Who would have thought that God and Jerusalem would become controversial issues at this year's Democratic National Convention?
Previous Democratic Party platforms had mentioned God and referred to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. After both were initially missing from this year's platform, someone apparently realized that this was likely to raise questions about Democrats that they could ill afford to have raised in an election year.
So the convention faced a vote on whether to restore God and Jerusalem to their party's platform. Rather than risk a roll-call vote from the delegates, the chair called for a voice vote. The voice vote sounded too close to call, but the chair called it anyway, ruling that those wanting God and Jerusalem restored had the necessary two-thirds vote.
This added an element of farce to the proceedings, but politicians are usually hardened against any sense of shame.
More was involved than a passing tempest in a teapot. Democrats were already politically vulnerable on the issue of not respecting religious freedom, because of the Obama administration's heavy-handed forcing of Catholic institutions to finance contraception, against their own religious principles.
Jerusalem raised very different questions. In the real world, there is no question that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. That is where their national government is located.
But in the murky world of international politics — and especially in the never-never land of the mythical "Middle East peace process" — the Palestinians' demand that Jerusalem be their capital has made liberals in general, and the Obama administration in particular, skittish about recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
Nothing that would call attention to Obama's policies toward Israel is likely to quiet the fears of Jewish voters in America, especially as regards the threat of a nuclear Iran, whose leaders have openly and repeatedly proclaimed their desire to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.
From the beginning, Barack Obama has tried to downplay the threat of a nuclear Iran. At one time he said dismissively that Iran was just "a small country."
In fact, Iran is physically larger than Japan, and its current population is slightly larger than what the population of Japan was when the Japanese dealt a devastating blow to the United States with its attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
A nuclear Iran can do a lot more damage to Israel than the Japanese did to the United States. Moreover, it is well on its way to being able to produce more than the two bombs that were enough to force Japan to surrender in 1945.
Israel is in a desperate situation — and there is no way that Barack Obama does not know that.
Of all the authors whose books about Barack Obama have flooded the market, Dinesh D'Souza has shown the best grasp of Obama's strange ideological view of the world. Based on that understanding, D'Souza said two years ago: "I predict that even as Iran develops the full capacity to build nuclear weapons, Obama will do little or nothing to stop it."
As for the possibility that Israel will "launch airstrikes to disable the Iranian nuclear facilities," D'Souza said, "I predict the Obama administration will do its best to prevent Israel from taking any such action."
That is what Obama is doing to this very moment. He has even taken the unconscionable step of revealing to the world Israel's secret arrangements with Azerbaijan to provide a refueling place for its planes going to or returning from an airstrike on Iran.
Dinesh D'Souza has no crystal ball. But you don't need a crystal ball to predict Barack Obama's hostile attitude toward Israel, despite all of Obama's lofty words saying the opposite.
All you need to know is the man's ideological history and the long line of ideologues who have helped him shape that ideology. These include Professor Edward Said, spokesman for Palestinian terrorists, under whom Obama studied at Columbia University.
The question of Jerusalem at the Democrats' convention threatened to open a can of worms that Barack Obama cannot afford to have opened, least of all in an election year.
Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His website is www.tsowell.com. To find out more about Thomas Sowell and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.