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August 26, 2008

Will an interfaith service attract religious votes?

If you want a good summary of the interfaith gathering, Mollie over at GetReligion has raked through the mainstream press with excellent analysis.

She notes that several of the reporters wrote that the interfaith event was an effort to reach out to "values voters."

"Now if the reporters actually think that the interfaith service would woo evangelicals in the GOP, they are probably high or know nothing about culturally conservative evangelicals," she writes.

Mollie also wrote a piece for National Review with a nice summary and background. She has been to several interfaith services and said that this one followed suit with a few exceptions.

Looking back, it barely felt like a worship service to me. There were readings (from everything but the New Testament), there was beautiful choir singing, and there were read prayers. But because of the heavy politics in the speeches, it felt a little more like a pep rally than a worship service.

As Mollie writes, "Will the interfaith gathering help more religious voters feel comfortable with the Democratic party? Only time will tell. It’s somewhat difficult to imagine which religious voters would be swayed by a worship service with such liberal political advocacy."

In an earlier post, columnist Cal Thomas pointed out how many other evangelicals might feel about interfaith services.

"What do Christians have in common with Islam and with any of those other so called faiths that were there? Jesus said, 'I’m the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by me.' Why waste time on other things?"

Comments

The politics editor for Beliefnet.com Dan Gilgoff makes the excellent point on NPR's Fresh Air Monday that Barack Obama and his crew aren't necessarily attempting to win over a huge majority of religious-voters, rather, they are attempt to skim off enough in order to carry key states like Ohio where a Democratic governor was elected in a state that voted narrowly for Bush in 2000 and 2004.

I still don't know anyone not already voting for Obama who would vote Democrat on the strength of an interfaith service. The opposite is far more likely, in fact, since interfaith services tend to be a shallow mishmash of hollow going through the motions that does disrespect to every faith it claims to represent.

I wholeheartedly agree with Cal Thomas that Christianity does not have anything in common with the other religions at the interfaith services. As he quoted, Christians do not believe there are multiple ways to heaven and God but that there is only one. This clarifies what Christians think-that other religions are false and a waste of time.