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. USA401

    what has happend to the republican party.

    December 8, 2011 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  2. Paul

    Perry is waging a war on children, by gutting their substantive education and fighting to replace it with fabulist tales and blatantly ridiculous attempts to link "intelligent design" and " science." This idiot needs to be removed from any position of authority, anywhere; and the prospect of his presidency is a lunatic's ecstasy, and no more.

    December 8, 2011 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  3. vc

    If Perry and the GOP was so concerned about prayer being in school, then why didin't they vote to put it back in? After all they had control of the Senate and the House of Rep. unt il 2007 and for as Texas it has not been demo since Ann Richards. So tell me if prayer was so important to them, seem like to me when you have a majority, you would take that oppofrtunity that was given to you and change the situation. But they haven't and will not. Your child can pray in school but it has to be led by the student. Perry says he is a Christian but he doesn't do what the bible says which is feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit them in prison(Heaven forbid if he done that) and the bible also states you will always have the poor. What has he done for those type of people? Jesus had compassion and took care of business and that is the opposite of Perry as governor and would be as president.

    December 8, 2011 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  4. Tammy

    Anyone who believes ANYTHING that comes out of the side of this wackadoo's mouth has something wrong with them as well. I live here in San Antonio, I have a niece that is in Kinder here, once a week I go eat with her at the school during her lunch time. EACH AND EVERYTIME I go, we hold hands, bow our heads and pray TOGETHER! NOT ONE PERSON on this earth will prevent me from doing this. NOT ONE PERSON!

    December 8, 2011 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  5. Greg, Ontario

    I was going to comment but then I glanced at SecedingfromTexas's post and realized it says it all. I'm praying for you America. Merry Christmas.

    December 8, 2011 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  6. Ari159

    Way to go Perry. You just proved that you have to use scapegoats to garner votes you can't win by focusing on real issues.

    December 8, 2011 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  7. Gary, Hunt Valley, Md.

    Bush Lite is still speaking? Only his Momma is paying attention, and she's probably embarrassed. Look Ma, no hands! no brains! It's the Campaign about Nothing!

    December 8, 2011 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  8. John/kc

    The laws of religion in schools today are the same as they were under George Bush. Quit blaming Obama for a decision made by the Supreme Court that is packed full of republicans. Personally, there are a lot of us out there that do not want a bible thumping holy roller as a president.

    December 8, 2011 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  9. quinLee

    "DLWyer: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."

    Whine much? It seems appropriate to me to present both sides of the argument, especially when someone's making a whacky comment just to get noticed. Personally, I'd rather CNN not report on this kind of crap at all. I believe in Christmas but I also know that Perry is not sincere in his intentions.

    December 8, 2011 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  10. Ron

    Of course you can pray in school. Or in court, or at work, or on the toilet or anywhere you happen to be. Unless, of course, you feel you HAVE to pray out loud so everyone can see what a wonderful "christian" you are. I'm beginning to really feel sorry for the people of Texas. First there was Jesse Ventura. Then Arnold Schwarzenegger. But when Perry starts making George Bush look like a genius you know the world has gone down the rabbitt hole.

    December 8, 2011 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  11. Paul Abeln

    Wow–I didn't know you had to treat gays as though they were criminal to get the GOP nomination. Oh yeah, I forgot you have to dicriminate against gays to get Christian approval. Oh, and I'm sure God thinks the same way as all Republicans on this issue. If you want to be represented by scum vote Republican!

    December 8, 2011 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  12. Willyd

    My 13 yr old saw his commercial the other day and commented that he is wrong. There is no ban on Christmas at school, she said.

    Just keep talking, Mr. Perry. Claiming to be christian while making assinine comments about those people who are serving in the military just reinforces my opinion that you are an idiot with no hope of making it to the White House.

    December 8, 2011 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  13. Scary Perry

    Like all the other repubs except Huntsman and Paul, he is willing to say ANYTHING to become the nominee. Government is so bad and so broken all these politician want to stay in it for their whole lives. Kids haven't been able to say a prayer in school OUT LOUD since what, Nixon? President Obama is a Christian and these dumb as a butt republicans keep saying he's declared a war on religion. What speech was that? Was it related to his jobs bill? Oh, forget jobs, lets talk about Christmas. Used to be it was the tea party that made me sick, now it's the full GOP. How much further into the corner can these freaks drive the party? President Obama would have to be 10 people to be responsible for a 1/3 of the crap the GOP is blaming him for. SHUT UP and work on the problems of the NATION!

    December 8, 2011 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  14. mike

    Still having a hard time taking any of this seriously.

    December 8, 2011 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  15. AnitaTer

    Oh Please don't send this idiot back to Texas!!! We don't need him or anyone like him. I have yet to figure out how he got to be Governor except there were a LOT of people just checking the "Republicans Only" box on the ballot.

    @ Hawk...HAHAHAHAH yes, Cuba is still too close to Texas for Perry to live. Perhaps Outer Mongolia would work?

    December 8, 2011 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  16. Just Saying

    I could never vote for Rick Perry. The President of the United States should be far more intelligent and much better educated than the average garbage man in this country. Unfortunately, Rick Perry fails to clear even that low bar. Just Saying...

    December 8, 2011 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  17. Independent In Albany

    A shining beacon the the knuckledragging fools of the GOP

    December 8, 2011 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  18. ruff

    If Perry wants to win the nomination, he needs to do a couple of things: 1) don't give any more interviews 2) never speak in public again 3) grow a brain fast.

    December 8, 2011 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  19. mike

    Wow, it is unbelievable that this guy is actually considered a candidate. These comical statements are perfect for a farcical movie or television show

    December 8, 2011 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  20. desmond24

    Governor Perry, you sound more desperate than a Quaker at an NRA convention. It appears that you will do anything or say anything to up your ridiculously low poll numbers. Like most of the GOP (Grandiose Old Posers) you are an anti-intellectual, anti-science, anti-middle class, hypocrite. Now, do us all a favor and quietly remove yourself from the race and vow to never re-appear!

    December 8, 2011 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  21. dnick47

    If Perry ia a Christian he should like the opportunity to suffer as Christ suffered rather then trying to avoid the cross.

    December 8, 2011 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  22. Rudy NYC

    People should appreciate what Rick Perry represents. Gov. Perry is the epitomy of today's conservative politician. His words are willfully misleading and deceptive. He tries to manufacture disputes where none previously existed. He projects controversy onto his opponents that are outright lies. Most importantly, the projections of wrong doing are almost exactly what the conservative politician is doing themselves.

    Gov. Perry needs to be challenged to produce some factual basis to his so called "war on religion" charge against Pres. Obama. This is not high school politics, it is a contest to be leader of the free world. Perry is project what conservatives do onto Pres. Obama.

    You do not hear liberals declaring that we must be on guard against Sharia Law, nor proposing legislation to do so. You do not hear Democrats declaring Mormonism a cult, nor accusing the followers of not being Christians. You do not hear Democrats calling for the banning of mosques here, there, or anywhere. You hear constantly this type of vitriol coming from Republicans and conservatives.

    December 8, 2011 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  23. Jason

    Thank you, Rick, for reminding me why I'll never vote Republican.

    December 8, 2011 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  24. PRWIII

    I'm a Texan...Keep Perry. We don't want him...Thank you...

    December 8, 2011 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  25. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Someone really should remind Perry that it was Eisenhower-appointed justices who made the rulings about school prayer he is so concerned over.

    December 8, 2011 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
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