Prayer at the Obama Rally

Yesterday I attended the Obama rally at Metro Park here in Jacksonville, Florida. It was the first campaign rally I've ever attended, so I didn't know exactly what to expect, but I was greatly disappointed by how it began: the very first speaker was a Christian minister who delivered a public prayer! What's more, it was explicitly Christian and partisan because he prayed “in Christ's name” and asked for blessings specifically for Obama and not the other candidates. I immediately wanted to boo to express my objection to this religious invocation at a supposedly secular political event, but I was afraid of the consequences of such vocal opposition, so I just kept my head raised, crossed my arms, frowned and looked around for others who shared my disapproval. I found some who didn't seem to be participating, and later a friend of mine told me she also had problems with the prayer. I know we weren't alone in our discomfort with it. Perhaps I will contact the Obama campaign today to register a complaint.

For me, the prayer put a damper on the entire event, though not enough to ruin the full experience. I got see and hear Obama in person as well as Senator Bill Nelson and few other political figures. The rally was certainly a success in terms of turnout: there were approximately twelve thousand people in attendance and another eight thousand who were turned away because there was no more room in the park! I just wish the Democratic Party would stick to the issues rather than pandering to the religious and sacrificing their commitment to secularism.


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