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

    Rick Perry – The Taliban candidate for president.

    December 7, 2011 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  2. JohnW

    @DLWyer who said: Wow. Doesn't anyone just report any more? CNN had to become Obama's state run network along with NBC? I'd appreceate just reading what the candidates have to say without wading through two paragraphs defending Obama for every statement made by a candidate. This only tells me Obama can't defend himself.

    If you just want what the person says with no attempt at actual journalism to back up/refute (whichever the case may be) what the person is saying, why are you looking here and not staying over at FOX?

    December 7, 2011 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  3. a6102658

    I am so tired of this republicans who sin everyday and then tell you that you are not a good christian, I wish the day will come where religion is not part of politics, I know it is not by law, but they never stoop talking about God, I am Christian, and it is only one of the many parts of my persona, and that is all there is to it, I do not preach or judge.

    December 7, 2011 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  4. Dan5404

    When desperate as a right-wing politician. you can always make evangelicals support you by using a few of their pet words in the right places. That doesn't make you truly evangelical nor intelligent.

    December 7, 2011 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  5. bnuckols

    Lots of hate speech on here, and none of it is in the quotes from Governor Perry. We're doing quite well in Texas, especially when you compare us to the tax and spend States. We're still a donor state, sending more money to DC than we get back. And that's with a border that the Feds won't secure and 1000 people a day moving in from the rest of the US. If there's a problem at all with the Governor, it's that he knows he can come home to Texas and we'll do just fine - as proven by surviving the last 5 years under a Dem Congress and 2 years under Obama.

    December 7, 2011 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  6. Jimmy

    Prayer in school? Sure. In parochial schools, not public though. We don't want or need a Christo-Taliban government here.

    December 7, 2011 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  7. bill

    I am more concerned with obama saying "America has never worked." This hack needs to be voted out now.

    December 7, 2011 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  8. it is sad

    And Perry is waging his war for ignorance and non tolerance. Bet the Jewish sector are salivating at the mouth waiting to elect someone who believes his religon is superior to theirs. The Muslim population must be feeling more secure about being welcome in the United States with this man wanting to be president.

    December 7, 2011 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  9. chuck weidemann

    This is all he has to offer??

    December 7, 2011 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  10. Indy

    Perry bearing false witness while claiming to be Christian, how very Republican of him.

    December 7, 2011 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  11. Scribbleslab

    There are active religious groups on campus. Students may express their religion as they wish, may pray, etc. I am a former teacher, am an atheist, and supported the religious beliefs of my students. I, as a teacher, cannot lead them in prayer during instruction hours, but if they wish to pray privately, they may. They can skip out of science lessons, for heaven's sake, due to religious beliefs! Mister Perry, I honestly believe you know nothing about our society...

    December 7, 2011 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  12. George

    It's people like Perry that ensure that Obama will win re-election.

    December 7, 2011 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  13. gliese42

    Perrry looks lost

    December 7, 2011 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  14. Reba

    Perry is so full of it! There was just an article in the local news about how the entire Ft Worth ISD has banned Santa Claus in schools. And that's one of the largest school districts in his own grand state of Texas!!

    December 7, 2011 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  15. Little Tin God

    Perry! Like Bush, but dumber!

    December 7, 2011 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  16. Keith

    Governor, concentrate on the issues that America needs to resolve to be a nation of wisdom and integrity. The administration, congress, and yes the courts need to check out the Consitution and read it carefully; then govern accordingly. O anohter idea all politicians should be like Washington and Adams go home and contribute to the community with out a pension, then you'll know what prayer is for: survival!. As to religion in this country: stop making it a target by slamming others. Gays! I see them as citizens, not a group or segment of society that needs special care. O by the way, maybe the last person that served you may have been gay; should they be fired?

    December 7, 2011 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  17. J.C.

    Make love not war.

    December 7, 2011 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  18. StaceinTexas

    Go Governor Rick Perry!!!The only candidate that has the cojones to stand up and speak for the largest percentage of American voters; the faith based. Obama, and the liberal loons have stripped God from our schools all the while allowing ungodly behavior in our military.

    Know what our Founding Father's wanted for our country. It's freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion.

    December 7, 2011 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  19. Seattle Sue

    Just one of the many faces of Perry.

    December 7, 2011 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  20. johnborg

    If Obama banned Christmas that would be a war on religion. He just doesn't endorse religion in politics... oh wait, no, he uses Christian lingo and celebrates Christian holidays. Darn, I'm sorry, I guess what Perry really wants is a theocracy.

    December 7, 2011 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  21. flyovercountry

    Where I live, "right wing christian extremist" are in complete power. They hold both houses of our legislature plus all statewide offices, yet they constantly flog this "war on christianity" b.s. They do not belive in science/economics/history ETC. They are pro-war, pro-torture, pro-capitol punishment, christians. (As opposed to Christians) The rest of the country needs see what is happening here and stop this nonsence now. It is shameful of the Republican Party that they are courting ignorance and spreading hate and misinformation.

    December 7, 2011 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  22. Mike

    Rick Perry is so full of it, I don't know where he keeps it all.

    December 7, 2011 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  23. Hawk

    Please don't hold perry against the good people of texas, you have to remember that he trained under george w. bush. we would like for him to go away somewhere like cuba . come to think of it that is still too close to texas.

    December 7, 2011 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  24. GOP = Greed Over People

    The little princess, Rick(Elmer Gantry) Perry has once again shown us the definition of GOP hypocrisy!

    December 7, 2011 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  25. Jone Shilliday

    What happened to separation of Church & State?

    December 7, 2011 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
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