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

    bnuckols

    Then please return all of the federal dollars we sent to your state, especially the money we sent under Obama's stimulus program....also, we will take away all of the military bases since you don't need tax payer money.

    December 8, 2011 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  2. DaveC

    Will somebody please put a muzzle on Old Yeller? Every year at this time Fox News, evangelical republicans, Wannabe wing nut republican presidential candidates, etc. talk incessantly about the "war on Christmas" like it is so important to everyone. Guess what? It isn't.

    If Perry truly was a christian he would not be slinging mud at his fellow man or woman. He would not be questioning their beliefs or supporting someone who does. He would embrace all faiths. He isn't a christian. He would not know Christianity if it hit him in the face.

    December 8, 2011 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  3. Primewonk

    Perry, like Bachmann, is a dominionist. They think that god wants the US to be ruled as a theocracy.

    Seriously – folks like this should scare the fecal material out of anyone with at least 10 functioning neurons.

    December 8, 2011 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  4. Sara

    I've taught in public schools in three states, and in none of them was there any rule against school prayer. All of the schools I've taught in have had religious-based clubs and have allowed students to pray all they want on campus. What's not allowed is a public school mandating prayer, or students pressuring other students into praying with them. But I am so sick and tired of hearing that "prayer isn't allowed in schools". Anyone who says that clearly hasn't set foot on a public-school campus anytime in the recent past.

    December 8, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  5. Sanfordjames

    The Faux religious right needs to crawl back under their rocks – I base what I think of people on their actions not their words – I have seen and heard of what both parties and the people in them have done – based on actions and not rhetoric President Obama and his people have acted as followers of Christ in actions where Mr. Perry and the other folks of his party spouting pious remarks have not shown any Christ like tendacies toward their fellow man if any thing that are unfeeling about anything having to do with average people and only want to help those with money and power that can further their political ambitions,

    December 8, 2011 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  6. Jay

    Debra, you make absolutely no sense! How is CNN lying in this article when there are videos and audios to support the facts on what came out of Perry's own mouth? Read the article again if you are capable of it! It is about what Perry said during a show on CNN (a video clip of it exists!) and what he said to the troops in 2010 during 'holiday season' (his own words!).

    December 8, 2011 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  7. AL in West Palm Beach

    Pretty Ricky,

    This time, not only did you step in it...you're laying in it.

    December 8, 2011 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  8. Wilson James

    Reprehenible. There is no war on religion by the left or anyone else. What it boils down to is manners. I don't want my child to pray in school it is not the proper place. Pray at home before school, after school, whatever. Rick Perry is so hypocritical, so divisive and is pandering to the weak followers that are his base. This ad caused him to lose anyone that is educated.

    December 8, 2011 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  9. Puddin

    Kevin, honey, please don't say "send him back to Texas; Texans deserve him." This really hurts me to my heart. I'm a Texan, and the smarter Texans tried to oust him, but we are outnumbered by those other Texans, dumb and dumbers. Bill White would've shown Texans how really "unsmart" this governor is and the phony he is. So Kevin, darlin', please say you're sorry to we real Texans for spouting those ugly words..

    December 8, 2011 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  10. REG in AZ

    If Perry's strategy has any success in swaying Christians to favor him, then that would be a real shame that shows people are easily conned and manipulated without ever looking beyond the deceptive appeals to excite them. Bush-Cheney successfully did it in 2000 and various Republicans have continued with that effort but hopefully people are just not blinded by the questionable appeals to excite them over religion and instead look at the total picture, all of the issues and the candidates qualifications (or lack thereof).

    December 8, 2011 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  11. Richard

    This guy is creepy and I'm afraid of anyone saying their religion will play a role in how they govern.
    Wasn't that the whole point in the idea of separation of church and state? I don't want anyone up there deciding who's religion is the "true" or "best" religion. This guy is creepy.

    December 8, 2011 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  12. DenInNooYawk

    Do you smell the stink of desperation?
    BTW, agree with Chuck of Anaheim: Christmas has become a made in China holiday.

    December 8, 2011 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  13. RINO Bil

    I wonder if Rick Perry will give in to the demands of his evangelical christian supporters (actually the only supporters he has left) and call Obama the anitchrist.

    Sadly for Rick, he is a product of the Texas educational system and can neither spell it nor pronounce it.

    December 8, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  14. JustEddie

    Wow, I am so sick of these lies. I know of no attempt by the federal government to deny anyone of the right to their personal prayers in school. That said the schools are rightfully limited in their ability as a government institution to promote a specific religion. The only valid Republican candidates are Paul and Huntsman and both are ignored in favor of these scoundrels in the front of their pack. Paul is the only candidate I would consider voting for above Obama which is sad considering I am not an Obama fan. He has swindled the American people with this sorry "Health Care Reform" and his disregard for American Citizen rights of due process. Yet the alternatives offered are even more scary. We are in serious trouble in this country.

    December 8, 2011 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  15. CoJo

    from the article:
    Perry said the Obama administration was executing a war on religious values by restricting federal funds to certain organizations.

    Didn't Bush and other "christian" leaders do the exact same thing ... but targeted other organizations? This guy speaks out of both sides of his mouth at the same time.

    December 8, 2011 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  16. Modern man

    Grade A, classic Putz. When people profess to so love the constitution, yet not understand what any of it means, except for "I can haz gunz", this is what you get people. They need to spend less time praying, and more time studying.

    December 8, 2011 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  17. Lynda/Minnesota

    There is something utterly distasteful about prostituting Christ and His teachings for personal or political gain. That GOPers are all willing in some degree to drag Chris through the mud probably says a great more about them than it does about those they accuse of not being Christian enough, or as in President Obama's case, even Christian. To date, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrinch, Rick Perry, Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, and to a lesser degree, but in the same mindset nonetheless with his "I've been a member of the same church for, well, my lifetime" Mitt Romney have all called upon their faith based life - a few even going so far as to suggest that God has personally called them to such high aspirations as President of the United States - as a means of getting what they want. How ironic that not one of these so called Christians is able to see exactly what it is they are promoting - themselves - in the name of God. Same applies to their Christian support base, promoting not God, but rather their own bigotry and hate. Again, invoking the spirit of God as their justification.

    December 8, 2011 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  18. NKBL

    I don't understand why people just don't celebrate Christmas the way they want to. Say Merry Christmas if that's what you feel. You can pray anywhere without making a big fuss about it. Quit blaming and complaining about other people and live your own life!

    December 8, 2011 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  19. Lee

    There is no imaginary war on this imaginary belief.

    December 8, 2011 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  20. Cynthia - Arkansas

    What planet is he on? They have Christmas Parties at out schools.

    December 8, 2011 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  21. teddy

    There A LOT that Obama does to stifle religious freedom. He is a very Anti-Christian man. Very dangerous that he is in office. And before you say "where's your facts"–Try staying of Facebook for an hour and google it.

    December 8, 2011 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  22. paul

    Wow, did God choose him too???? Most of the Republican candidates have spoken directly to God and they have said that He is in their corner. Conservatives "know" that God decides elections so He must have chosen Obama. My, guess is that God will once again choose Obama knowing what the Republicans candidates have to offer.

    December 8, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  23. stevie

    Obama is the anti-Christian president of an 80% Christian nation.

    December 8, 2011 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  24. kinglywarrior

    The movement to ban prayer from schools began in 1962. Why bother calling Perry names when it's much easier to prove his stupidity with facts?

    December 8, 2011 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  25. Keyser Soze

    "Sometimes the truth hurts, huh?"
    Yup, sorry you're in pain because your candidate of choice: the Gov. of Texas has proven to be a complete idiot, a hypocrite, and unelectable. Take a couple of aspirin, sparky; wallow in the fact that slick rick continues his war on intelligence. Parry has jumped the shark with this latest version of stepping in it - the war on Christmas. Back to Late Night with Letterman for the part-time comedian, full-time dope slick ricky.

    December 8, 2011 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
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