Amid the political speeches, organizing and parties at the Democratic National Convention, faith discussions emerged. Over 90 faith leaders, elected officials and Democratic delegates filed into a Catholic church in downtown Charlotte yesterday for a screening and panel discussion focused on faith and immigration.
Despite less attention to faith issues from journalists and politicians in Charlotte this week than at the Republican National Convention last week in Tampa, religion could still be found around the convention. From street preachers outside to DNC officials inside, religion filled the air.
On Tuesday, the Baptist Center for Ethics hosted two events on faith and immigration. Both events included a screening of the documentary “Gospel without Borders,” followed by an ecumenical panel discussion. Both events, autonomous from any political organization, were designed to bring a moral witness to DNC delegates, elected officials and church leaders.
“Welcome to one of the very few autonomous faith events during the Democratic National Convention,” said Robert Parham, BCE’s executive director, who welcomed people to Saint Peter’s Biss Hall. The church was founded in 1851 and sits near ground zero for this year’s DNC.
Following the screening, three bishops spoke about faith and immigration: Minerva Carcaño, the Los Angeles-area bishop for the United Methodist Church; Julian Gordy, bishop of the Southeastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; and Anthony Taylor, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Little Rock, Ark. All program leaders were faith leaders, and some clergy attended. Democratic delegates and officeholders came from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
On Tuesday evening as the DNC officially started, Park Road Baptist Church hosted the second screening for about 50 individuals. After the film, the panel discussion was led by Mauricio Castro, an organizer at the North Carolina Latino Coalition; Stephen Copley, a United Methodist minister who serves as director of Justice for Our Neighbors in Arkansas; and William Gregg, assistant bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina.
As Christian leaders discussed the moral implications of immigration and critiqued politicians of both major political parties—including President Barack Obama—DNC officials worked to use religion to help reelect Obama.
Each day of the convention includes a “Morning Prayer Gathering.” Additionally, delegates and others can attend “Faith Council” meetings on Monday and Wednesday. Each of these events is led by Reverend Derrick Harkins, the DNC’s Faith Outreach Director.
Stay with EthicsDaily.com for more coverage of the screenings and other faith events at the DNC, and visit http://www.facebook.com/EthicsDaily to see photos.