09/07/2012 05:47 pm ET Updated Nov 07, 2012

Democrats Learn in Charlotte There's No Separation of Church and US Politics

It was the Democrats' turn this week to try to mend some boo-boos about religious intolerance at their convention in Charlotte, N.C.

For although America's forefathers tried to separate church from state more than two centuries ago, Democrats still haven't learned there's absolutely no separating religion from politics.

In American politics, you better trust in God -- or at least mention his name -- if you hope to be elected or reelected to any political office.

The Democrats' first ungodly mistake was allowing the platform committee to remove a 2008 plank that referenced God in extolling hard work: "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 GOP -- God's Only Party? -- immediately bounced on the omission.

Then, the Democrats removed another time-honored plank meant to encourage Jewish voters and contributors: the belief that Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of Israel.

While Israelis consider the Holy City the capital of their country and a 1995 U.S. law recognizes Jerusalem as such, Palestinians also claim a right to the city as the capital of a future state. It's a contentious issue in Mideast diplomacy and explains why nations that have relations with the Jewish state -- including the U.S. -- house their embassies in Tel Aviv.

But about a month ago, Mitt Romney said he would make it a priority to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

So after the Democrats removed the reference to Jerusalem this week, the Republicans reignited the issue, one that is near and dear to many Jewish voters in critical swing states like Florida.

Following divine intervention by President Obama, both God and Jerusalem were put back into platform, though not without some chaos and parliamentary uncertainty on the convention floor about the vote.

When the amendments passed by a questionable voice vote, many in the audience booed, exposing deep dissension among a good number of Democrats.

Adding fuel to the burning bush was Palm Beach County Democratic Chairman Marc Alan Siegel, who questioned Christian support of Israel.

"I'm Jewish, I'm not a fan of any other religion than Judaism... The Christians just want us to be there so we can all be slaughtered and converted and bring on the second coming of Jesus Christ," he said.

Siegel later apologized for his remarks, but Democratic State Rep. Joseph Abruzzo called for him to resign:

"Chairman Siegel's comments are appalling and disgusting. His comments do not reflect the views of the Democratic Party."

After a week's worth of political sinning in Charlotte, Abruzzo may have it wrong. Based on events at the convention, Siegel may be speaking for more than a small minority of Democratic politicos who think God and Israel aren't as popular as they used to be among Democrats.

But only God knows for sure.

Published in Florida Voices on September 7, 2012

Steven Kurlander blogs at Kurly's Kommentary, writes a weekly column for Fort Lauderdale's Sun-Sentinel and is a communications strategist. He can be emailed at