The Democratic National Convention’s Aug. 24 interfaith service in Denver is supposed to be about unity.
But to a Washington, D.C., coalition that supports nontheistic views, it’s about division.
The Secular Coalition Group, a lobbying organization for church-and-state separation, is pushing to get an atheist on the speaker list, and contends the service is divisive because it alienates nonreligious Democrats at a time when the party needs to unite to support the presumptive nominee, Sen. Barack Obama.
“We can all hold different beliefs,” said the group’s executive director, Lori Lipman Brown, “but we can still come together as patriotic Americans.”
The interfaith service, the first official event of the Democratic National Convention, has Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist speakers on the roster. Convention CEO Leah D. Daughtry, a Pentecostal minister, said in a statement that the purpose of the first-ever Democratic Convention service is “to honor the diverse faith traditions inside the Democratic Party.”
Brown said the coalition wrote Daughtry twice in July asking for inclusion but has received no response. She said Thursday she didn’t know if the group would make another request.
Natalie Wyeth, a convention spokesperson, said Wednesday that everyone, regardless of belief, is welcome at the public service, but would not address if an atheist would be added to the speaker list.
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