Perry prayer event hopes to pray away the malaise
August 5th, 2011
06:34 PM ET
3 years ago

Perry prayer event hopes to pray away the malaise

Houston, Texas (CNN) – Rick Perry seems to believe in the power of mixing prayer and politics.

The Texas governor has called on both Christians and politicians to attend his religious gathering, dubbed "The Response," in Houston this weekend.

In a video posted on "The Response" web site, Perry said he hopes worshipers at the event will help kick-start the nation's sluggish economy. In other words: pray away the malaise.

"With the economy in trouble, communities in crisis, and people adrift in a sea of moral relativism, we need God's help. That's why I'm calling on Americans to pray and fast like Jesus did," Perry said on the web video.

With Perry, the script often comes with an extra helping of scripture.

Last month, Perry told the Des Moines Register he feels "called" to run for president.

Back in April, he declared days of prayer for rain to combat the state's oppressive drought.

In May, Perry told a televangelist he believed the Great Recession served a higher purpose. "I think we are going through those difficult economic times for a purpose to bring us back to those Biblical principles," he said on Pastor James Robison's program, "Life Today."

Each time Perry has blended the political with the spiritual he has made no apologies.

"I am a man of faith," Perry said at a news conference last month.

In the weeks leading up to "The Response," critics have accused the governor of tearing down the wall separating church and state.

Barry Lynn, Executive Director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, argues nobody elected Perry state pastor.

"Many people down here love the slogan called 'Don't Mess with Texas.' It's a very effective campaign. I'd say to the governor don't mess with the Constitution," Lynn said.

None of this criticism has dimmed Perry's potent star power in the GOP where he is considered a potential game changer in the race for the Republican nomination.

Bill Martin, a professor of politics and religion at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy, says Perry's spiritual messaging certainly helps him in Republican primaries. But after that, it's a leap of faith.

Martin says Americans like their presidents to be religious, just not too religious.

"Having an event like this will be brought up again and again by his opponents to say Governor Perry does not represent an example of the separation of church and state," Martin said.

Perry is expected to speak at "The Response." But his aides are tight-lipped about what he might say. Will he just pray? What exactly will he pontificate?

The governor has seen his public appeals for prayer fall short before. Four months after his days of prayer for rain, the state is still reeling from one of its worst droughts.

Then there's the response for "The Response." Roughly 8000 people have registered on-line to attend the event, far short of the venue's seating capacity of over 70,000.

Despite his calls for governors across the country to join him at the gathering, Kansas Republican Sam Brownback is Perry's only gubernatorial colleague to signal he would come to Houston.

On Friday, organizers were unsure whether Brownback would indeed attend.


Filed under: 2012 • Religion • Rick Perry • Texas
soundoff (120 Responses)
  1. miketofdal

    A prayer meeting called by the governor who was taped cussing out a state trooper who stopped his automobile for speeding. Cussed him up one side and down the other, berating him with "Do you know who I am?!" This Christian wants to hold a prayer meeting? Save me from such Christians, God.

    August 5, 2011 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  2. Indy

    Does he ever work ? Most people put in a lot hours per week but Perry seems to be on a Royal tour selling himself, maybe he should resign

    August 5, 2011 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  3. ted

    Is this guy another Jimmy Swaggart or Jim Bakker or one of those right wing evangleicals OR just an imposter politician.? I used to call myself a Christian, but the rightwing lunatics have convinced me to not do that because I do not want to be associated in any way with the wackos that take the Bible and interpret it in their own special way which is typically screwed up in some way. This Perry clown has no credibility.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    August 5, 2011 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  4. Hot Dog

    It is just sickening how politicians try to use religion to promote their political agendas. These same politicians forget all about God when it comes to equal rights. To be honest it is very comical.

    August 5, 2011 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  5. Ed Texas

    Dr God, Please protect me from false profits like Rick Perry and the gang of Extreme RIght Wing, so called Preachers who will be attending the so called religious gathering, dubbed "The Response." Please give Americans the ability to see this is nothing but a GOP political rally disquised as a religious event. Help them see there are Christians who happen to be Democrats, Liberals, Socialists, Feminist, African American, Hispanic, Gays, Lesbians, – all made by you! Amen

    August 5, 2011 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  6. AW

    What ever happened to separation of church and state?

    August 5, 2011 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  7. bj

    Pray away discrimination, ignorance and deception also.

    August 5, 2011 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  8. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I'd say even though Perry was a failing academic student he sure learned a lot from GWB because it was Bush that also proclaimed "I am a man of faith", then the lying started. Look for Perry to lie about his speech of sucession, look for him to lie about his $90/year tides to the church, look for him to say he made it rain in Texas, look for him to lie about everything that comes out once he's vetted that he wasn't able to coverup which has delayed his annoucement to run for president, just look for a lie coming from Perry. But don't forget, he said "he's a man of faith" and remember "men of faith" don't lie.

    August 5, 2011 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  9. Don

    I know what I’ll be praying for, which is that in 2012 the Country’s suffering ends when we elect a new President. Hope for Change 2012.

    August 5, 2011 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  10. kat

    I'm glad to see that there are some politicians who aren't ashamed to show their faith. It's no wonder our country is in such a mess. They are always trying to make Religion taboo.

    August 5, 2011 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  11. glenda

    Perry is nothing but a hypocrite, just like GW Bush. All he has to do is make promises to big business like Bush and Obama did, and the money just comes flowing in. That's why our country is in such a mess.

    August 5, 2011 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  12. thomas

    Pray away the facts !
    That was the year Enron pushed its holy grail, deregulation of retail electricity, through the Texas legislature. Through its joint venture, the New Power Company, Enron stood to make a bundle when competition officially began in January of this year–if only the company were around to see it. Instead, Lay and his wife are fighting for liquidity, and the state's top Republican officials are heading into an election year with a Texas-size albatross around their necks. Governor Rick Perry has taken more than $227,075 from the company, including a $25,000 check from Ken Lay delivered the day after Perry appointed a former Enron executive, Max Yzaguirre, to head the Texas Public Utility Commission. Yzaguirre resigned under pressure on January 18, but Perry says he will not be returning the money.

    Perry/Enron 2012
    It's all about the job creators !

    August 5, 2011 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  13. Faithful Servant

    Did you know that when you carry "the Bible," Satan has a headache, when you open it, he collapses, when he sees you reading it, he loses his strength, and when you stand on the Word of God, Satan can't hurt you!

    August 5, 2011 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  14. Be Scared

    Really? This is the guy that the Republicans want to run for President, be their hero and settle their election prospects for good.

    Wow. What a nutjob. Didn't anyone learn anything from 8 years of George W. and Jesus in office? Abstinence-only sex education, creation "science" ("teach the controversy") in school curricula, quashing of stem-cell research...

    They shudder at the (zero-probably) likelihood of sharia law, yet think that a Christian semi-theocracy would be just the thing. Take a look at an institution run according to "Christian" principles–Bob Jones University, to take an example off the top of my head–see how you'd like the lifestyle. Yeah, I didn't think so.

    August 5, 2011 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  15. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    Perry, the GOBPbaggers' latest Great White Dope, is as phony a "christian" as they come. Of course, that means he'll fool a lot of teatard phony "christians", who'll no doubt overlook his horrible record of fiscal mismanagement.

    August 5, 2011 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  16. Judson Bailiff

    I challenge Mr. Lynn or anyone else to site where the Constitution talks about the separation of church and state.

    August 5, 2011 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  17. thomas

    I haven't decided wether to go see Rick Perry or the of Planet of the Apes !

    August 5, 2011 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  18. Dan in AZ

    Pray for Rain..Pray for Peace...Pray for Jobs....how about praying for intelligent politicians who understand how to negotiate, compromise, and work together to make good decisions that will help the Country and Americans. Perry should keep his faith to himself...or...resign and become a preacher, if he wants to act like Elmer Gantry or Father Divine. This is why the Repub cast of characters this year is a bona fide circus of clowns.

    Keep up the circus, Repug boys and girls.....You've given the WH to the Dems in 2012.

    August 5, 2011 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17

    August 5, 2011 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  20. Penobscot

    What a nut job...as are most evangelicals...

    August 5, 2011 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. Daniel 6:10

    August 5, 2011 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  22. jay in california

    zomfg this is what the teabaggers have to offer? Say yer prayers America!

    August 5, 2011 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  23. Cedar Hill Press

    I'm a believer when pressed and early in the a.m. before my first cup of coffee, but OMG to bother the Almighty or even my manicurist with this problem rather than accepting voter responsibility for letting the extremists high-jack our way of life is heresy and just plain stupid. A grassroots (massive) US voter response is required to get these guys out of office and elect smart people of good character who will honor their promises. If any of us violated our committments the way Congress/Senate has we'd be in jail (shortly after being fired).

    August 5, 2011 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  24. Mike-WA

    This is a political event. If they pray that all politicians (Democrat and Republican) will work together and be successful in turning this country around then this might be a meaningful event. But they won't. They will pray for Obama's failure. This is hate and it is hate at the expense of the American people and at the expense and shame of true Christianity.

    The Evangelical Christian movement always claims that any major catasthrophe is a message God is sending to us. Given that most of these catasthrophic events occur in the backward hillbilly Bible-belt, I wonder if they can comphrehend who God is sending the message to. Perhaps God isn't happy with the movement's distortion and perversion of Christianity that has been occuring over the past several decades.

    August 5, 2011 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  25. Al-NY,NY

    how about we pray away Rick Perry? This guy is clueless. His "pray away the malaise" will no doubt include some words about the "un-american, christian-hating Muslim" that currently lives in the White House as a way to get the country back on it's feet.

    August 5, 2011 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
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