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. carftch

    I wish Gov Perry all the best. And I will pray that this prayer event is a success. I wish I could attend but since I don't live near Houston I won't be able to. But my prayers will be with all that do attend. I'm sure that non Christians are probably welcome. It is just that they should be aware that the event is a prayer event so there will be alot of praying going on and we wouldn't want them to come and be affended by us Christians praying.

    August 5, 2011 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  2. NoWay

    We have enough evangelical nuts running around now. Guess Perry wants to become more like them – if that's possible.

    August 5, 2011 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  3. BostonianTheWoodlandsTX

    Can they pray away the Republicans ?

    I mean that whole party has fallen down the rabbit hole, and whatver rationale there may have been in the party has been tossed aside.

    From outright lies to attemping to re-write history.

    Perry should frighten everybody. I mean I'm a christian,but it has no part in politics.

    The last thing I need is some nut job telling us that god 'told him' to start a nuclear exchange with China or North Korea.

    I mean people need to really look at some of these kooks.

    August 5, 2011 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  4. dilberth

    I think he should start standing upright and face the problems that beset Texas instead of kneeling. Get off of your niece Gov. Perry. Get to work!

    August 5, 2011 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  5. Charlie in Maine

    " Dear God, Please save us from the stupidity of the neo-cons.

    August 5, 2011 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  6. Felipe

    Hear it...? "Thump. Thump. Thump..." as the Bible are being thumped. What's next, sacrificing a goat on the steps of Congress?

    August 5, 2011 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  7. SOUTHERN HOTTIEQ

    ....sort of like the Bachmann's praying-away-the-gay, eh?

    Not all of us here in Texas are nut cases....I apologize profusely for this inanity Gov. Perry is displaying. I don't think he's ever heard of separation of church and state. **sigh**

    August 5, 2011 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  8. SecedingfromTexas

    Guv Goodhair is now Guv Showboater.
    The list of peope he has asked to be there include Brian Fischer, John Hagee and Mike Bickle. Three of the most
    outrageous "Christian" speakers on this planet. The hate flows from their mouths as freely as water off a duck's
    back.
    I'm truly disgusted by this display of pseudo-Christian malarky. All of them are frauds in every sense of the word.

    August 5, 2011 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  9. nowar

    one of the participating ministers called the catholic church a whore. yep, i love the associates of perry. and i really believed that bush read scripture every day too. forget the fact that because of his insistence of warring with iraq, the end result was somewhere between 300000 and one million iraqi civilians are now dead, as well as 5000 brave americans. rove did his job. he sold weak minded american voters on the fact that God belonged to the republican party. ........i find it disgusting to use God in politics.

    August 5, 2011 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    KEEP RELIGION OUT OF POLITICS. This guy is an idiot...

    August 5, 2011 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  11. sick of republican phonies

    I sure don't think Americans are ready for another Texas governor as president. Give us 15 years or so for the damage to heal that the last Texas governor and his republican cronies caused.

    August 5, 2011 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  12. sick of republican phonies

    Perry, I guess your prayers for rain didn't work (did you try dancing?)

    August 5, 2011 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  13. Kelly

    Keep religion out of politics. Not only does it not belong, it defies the separation of church and state that was crucial to the formation of this country.

    August 5, 2011 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  14. sick of republican phonies

    Hmmmm, Texas is BURNING in a major heat wave... I think it's God's righteous divine wrath & punishment on the state that spewed up George W Bush and now Meathead Perry. I think it's too late for prayers, Gov...you better go right to the animal sacrifices.

    August 5, 2011 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  15. SB

    So "The Response" is to do nothing and hope it works out. Brilliant. Perry is an embarrassment to himself and to the GOP, only he doesn't understand why.

    August 5, 2011 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  16. Palin Power

    Rick Perry will not be President. Sarah Palin will be our next President and she will PWN him and the rest of the competition in the GOP primaries. Palin is a superior politician, governor and statesman than Perry. She is a truer Christian than Perry could ever be and is more closer to God Herself. Palin is the Chosen One!

    August 5, 2011 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  17. dilberth

    Perry is a very sick man.

    August 5, 2011 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  18. pn

    The GOP primary freak-show continues. It would be pretty scary to have an anti-science religious wacko like Perry as president.

    August 5, 2011 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  19. Let's get rational now

    I am so sick of Perry, Bachmann, etc. standing there and saying God told them to do this and God told them to do that. When they do what God told them to do it is mean, spiteful and hurtful. This is not the God I know (I hope). God knows this economy can't be fixed by praying it away. That is just plain idiocy. We need leaders in congress who can work together for all americans and not for their own private agendas or for outside parties agendas. Only then will we move forward.

    August 5, 2011 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  20. jean

    A prayer rally?

    Mt 6:5 "And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues, and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

    August 5, 2011 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  21. joe the plumber

    Just another false prophet masquerating as the people's choice.

    August 5, 2011 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  22. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    there is nothing wrong with prayer in my opinion, but different people of different faith do it different ways. Perry has been at odds with President Obama almost from day one, but I have YET to hear the very pious Perry say he would pray for the president and his family. In fact I have not heard any of the so-called popular evangelists offer prayer for the president something they have had little problem doing for former President Bush and even President Clinton. In fact the only prayer I can recall made public for Obama was by some right wing loon in Arizona praying for his DEATH. I live in Texas and Gov Perry going to the White House would be a BIG MISTAKE. Yet perhaps what it will take to end the "myth of Rick Perry" is for him to run and let the books be open and America can find out what many of us here in Texas that are not "blinded by the right" and worship FoxNews already know.

    August 5, 2011 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  23. GOP = Greed Over People

    Perhaps Pompadour Perry will ask God to praise the GOP tea baggers for the credit downgrade, that just cost every tax payer in this country more of our money.

    The House numbnuts, just added anywhere from 3 to 6 basis points to what we all will be paying to service our debt/deficit.

    No whining from anyone that actually voted for these economic cretins, you got what you voted for, the "failure of America".

    August 5, 2011 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  24. chill

    Personally, I'd pray away Perry if I could.

    August 5, 2011 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  25. Mike Dallas

    Explain to me one more time, what is the GOP thinking if it nominates self-described secessionist and after tomorrow, a known religious bigot to run the entire country?

    August 5, 2011 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
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