There was a lot of talk about the Islamic prayer meeting last Friday in Charlotte. It was sanctioned by the DNC and was expected to draw 20,000. It drew perhaps 200. There was a lot of talk about the Occupy protests that were expected to add a disruptive presence to the city, but less than 1,000 protesters showed up, despite months of hype and build up. There was, however, a rally that drew multiplied thousands of attendees on Sunday and was officially shunned by the DNC. Oh, you didn’t hear about it?
I’m speaking about the Charlotte 714 rally (based on the biblical text found in 2 Chronicles 7:14) where Christians from more than 100 different churches in the region attended a 7-hour, non-political rally at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. (According to the figures released by the amphitheater, there were 9,000 total attendees over the course of the day.)
A few weeks before the DNC, the churches involved in the event made an effort to “adopt a delegation,” offering to send welcome baskets with information about their churches and the city. But the “Democrats denied the evangelical group permission because of its pro-life stance.”
According to David Benham, the organizer of Charlotte 714, “The mayor’s office texted me and said, ‘We regret to inform but we ask that you not send those letters, and not engage in ‘Adopt a Delegation,’ because your views on women are contrary to the convention.’”
It appears, then, that to deeply honor women as wives and moms and singles who make an immense contribution to the well-being of our society and to highly esteem babies in the womb (including female babies) is to hold to a view of women that is “contrary to the convention.”
It’s also quite ironic (or should I say hypocritical?) that, while rejecting these pro-life Christians, the DNC endorsed the Muslim prayer meeting. Were these Muslims who gathered to pray pro-abortion? Did they embrace feminism? Did they support same-sex “marriage”?
But it’s not just Charlotte 714 that was shunned by the DNC. According to Rev. William Owens, president of the Coalition of African-American Pastors, “By taking this grave and unnecessary step of endorsing gay marriage in the party platform, President Obama and the Democratic party are once again putting black Christians at the back of the bus.” He continued, “Every other constituent of President Obama, every other key part of the party base—gays, latinos, women—gets a hearing except black voters whose voices and values are ignored. This is more than a shame, it’s an outrage. We are here to warn the Democrats: do not leave out black Christians, do not take our votes for granted.”
And could it be that the DNC is also taking the Jewish vote for granted? The 2008 platform stated explicitly that “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel.” That entire statement has been removed from the 2012 platform, among other important changes.
But there’s more: God himself has been removed from the platform. The 2008 platform stated that, “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.” It now states that “each one of us should be able to go as far as our talent and drive take us.”
Thankfully, God was front and center at the Charlotte 714 event, an event that was significant because it was, far and away, the largest gathering in Charlotte outside of the DNC itself; it gathered together a diverse group of pastors, leaders, and congregations; and it was totally non-political in tone. In fact, the only really “political” moment of the day came when a black minister urged his fellow African-Americans not to vote for President Obama because of his radically pro-abortion stance. Yet there was not the slightest call to vote for Mitt Romney, whose name may not have been mentioned once.
Instead, the focus was on our sins and failings as the Church in our nation, recognizing that America’s greatest problem is not so much the presence of darkness as it is the absence of light. As I said in the closing message of the night, “The only reason that abortion of demand still exists in Charlotte and there is not a greater hope for the mothers and their babies is because of the apathy of the Church. And no-fault divorce among heterosexual Christians has done more to destroy marriage than all the gay activists combined.”
Thankfully, the response was heartening, as thousands pledged themselves afresh to be “the salt of the earth and the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-16), wanting to make Charlotte 714 into a movement more than an event. It’s a shame that you probably didn’t hear about it until now.
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, includingLine of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.