Perry hits Obama for war on faith, despite a ghost of 'holiday season' past
December 7th, 2011
04:32 PM ET
3 years ago

Perry hits Obama for war on faith, despite a ghost of 'holiday season' past

(CNN) - Rick Perry doubled down on his religion-based attack of President Barack Obama Wednesday, saying the president was preventing students from celebrating Christmas in schools. But just last year, Perry issued a holiday statement as governor of Texas that omits any mention of the Christian holiday.

In an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Perry said Obama and the political left were waging a "war on religious traditions," including preventing students from praying in schools and having Christmas parties.

"What we're seeing from the left, of which I would suggest to you, President Obama is a member of the left and substantial left-of-center beliefs, that you can't even have a Christmas party. You can't say a prayer at school," Perry said in an interview airing on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."

But in a holiday statement to troops issued by his office on Dec. 22, 2010 and posted on the governor's website, Perry fails to mention Christmas at all, sticking instead to more general terms like "holiday season."

"During this holiday season, remember to thank a first responder or salute a veteran for their service and pray for God's protection on them and their families," Perry said.

The concern over Christmas was part of a larger attempt by Perry to attack the president on religious grounds, an effort that also included a television ad, released in Iowa Wednesday, that paints a similar picture of the Obama's policies.

"I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a Christian, but you don't need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school," Perry says in the ad.

In the interview Wednesday, Perry said he stood by the spot.

"I'm very comfortable and with that ad," Perry said. "For one thing, my faith is part of me. The values that I learned in my Christian upbringing will affect my governing."

Perry said the Obama administration was executing a war on religious values by restricting federal funds to certain organizations.

"When you talk to the bishops of the Catholic Church, there is clearly an agenda by this administration to go after those Catholic charities that are offering health care, doing work or trafficking of individuals," Perry said.

"The administration is clearly sending messages to people of faith and organizations of faith that we're not going to support you with federal dollars," Perry continued.

Perry also mentioned he had yet to make a decision about participating in a debate sponsored by reality television star Donald Trump, saying he had planned a bus tour through Iowa on the same date, and wasn't sure if his schedule would allow participating in the Trump event.

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Filed under: 2012 • Religion • Rick Perry • TV-The Situation Room
soundoff (313 Responses)
  1. Rich

    Rick you are a gift to all who say we should start funding education more not less.Thanks Rick for showing up the tea party
    mentality.......What did god tell you this week?Did you hear from the baby jesus?Thanks for all you do.

    December 8, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  2. michael

    you know if he would just campaign at lets say walmart or perhaps a nascar or kkk meeting he might do fairly well

    December 8, 2011 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  3. questions_faith

    Rick Perry gives Christ followers a bad name

    December 8, 2011 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  4. Rich

    Rick is the second Texan to come forth and it doesn't say much tor Texas edjumacachun...

    December 8, 2011 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  5. kirk

    There has been a war on faith for years now. It is the main focus of the liberal media and socialist community. No surprise there. Most liberals have enough integrity to admit it.

    December 8, 2011 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  6. anagram_kid

    When people speak of us being a Christian nation, I always wonder which franchise they mean. Too many on the right seem to assume it will be their interpretation of a translation of a translation of a book of ancient myths written for a desert culture. Most importantly they do not understand that religion is not about faith it is about behavior – what you can, must and are forbidden to eat, say, read, wear… etc. There is no such thing as a free society that is ruled by religion.

    December 8, 2011 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  7. Doomed

    Perry is a hypocrite. He claims to be a "Godly" man, but there is nothing "Godly" about his actions. A Christian is to remain humble in the eyes of God. Tell me, what is humble about wearing $3,000 suits? What is humble about using tax dollars to remodel the Governors mansion? What is humble about his excessive need to be in the spotlight?

    Many times, Rick Perry has proven himself to be one type of man and that's a self-serving man. His lies and two-faced positions are a teastament to his true agenda......getting elected. The common good is the last thing he cares about.

    December 8, 2011 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  8. Keith

    "I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a Christian, but you don't need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school," Perry says in the ad.
    Based on his illogical correlation skills – this is enough proof Perry should not be President – he's lucky he's Governor of Texas. Maybe that doesn't say much about Texans but I've never been there.logic

    December 8, 2011 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  9. duncanandrew

    Most Americans would like one Christmas present. Rick Perry to quit his campaign. He is hurting the Republican ticket. He is a bad governor, ineffective as a leader, and isn't someone you would hire at Dairy Queen to work the drive through window.

    December 8, 2011 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  10. Rich

    Church and state Rich church and state

    December 8, 2011 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  11. strange tea

    I am so tired of Republicans trying to create issues that just are not there. Rick Perry is desperately trying to cause a distraction, so maybe Republican voters don't realize how uneducated and low brow he is. This country already went in the direction of the stumbling bumbling Texan and it didn't work out to well.

    December 8, 2011 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  12. Lee

    "...there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school,"

    1. What is intrinsically wrong with allowing American service men and women, who are already gay, to state the fact that they are gay? As far as I can tell, nothing.

    2. Children ARE allowed to pray and celebrate Christmas in schools. Teachers and other state employees, however, must remain neutral on matters of religion to avoid respecting the establishment of one religion over others. It is simple and Perry is either stupid or a liar who intentionally spreads myths about school prayer to drum up support from the least educated among us (or both).

    December 8, 2011 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  13. chuckly

    Geez, a male version of Palin. Didn't think that was possible.

    December 8, 2011 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  14. Blue

    He is looking more like George Bush everytime he opens his mouth. He is dumb and he should resign as Governor of Texas. Texas deserves better than he.

    December 8, 2011 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  15. A. Goodwin

    At my public school, my son does not have a Holiday party because they actually put that money towards their education! Rather than spend a few thousand on all the students to eat cookies and drink eggnog – someone is getting a tutor, extra help in math, or a new book.

    School is for learning...you want your kids to drink eggnog and have a party with their buddies? Host one at your house! And better yet – if you want your kids to pray in school – send them to a religious school.

    As an agnostic, I am perfectly happy with not making a big deal out of Christmas! And besides, its not about religion anymore...its about those awesome flat panel TV's everyone is getting (eyes rolling).

    December 8, 2011 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  16. strange tea

    I am so tired of the Republican claim that childeren aren't allowed to pray in school. My kids have never been stopped from praying while at school. What the Republican's are really upset about is they can't make everyones childern pray while at school.

    December 8, 2011 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  17. Jake

    stay FAR AWAY from the other 49, Rick!

    December 8, 2011 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  18. Gay From Missouri

    Yet Just another GOP digging his own grave

    December 8, 2011 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  19. Buster Bloodvessel

    Every year I like christmas less and less. I still haven't gotten a tree, but if I do I'm calling it a holiday tree in honor of Perry. He seems to have the mind of a small child.

    December 8, 2011 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  20. CaliforniaBC

    OKAY CNN! This story has been up for THREE DAYS now. OKAY We know how religious Perry is and how he will break right through that barrier between religion and government. We all know this...

    But isn't it time to move on to the other stupid things the gop candidates are doing? Perry is done and may well be on his last term as governor of Texas given how this campaign is going. There's other things to to write about.

    December 8, 2011 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  21. ps

    Since when are religious organizations supported with federal dollars?

    December 8, 2011 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  22. A Texas Democrat

    If he becomes our next Pres., we`ll be in a "Holy War" within a year....... This guy scares me and contrary to "their" belief, God has no political affiliation.

    December 8, 2011 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  23. Russell Hammond, Hollywood

    Unintended consequences – if the government supports and promotes Christmas (and Christianity) in public forums and venues, they must show support for other religions, including Islam. How will that go over with the Jesus right?

    December 8, 2011 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  24. ab

    This is a bunch of boloney! The president is doing no such thing. Perry is just another one of these people who have created a "war on Christmas" that exists only in their own heads.

    December 8, 2011 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  25. DB from Dallas

    I live in Dallas and I am appalled, embarrassed, and in disbelief of what a complete moron this man is! How he got elected governor of Texas is mind boggling. I would assume the state of Illinois feels the same about their former governor.

    As a country we all need to pay way more attention to the election process and make smarter choices!

    December 8, 2011 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
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