that was not conclusive and definitely not two-thirds conclusive, your leadership carried on with an unspoken dictate to pass the motion. This divisive part marred an otherwise unifying and inspiring convention.
That voice vote, however, will have to contend for worst with the choice of Cardinal Dolan for the benediction. I would advise that you never ask him to speak again, or that you heavily edit and proofread his remarks before he takes the stage. When not directly reprimanded against, clergy will not hesitate to insert political statements into prayer. He turned what could have been an unnecessary pleading for divine favor into a subversive ‘pro-birth’ spiel; this directly undermined the fight for Women’s choice, ably advocated for Keenan, Richards, Fluke, and even Obama. His prayer became a prime example of religious political arm-twisting.
Hurtfully, Dolan and almost every other lofty speaker directly excluded nonbelievers and even non-Christians. Every mention and citation of scripture, every affirmation of “faith,” and every implicit omission or damnation of non-believers pushed me and others back into the unlit wings of your party. Wasn’t one of the memes at the convention something about Democrats “growing a backbone?” Where was that backbone when you left atheists, agnostics, humanists, and others in the cold? Despite claims that Obama does not look at polls or purely consider the political implications of his actions, this omission and abandonment of my entire constituency rings loudly of political cowardice.
Most saddening, the Democratic Party knows it can afford to ignore and reject our support. You know that, considering the opposition that directly and unabashedly aims to install a Christian theocracy. You know that we will begrudgingly accept your cold shoulder over that alternative. However, the secular activists will not be ignored for much longer. Similar to LGBT and women’s activism, the seculars will grow so loud and numerous, and their issues will be so pertinent, that you can no longer deny the Secular Juggernaut in front of you. That day will come, and hopefully it will be within my lifetime. Someday I hope that I or another might be able to stand onstage at the DNC and proudly state my non-belief with the great acceptance of the party I have always supported.