Published September 05, 2012
Republican running mate Paul Ryan criticized Democrats Wednesday for having "purged" the word "God" from their official platform, calling the move "peculiar" as Democrats downplayed the omission.
"I think it's rather peculiar. It's not in keeping with our founding documents, our founding vision, but I guess you'd have to ask the Obama administration why they purged all this language from their platform," Ryan said in an interview with Fox News.
He was among several conservatives complaining after the official party platform was adopted late Tuesday at the Democratic convention in Charlotte, N.C.
The Democrats' 2008 platform, like platforms before it, included the word "God."
It said: "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 2012 platform did not use the word. A similar section said: "We gather to reclaim the basic bargain that built the largest middle class and the most prosperous nation on Earth -- the simple principle that in America, hard work should pay off, responsibility should be rewarded, and each one of us should be able to go as far as our talent and drive take us."
Democrats rejected the notion that the omission was a sign the party was ignoring faith.
One Democratic official told Fox News that the 2008 reference was about growing the middle class, and not about faith, and noted the new platform includes an entire plank on the importance of faith-based groups. The official noted that the platform repeatedly uses words like "faith" and "religion" and church."
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., in an interview with Fox News, vigorously rejected criticism of the platform, and said both parties are "devoted to this country" and "God-fearing" and urged people to move on.
"Those of us who believe in God and those of us who have dedicated our lives to helping others in the name of God don't want to take a second seat to anyone who is suggesting that one word out of the platform means the Democrats across America are godless," he said.
Religious conservatives, though, took exception to the party's new language.
Maureen Ferguson, an adviser with The Catholic Association, called it evidence of "the hostility President Obama and the Democratic Party establishment have toward religion and people of faith."