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

    No doubt Perry speaks to God...Door knobs...dinner plates...His hair...The!

    December 7, 2011 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  2. Kirksey

    We don't want him back here in Texas......! I have never voted for this person he is awful.

    December 7, 2011 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  3. sonny chapman

    Why must the Right always NEED to be mad at SOMETHING ?

    December 7, 2011 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    Aaaaaaand the "War on Christmas" demagoguery from the right wing fundamentalist religio-fascists arrives right on schedule.

    December 7, 2011 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  5. Stephen in VA

    Debra: CNN lied? But I watched his video myself. Our President is far from making any sort of war against religion. Perry, meanwhile, is making up stuff to get votes.

    December 7, 2011 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  6. Kris Craig

    For crying out loud, nobody is suggesting that students should be punished for saying a quiet prayer in school, just so long as it isn't done in a disruptive manner, a standard which applies to student conduct in general anyway.

    People like Perry use this as a scare tactic to obscure the fact that what they're really advocating is not to give students the *right* to pray in school, but to give schools the right to *require* students to pray. Mandating a class-wide prayer, for example, is what us evil liberals on the left are against. But if a student wants to read a Bible or Quo'ran or whatever else at recess or lunch, or say a quick silent prayer before taking a test, I don't know a single person who's against that on the left or on the right (though some on the right may object to the Quo'ran part).

    This is just a desperate move by a losing candidate who's starting to see the writing on the wall. It's a pity, too, as a Republican nomination of Rick Perry would all but assure President Obama an easy victory in 2012.

    December 7, 2011 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  7. Mr. Moderate

    Anybody can say a personal prayer in school. What is forbidden is having a representative of the government (that's what public school teachers are) tell your child how and when they should pray.

    December 7, 2011 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  8. normajean @ verizon ,com

    Anyone who would say that RICK PERRY WOULD MAKE A GREAT PRESIDENT is either someone who is very young and hasn't lived through very many administrations or someone who is just learning to read and can't quite put it all together!!! Perry is NOT presidential material ....he has not done that well as govenor of Texas and has shown himself to be a very confused and vacuous individual. He hasn't the depth and strength of character needed to be president!!!

    December 7, 2011 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  9. Nunya

    Complete paranoid BS that one hears from the religious right all the time. I've heard it for 30-40 years now. They will cite one particular individual in some podunk school somewhere overstepping their bounds in punishing some child for trying to say a prayer at lunch, and try to use that as an example of some system-wide effort on the part of evil government to eliminate Christianity. Complete, total BS.

    December 7, 2011 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  10. Voice of Reason

    Did Rick Perry just accuse the Catholic Church of Human trafficking while trying to defend religion?? Wow, what a train wreck this guy is. Plus he's stepping on Bill 'War on Christmas' O'Reilly's toes now. His imaginary crusade against a non-existent threat is just more evidence of how completely inadequate and inept this guy really is.

    Rick Perry's campaign managers should have him write this in Sharpie on the palm of his left hand, so he can see it often:
    Sometimes it is better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth – and remove all doubt.

    December 7, 2011 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    Article Synopsis: Angry macaque throws fistfull of poop. Story at 11.

    December 7, 2011 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  12. Nick P.

    its 4th and 62, Perry is on his own 6 yard line, i think he is going for a hail marry here, he has no other choice, oops, the pass is deflected at the 6 yard line by the American citizens, Rick perry has just turned over his election chances, he has no choice but to go back to Texas folks, his streak has come to an end, and he goes back home where hes ever shrinking Texas crowd (due to death penalty) are surely going to give him a nice welcome back, and possibly reelect him again!

    December 7, 2011 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  13. Mark

    Ok, Mr. Perry, if you want Christmas celebrated in public schools, how willing are you to allow other religions to celebrate their holidays in public schools?

    December 7, 2011 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  14. Voice of Reason

    Rick Perry is a tool being used by the RNC to do the early-on mudslinging and dirty work for whoever the eventual frontrunner will be. He can say all the stupid things he wants, and tell half-truths and lie, and blow that TeaParty dog-whistle all day long. Because he knows he wont get the nomination (so does everyone else), but he still has a bunch of cash on hand.

    He was riding high – and had people throwing money at him till they found out that he's an incompetent dolt. Then someone else got out front, but he's still holding the cash. He cant (and wouldnt) give it to the new frontrunner (Cain, Romney, Grinch), but he'll spend every last dime tearing down Obama, because there's no downside for him. maybe he's hoping for VP or a cabinet post...

    December 7, 2011 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  15. Patriot Awesome

    Perry is a republican Frankenstein monster. He has the hair of Reagan, the face of Bush, the skin of Boehner, and the brain of Sarah Palin.

    December 7, 2011 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  16. SecedingfromTexas

    Governor Perry, by all that is good and true, be quiet!. When you live by the same standards you demand of others,
    maybe you can speak, until then stop the insanity. We know all about how your "values" have affected your
    governing of Texas, and your "testament" does not meet your actions. So, unless you can prove the allegations
    you are making against President Obama, "put a sock in it".
    As for CNN, they are just reporting, and if some of you don't like it, too bad.

    December 7, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  17. bob

    There is no "War on Faith". You can pray all you want in school – so long as you don't tell other people to do it. You can have a holiday party – so long as you respect the beliefs of other people.

    December 7, 2011 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  18. Mark

    I don't see anything wrong with keeping religion out of public schools. In fact, I sincerely wish my private grade school never taught me religion. Even after being married for 5 years, I still have difficulty being comfortable with physical intimacy.

    December 7, 2011 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  19. encore

    To hell with Queen Perry he is just like Backman husband ant Rick Santorm a bunch of in the closet freaks and they wives know it.

    December 7, 2011 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  20. OrangeW3dge

    I guess if you just keep repeating something, it will come true. The abundance of Sunday School platitudes and barroom "truths" are a fitting cornerstone for the Rick Perry brand, The Common Man. What he doesn't mention is that it's the other way around. The "In God We Trust" and "One Nation Under God" are 20th Century inventions that are railroaded into our public consciousness by this same sort of "war against Secular Government".

    December 7, 2011 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    "Why must the Right always NEED to be mad at SOMETHING ?"

    Psychological defense mechanism instigated by their fear of change and the fact that, well, everything keeps changing whether they like it or not. They fabricate boogeymen to direct it at so they can feel like they have or are at least trying to exert some control over the situation, but ultimately it's just doomed to failure because, well, they don't have said control over teh situation and can't gain it...which all of course just leads to deepening of their frustration, fear and anger over the world changing around them and their inability to tell it to stop.

    December 7, 2011 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  22. the Situation

    When will the nutjob realize his 15 minutes of fame has long been over. This Josh Brolin look a like from "W" is more foolish then Brolin playing W in the movie and the actually George W. Bush combined.

    December 7, 2011 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  23. OrangeW3dge

    Oh, by the way of this "conversation". Christmas never was a Christian Holiday, it was the Solstice Holiday that the European Christians hijacked and claimed to be celebrating the birthday of their Jesus. When in fact Jesus was born in August or September (as know one really knows due to the lack of birth certificates in those days; maybe that's why the birthers are so worried about Obama)

    December 7, 2011 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  24. Zach

    Separation of Church and State.

    December 7, 2011 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  25. a6102658

    This guy is irrelevant, who cares, next!

    December 7, 2011 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
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