Perry hits Obama for war on faith, despite a ghost of 'holiday season' past
December 7th, 2011
04:32 PM ET
6 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.

Watch The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer weekdays at 4pm to 6pm ET and Saturdays at 6pm ET. For the latest from The Situation Room click here.

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

    Perry: "The values that I learned in my Christian upbringing will affect my governing." (news: you won't govern the US)
    Values like lying, distorting the facts, sending multiple people to their executions, jogging with a loaded handgun, disrespecting the office of President, the constitution of the United States, and slandering. All the nice things Jesus would surely have done... Right?

    Federal $$$ : "Obama administration was ... restricting federal funds to ... organizations" of faith. EXCuse us please: Perry, you want to reduce the federal government, you want it to stop doling out money to the needy, you hate the federal government so much you suggested secession!
    And You have the gall to complain about federal handouts?

    Another Gem, almost like George W all over again:
    "this administration [goes] after those Catholic charities that are offering health care, doing work or trafficking of individuals." Ah, yes, the catholics doing 'trafficking' of individuals. (for the sex trade or what? trafficking illegal aliens to the US? – Sounds like Geogey Boy Bush: [our enemies] "never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we"... outch

    December 8, 2011 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  2. sqeptiq

    If Perry can find children at school on Christmas, I will support their celebration of Christmas. They already get almost two weeks of holiday time to celebrate. Why do they need more?

    December 8, 2011 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  3. GregJ

    Ricky – go back home and play in the sand. Keep you head there....only deeper

    December 8, 2011 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  4. Bubba

    Rick, you just reached the bottom of the barrel.

    December 8, 2011 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  5. once upon a horse

    Perry is desperate right now and "fear and smear" tactics used with success in the past by it's inventor Karl Rove is what he is now hoping will help him out. It might work in a place like Iowa that looks through almost everything with far right conservatism but it won't work in real mainstream America. Just WHEN did President Obama declare war on religion in America? Doesn't really matter though because the group that Perry is playing to cares not for true facts just negative rhetoric on the president.

    December 8, 2011 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  6. Sid Prejean

    He talks like a Christian, but he certainly doesn't act like one.
    He seems, in fact, to have edited (or shall we say is, forgot. Oops) one of the Ten Commandments.
    Do the words "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor." ring a bell?

    December 8, 2011 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  7. Three Wise Men

    The values of Perry's christian upbrining: lying, distorting facts, slander, sending people to their executions, jogging with a loaded handgun... Just like what Jesus would have done.

    And this secessionista complains about "catholic charites" and other organizations of faith NOT getting federal dollars? He's the one who wants to dismantle and reduce the federal government, he's the one to deny "handouts' to the needy.
    But he complains about not getting federal dollars for charity???? The gall, no, the vacuum this guy has in his head... priceless.

    December 8, 2011 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  8. ScorpioMom

    Ummm..Isn't there something in the Constitution about the separation of church and state? He should know this and is flat ignoring it. The schools have holiday parties – not Christmas parties. I believe it's for the best. Religion is for the Churches to teach, not the public schools. If you want to pray at school, go to parochial school......

    December 8, 2011 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  9. GregJ

    I forgot to make mention that everything Republicans had opposed over the history of our nation has become mainstream. Let me point out that the following were all opposed by Republicans: Drinking, they caused prohibition, women voting, slavery, allowing minorities to vote, the list goes on and on. I may not like everything President Obama has done...but he is working hard. Harder than the jerk who was our president prior to President Obama...that's for darn certain. I wouldn't vote for any republican. The Republican candidates who are up to seek the nomination to be our next president are jokes. They are an embarrassment.

    December 8, 2011 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  10. Tired of the nonsense

    Christmas is CHRISTMAS. Call it that.
    Halloween is HALLOWEEN. Call it that.
    The so-called Christians have been waging war on Halloween for years, and this myopic bigotry needs to end.

    December 8, 2011 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  11. Rudy NYC

    "The values that I learned in my Christian upbringing will affect my governing."

    Didn't he say something to the effect that he entered the race after receiving a message from God? Is he really saying that he will use his political position to exact God's will?

    December 8, 2011 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  12. Mark

    Taliban USA rears it's ugly head. Chuck from Anaheim is right, Christmas here is just a retailer driven garage sale. Go queitly and celebrate Christmas without making those who don't want to celebrate.have to endure Sanny Claws and his reindeers. The more we talk about freedom the less freedom we allow.

    December 8, 2011 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  13. Jersey3038

    It's time for Perry to head on back to "Camp Niggerhead"and pray. No way they'll post this. And it's not that bad. Well see

    December 8, 2011 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  14. gordyb

    Go back to Texas, think of something new, this is pure fantasy.

    December 8, 2011 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  15. Cedar Rapids

    "bill – I am more concerned with obama saying "America has never worked."

    And when did he apparently say this Bill?

    "StaceinTexas – 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."

    god has no place in schools, period. And prayer in schools was removed a looooooong time ago, stop blaming Obama for it. And freedom of religion means not having someone else's religion pushed onto you as well.

    December 8, 2011 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  16. hwy911

    Desperate men use desperate measures...

    December 8, 2011 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  17. Txbird

    He is not going to be elected to the Presidency. That means he comes back to Texas. Just PEACHY! Someone else take him, please!

    December 8, 2011 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  18. LeeCMH

    Perry is merely using the standard ploy of - whipping to a lather hateful Christians. Anyone question the hateful Christians, they'll nail themselves on their crosses screaming they are persecuted. The hateful Christian Republicans call these wedge issues. Yea: Hate Issues.

    December 8, 2011 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  19. Three Wise Men

    @Debra: "don't like it when the media twist the truth and are trying to convince people on who they want you to like and dislike. We are not stupid people in America to see through the lies!"

    Debra, most of the article let's Perry himself speak. He is extensively quoted verbatimly. Do you call Perry a lier?? (that would be too funny). Besides Perry's problem shows every time he opens his mouth. He gives his opponents better ammunition than they could dream of.
    About the stupid stuff: I am not sure you see the irony here. You get mad at the media for quoting what your prefered candidate himself says, publicly. Are you perhaps subconsciously mad at Perry for being such a dunce? You might be onto something there... Keep digging.

    December 8, 2011 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  20. demogal

    Typical hypocrisy. Pandering Perry. We all should keep Christmas in our own ways, but not force a Christian holy day on those who are not part of our faith.

    December 8, 2011 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  21. ART

    Its official the man has lost what little mind he had left,one has to ask are these really the Rethuglican presidential candidates or circus clowns?

    December 8, 2011 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  22. MeanOldMan

    Religion has no place in politics. Period. end. Any politician that attacks another based on religion is an automatic no vote from me. This country was founded in part on freedom of religion and separation of church and state. Religion has been the root cause for more killings and wars than any other single thing in history. Everyone has the right to believe whatever they choose but they do not have the right to force their beliefs on anyone else. Anyone that doesn't understand the dangers of the religion/politics mixture needs only to look to the middle east or read up on world history.

    December 8, 2011 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  23. rs

    Absolute, incredible tripe. Proof the GOP/TP has absolutely no clue about what is going on. They resort to making their own reality. Sad.

    December 8, 2011 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  24. John

    Prayer in schools? As long as they are praying that Perry doesn't get elected!

    December 8, 2011 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  25. David

    Religion, just like sexual preference, is something you should have the tact to keep to yourself. If you decide to promote your particular point of view expect someone to take exception to your overt display. While you may have a right to offend me, I have a right to remind you that you are offensive.

    December 8, 2011 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13