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. mrKarnes

    Rick Perry is hurtling towards irrelevance like a watermelon seed shot from between the fingers of fate.

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

    Happy Birthday Jebus!!

    December 8, 2011 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  3. Grady

    Hopefully the sun is sinking on both this man's presidential campaign and his governorship.

    December 8, 2011 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis asked:

    Can you believe that this guy was elected multiple times as Governor of Texas......OMG!
    Actually, he wasn't. Not exactly. Someone recently corrected me on that point when I asked the identical question. He was appointed to his first term when George W. Bush left office to become President. He was re-elected in contest that was riddled with negative campaigning and disinformation. He won his thrid term in a 3-way race in which he received just under 40% of the vote.

    December 8, 2011 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  5. mdn

    According to this tool, if only we could openly celebrate Christmas in school, all would be ok. Perry should tell us, from his Christian perspective, what is the significance of a Christmas tree and Santa in regards to the birth of Christ besides pure paganism and consumerism.

    December 8, 2011 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  6. zoomie

    The thing I find scary is Texans keep electing this idiot, doesn't say much for Texans.

    December 8, 2011 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    @Chuck Anaheim, Ca

    Your comment was spot on. May I add the influx of evangelical mega churches cropping up throughout America in the past two decades to your "trying to make a crap load of money" freak show?

    December 8, 2011 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  8. GI Joe

    Folks in TX - drinkin' them beers, totin' them guns, and thumpin' them bibles IS NOT A GOOD CAREER PATH.

    December 8, 2011 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  9. Jersey3038

    We are all as americans free to celebrate christmas. In school we are free to pray. Silently. I don't want schools leading prayer. With all of our problems in this country, this is all he can come up with? This guy has to be Bush's illigitamate brother.

    December 8, 2011 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  10. Huh?

    In the words of A. Whitney Brown, "I don't know if the unborn have rights but I'm certain that being born again doesn't give you twice as many rights."

    December 8, 2011 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  11. Anonymous

    "The Government of the United States is in no sense founded on the Christian religion." -John Adams, 2nd President of the United States

    December 8, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  12. Cody

    "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."

    Because we have this thing called a separation of church and state as stated in our Constitution. Didn't congress read the entire thing out loud at the beginning of this session? Ridiculous.

    December 8, 2011 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  13. mtthinker

    My child is singing in the Christmas pageant next week (it is public school), He made a countdown to Christmas calendar last week in school. It would seem that the people who are screaming the most about not celebrating Christmas as school don't actually have kids there or take the time to find out what is actually going on. They don't pray, the government does not get to tell any of us to pray – that was the revolutionary idea of separation of church and state back in the 1700's.

    December 8, 2011 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  14. yu

    Christian not suppose to lie. If perry is real christian why he lie about something he knows he's not true.

    December 8, 2011 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  15. yu

    Perry needs Jesus

    December 8, 2011 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  16. allanhowls

    Perry is a liar and a fearmonger, trying to mobilize the white middle class into primal fear against someone who (OMG!) looks different from them, and has a "funny-sounding" name.

    What Perry is really saying is that he wants all the white Christians to mobilize and make sure that their voice is the only one heard, since America just belongs to them, anyway.

    Because it takes a big ol' hypocritical brass pair to be in a 90%+ majority and claim that you're being oppressed.

    The First Amendment: It protects my religion, but not yours! *facepalm*

    December 8, 2011 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  17. Michael

    Since when did capital punishment become part of a Christian value? Thou shalt not kill.

    December 8, 2011 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  18. lloyd roberts

    Perry said that Obama officials said to people of faith and organizations of faith that we are not going to give you federal dollars. Damn right, but it wasn't Obama. It was the founding fathers you uneducated fool. They already get help from the feds by being tax exempt. Goober, you need to crawl back under that rock in that state you come from that would have been nothing without the gift of oil and the gift of trillions of dollars for NASA from a democratic Texan President, Johnson

    December 8, 2011 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  19. jnpa

    For Perry to blame the president for children not being able to pray in school or to celebrate Christmas just shows how ignorant he really is. If he is serious then he is even more unqualified to be president that anyone has ever suggested!

    December 8, 2011 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  20. v_mag

    Somehow "war" and "religion" just seem to go together, don't they Rick? But not in the way you phrase it.

    This is America, and the Constitution demands separation of church and state. Love it or leave it, Rick. Preferably, leave it.

    December 8, 2011 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  21. Tom

    I thought Perry supported other religions, like the Jewish faith? Is he going to give them all of their holidays and throw fits if they can't dance the Hora in school during their holidays? What about allowing Buddists to meditate? I guess this is one situation where Perry can whine about someone (Obama) not supporting Israel enough, then stab the Jewish faith in the back while attempting to get votes. Go live in Iran, Perry, it's not ruled by the same religion, but their values and method of government seem to be rather in line with your dreams.

    December 8, 2011 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  22. Chumlee

    Perry: Go back to Texas and crawl in a hole. Invite your buddy George W Bush and his pals Cheney and Rice and
    Rumsfeld, et al to join you!

    December 8, 2011 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  23. Louise

    So, the public schools in my district are slightly over half Jewish in population. Do we force the Christian prayers and holidays on this majority, do we use Jewish prayers and holidays or do we do the American thing and leave prayers to our respective houses of worship and stay generic with the winter holiday. There is a reason for separation of church and state people!

    December 8, 2011 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  24. Ken

    Is their a war on faith? Yes. I have a relative I would consider one of wars soldiers. She's declared herself to be an aethiest. But as a soldier she goes further. She is fond of stating that anyone who believes in a couple of thousand year old book is stupid, and, anyone with such beliefs shouldn't have the right to vote or speak out in this country. She attends numerous events on college campuses in order to open the eyes of those who have been lied to over the years. She joins in protests for anything that is going against some belief. Of course when I pointed out to her how religious she is in her anti-religious fervor, that just upset her and she stopped talking to me for a few weeks. But there is a war going on. There are people organized under the Aethiest banner who believe religious views and beliefs must be stamped as those beliefs do not match theirs (and they fail to see the hypocrisy in this jihadist like reaction to others belief systems). In their view of the world, people are free to believe what they want as long as that belief does not come out of one of those dirty, stinking religious tomes ... and if it does, that belief is OK as long as it is not put forth into the public where it might conflict with their aethiest beliefs (I like to joke they follow their own version of don't ask, don' tell .. but again the truth merely upsets them).

    December 8, 2011 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  25. Phil in KC

    He's behind in the polls, so he's throwing a Hail Mary pass and hoping it will catch on with the Republican base.

    December 8, 2011 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
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