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Washington, DC /Christian News/ — Both American political parties’ national conventions this year are featuring prayers by Protestant, Evangelical, Catholic Orthodox and Jewish clergy, with the Republican event also including a Sikh. Carefully nonsectarian, the prayers exemplify American civic religion while also revealing subtle emphases by various clerics.
Most in the spotlight has been New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, an outspoken critic of Obamacare’s contraceptive/abortifacient mandate, who closed the Republican Convention in Tampa. The attention lavished on Dolan’s GOP appearance has resulted in his scheduling to appear also at this week’s Democratic Convention, where he will again deliver a closing benediction on the final night.
Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD) President Mark Tooley commented “Although we are supposedly in a hyper secular, post-Christian age, clergy and faith talk still seem very prominent in American political discourse.
“These political convention prayers, with other aspects of American civil religion, sometimes mocked by the purists and cynics, are somewhat reassuring.
“America, for all its failures and hypocrisies, remains an overwhelmingly religious country. If anything, religion’s political role in America seems as paramount as ever.
“Neither Cardinal Dolan nor the other clergy are likely to shake any rafters this year. But their presence is deeply important and symbolic of America’s continued if uneven religiosity.”