A recent media firestorm over referencing God in the 2012 Democratic Platform appears to be a bit of a tempest in a tea pot, ignoring critical context in a fashion that raises serious questions about the role of faith in public life. The controversy was kicked off by the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody, who noticed that the word “God” never appeared in the platform text despite the platform’s page-long discussion of the value of faith and religious institutions. The point was picked up by several Republican-leaning outlets, and then migrated into the mainstream media.
The Romney campaign has now jumped on this issue, sending Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan out to bash supposed Democratic hostility to faith:
It’s not in keeping with our founding documents, our founding vision. I’d guess you’d have to ask the Obama administration why they purged all this language from their platform. There sure is a lot of mention of government. I guess I would just put the onus and the burden on them to explain why they did all this, these purges of God.
The platform’s “Faith” section makes this plain:
Faith has always been a central part of the American story, and it has been a driving force of progress and justice throughout our history. We know that our nation, our communities, and our lives are made vastly stronger and richer by faith and the countless acts of justice and mercy it inspires. Faithbased organizations will always be critical allies in meeting the challenges that face our nation and our world – from domestic and global poverty, to climate change and human trafficking. People of faith and religious organizations do amazing work in communities across this country and the world, and we believe in lifting up and valuing that good work, and finding ways to support it where possible. We believe in constitutionally sound, evidence-based partnerships with faith-based and other non-profit organizations to serve those in need and advance our shared interests. There is no conflict between supporting faith-based institutions and respecting our Constitution, and a full commitment to both principles is essential for the continued flourishing of both faith and country.