Rabbis, Religion to Star at the Democratic Convention

Rabbi Mark Schneier will present at the Democratic Convention next week

In an effort to display the religiousness of its candidate and reach out to religious voters, the Democratic National Convention will feature numerous events, speakers and even prayer services next week in Denver.

Four rabbis were invited to the conference. David Saperstein, the Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, will offer a prayer before the 70,000 people who are expected to attend on August 28, the day Sen. Barack Obama is scheduled to be officially nominated.

Other rabbis who will be in attendance include Orthodox rabbi Mark Schneier (left), the founding director of the Jewish-Muslim Foundation for Ethnic Understanding. He will take part in the opening ceremony alongside Reform rabbi Amy Schwartzman.

The Democratic party and its Convention Committee are working hard to ensure that Obama secures a significant number of religious voters. Although most Evangelical Christians have voted Republican in the past, Obama believes that he can win them over.

According to a press release,

“Democrats have been, are and will continue to be people of faith and this Convention will demonstrate that in an unprecedented way,” said Leah D. Daughtry, CEO of the DNCC. “As Convention CEO and a pastor myself, I am incredibly proud that so many esteemed leaders from the faith community will be with us to celebrate this historic occasion and honor the diverse faith traditions inside the Democratic Party.”

The upcoming convention will therefore involve the first-ever Faith Caucus meetings and “interfaith gathering”:

On Tuesday, August 26, the Faith Caucus will hold two panel discussions: “Common Ground on Common Good,” an opportunity to discuss finding common ground on the moral issues of the day, and “Faith in 2009: How an Obama Administration will Engage People of Faith.” On Thursday, August 28, the Caucus will convene for “Moral Values Issues Abroad,” a panel on how the faith community can work together to address pressing moral issues around the world, and “Getting Out the Faith Vote,” a session on how to appropriately engage communities of faith in the 2008 election.

In addition, a first-ever Democratic National Convention interfaith gathering will kick off the week, bringing delegates, elected officials, local residents, musical guests and spiritual leaders from many communities of faith together for a unique gathering. In addition to keynote remarks, the program will include readings from diverse religious texts, prayers and musical selections.

Benjamin Schuman-Stoler


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