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. kinglywarrior

    Apparently Rick things the "P" in P.O.T.U.S. stands for Priest or Pastor Of The United States.

    December 8, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  2. John

    I never seen any evidence of a war on Christmas, but if Rick Perry says its so, it is. Everybody knows that Jews, Libruls, Muslims, Atheists, Democrats, Hindus, and Buddhists hate America and want to take our religious freedoms away. I heard about people getting arrested for saying "Merry Christmas" just because Obama wants to destroy Christmas, and hunting, and fishing, and deep frying turkey. Where would we be now if Baby Jesus hadn't been able to look apon a Christmas tree on his birthday? Go to the mall and make Jesus proud.

    December 8, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  3. Jason

    So I wonder how Perry would feel if people prayed to Allah at school? If you want religious freedom it works both ways. When he says that his Christian upbringing would affect the way he governs...that's exactly what is so terrifying about him.

    December 8, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  4. shugee

    I don't care if other peoples' kid pray, pick their noses or whatever.Just don't force it on others.Why can't Christmas be like Saint Paddy's day?You don't have to be Irish to celebrate. So what if everyone isn't singing happy birthday to Jesus.Wherever He is, I suspect He is proud to see people getting along on His day and not bickering about what to call it.

    December 8, 2011 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  5. once upon a horse

    @ DLWyer......

    where have you been the past several years? There is a big media station called FOXNEWS that bashes the president 24/7 and NO fact checking allowed. Plus if that isn't enough for you there are bunches of right wing radio talk shows that do the same thing. You just don't have to read or listened to "left wing biased CNN or MSNBC" anymore.

    December 8, 2011 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  6. Frank Cardenas

    bottom line: Rick Perry is a pathetic panderer! I hope this campaign has opened the eyes of the people in Texas and they vote his be-hind our of office!

    December 8, 2011 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  7. V in Chicago

    I've said it before and I'll say it again – Delusional & Desperate!

    December 8, 2011 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  8. Al-NY,NY

    Keep trying to stay relevant Ricky. Religion is the last desperate attempt

    December 8, 2011 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  9. kinglywarrior

    We need an Atheist President, so we can stop hearing these ridiculous arguments about faith and stop acting like it is the driving force behind successfully rebuilding an economy and running a country.

    December 8, 2011 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  10. Ralph in Orange Park, FL

    I knew some Republican was going to dredge up the tired "war on Christmas" rant. It may as well be Perry.

    December 8, 2011 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  11. The Doctor

    This is so stupid, the only canidate i liked was Cain but some liying women (who else) are getting paid to lie...

    December 8, 2011 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  12. jack

    Perry's an idiot. The supreme court in 1962 declared that organized prayer in public schools violated the1st ammendment. An individual could still pray as long as it is not distruptive to others. Please show me where Obama has stated that he is agianst this. He also says that he is a christian, well his faith and his bible state "Thou shall not kill" and yet he orders people to die. A huge contradiction and he's made no effort to stop it. Texas had the death penalty long before he ran for office. The only time that he has religion is when he needs something from somebody.

    December 8, 2011 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  13. beevee

    Whenever Perry opens his mouth to say something he stinks. There are more important things for the country to intelligently discuss than these scare tactic talks which dont merit to anything.

    December 8, 2011 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  14. Paul

    I have a difficult time believing that children aren't allowed to pray or recognize christmas in schools. On top of that I don't want federal funding in the hands of child rapists.

    December 8, 2011 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  15. Justaguy0101

    Please stop calling everything a war.

    December 8, 2011 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  16. Laurie in Spokane

    You know, the more I hear about Perry, and read his hypocritical statements and hairbrained ideas, the more he sounds like Sarah Palin......or Michelle Bachmann........Where DO these people come from? Wherever it is, let's send them back there.

    December 8, 2011 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  17. conservativeforAmerica

    All people that think this is not the truth have lost your mind! Yes I agree Rick Perry is a complete idiot, but he is right about what he says. I live in Tennessee and they have banned prayer in school even voluntary prayer. We do not want to force anyone to pray with us but if we want to gather at the flag pole and have a prayer that is our right! Just the same as if you do not want to participate that is your right. This great nation was founded on christianity do you really think it is just a coincidence that we are the most blessed nation in the world? Nah I don't think so. Jesus taught peace,hope,and love is that so bad? I can tell you it is a lot better than murdering people to get to heaven and murdering anyone that does not have the same view you do. You can argue all you want just do a little research.

    December 8, 2011 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  18. Logic in LA

    DL WYER- Journalism , done properly reports the statement, then gives facts to either back up or debunk the statement.
    With Perry this is easy- he hasn't said anything that was true yet. But Journalist should never just parrot what is said- that becomes an ad.
    Sorry if they are writing more than you want to read

    December 8, 2011 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  19. Mukaka Haurungwe

    Looks like the ex-Gov suffers from a severe form of Electile Dysfunction! He will lose even the GOP primary soon-coming. How many Republicans claim to be rght-wingers are gay/lesbians or have gays in their families? Why doesn't Perry start his preaching to them first before he can blame Barry Obama on that issue?

    December 8, 2011 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  20. jpettit

    Keeping religion out of schools has been happening long before Obama became president.

    December 8, 2011 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  21. Kevin O.

    And what does a tree have anything to do with Christianity anyway? It's just another idol.

    December 8, 2011 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  22. BB

    The supreme court ruled against prayer in schools in 1962, Obama was born in 1961. You're telling me little baby 1yo Obama was ALREADY waging a war on Christianity? WOW! That's some agenda! I have to give credit to him for being ultra driven! At that age, my baby was barely walking, let alone espousing an extreme political agenda.

    December 8, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  23. Kevin O.

    And OMG, it's no wonder some people are against Christmas. Have you seen some of these ads? Bunch of hookers prancing around in scanty outfits with men all drooling over them. Congrats to all the family values groups, you're raising a bunch of whores.

    December 8, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  24. Non sequitor

    "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.

    Poor Perry is having a brain fart again – what the heck do gay people serving in the military have to do with children praying in school??? Is he saying that allowing gay people in the military was a decision made to promote a certain religion? Doofus!!

    December 8, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  25. Yvette

    @Debra, why do you think Perry would make a great President? What qualifies him?

    December 8, 2011 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
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