Posted: 09/06/2012 at 12:50pm
Chaotic Vote: Platform Change Sparks Rancor at DNC
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Democrats pulled a surprising about-face Wednesday, amending their party platform to reinstate language acknowledging God and declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel.
It reportedly took a personal request from President Obama to make it happen. Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland introduced the motion.
"As an ordained United Methodist minister, I'm here to affirm and attest that our faith and belief in God is central to the American story and informs the values we've expressed in our party's platform," Strickland said.
"In addition, President Obama recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and our party's platform should as well," he added.
Judging by the delegates' reaction on the convention floor, many were not happy about the changes.
A voice vote was called, but Democratic National Convention Chairman Antonio Villaraigosa couldn't decide if it passed or not, so he called for a second vote.
Villaraigosa eventually declared the amendment a success.
"In the opinion of the chair, two-thirds have voted, the motion is adopted and the platform has been amended as shown on the screen," he said.
But instead of the vote ending two days of bad headlines, more chaos erupted, with booing being heard throughout the convention hall.
The amendment in question returns the Democratic platform to the party's 2008 language.
"We need a government that stands up for the hopes, values, and interests of working people and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential," the amendment reads.
It also reinstates language affirming that "Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel."
The change came after the party fiercely defended the decision to remove "God" from the platform and publicly criticized those who denounced the move.
"To cast the aspersion that means God is excised from our work and from who we see ourselves as part of the American story is just unconscionable," DNC Faith Outreach Director Derrick Harkins said.
Democrats didn't expect the controversy that came with the platform. Delegates were blindsided by the decision to amend it. There was no discussion. Some even questioned if a quorum was present.
The 'Right Thing to Do'
The issue of acknowledging God in the Democratic Party's platform has been a distraction the DNC didn't want. But it's something it had to face given the uproar.
CBN News spoke with Democrats, some of them delegates, to get their reaction to the amendment.
"Do you think it was the right thing to do to reinstate God in the party platform?" CBN News's John Jessup asked Texas Democrat Mike Ellis.
"If that's what they wanted to do, it was the right thing to do," he replied. "I consider it a non-issue either way. It's fine with me."
Democrats Margaret Vanderhye of Virginia and Herbert Graves of Maryland agreed.
"Invoking God and the Spirit and something bigger was probably the most appropriate given the odds and the challenges that we all face. I thought it was a very hopeful thing to do," she said.
"God is a part of 'In God we trust,'" Graves said. "It's a part of the democracy. It's been embedded. It will always be embedded, and no matter what folks may want to do with it, you can't get around it."