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God is back in platform, but Dems still may have a religion problem

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Also opposed to the Jerusalem amendment were non-Muslims who said the status of Jerusalem should be decided during the peace process.

Orthodox Jewish leaders welcomed the change.

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"Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided so that — as has been the case only under Israeli sovereignty — people of all faiths have access to all holy sites," read a statement from the Orthodox Union.

The Arab American Institute accused the party of forcing the Jerusalem amendment into the platform and called it a "knee-jerk reaction to baseless accusations from the far right that the Democratic Party has ’thrown Israel under the bus.’ "

Also unhappy: atheists. Hemant Mehta, chairman of Foundation Beyond Belief, wrote in his "Friendly Atheist" blog that the Democrats showed some "backbone" by initially leaving God out of the platform. "Belief in God is a personal choice and there’s no reason to include reference to one faith or one system of belief in a platform designed to represent a large, far-from-monolithic party."

"You knew it wasn’t going to last," he added.

But if the Democrats have managed to press through the God/Jerusalem debacle in Charlotte, the issues remain for them during the campaign to come, said Willie Jennings, a theology professor at Duke University’s divinity school.

"The Republicans are going to need to try to find as many as ways as possible to fire their base up," Jennings said. "God language, religion, is one way."

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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