Big 'response' for Rick Perry?
August 3rd, 2011
11:27 AM ET
12 years ago

Big 'response' for Rick Perry?

Washington (CNN) - It's likely not the response Rick Perry was expecting.

Earlier this year, the Texas Governor called on Christians across the U.S. to come to Houston for a prayer event aimed at bringing God's help to a "nation in crisis."

Organizers of the religious gathering, dubbed "The Response," say only 8,000 people have registered on-line to attend this Saturday's event at Houston's Reliant Stadium, a venue with a seating capacity of 71,000.

Eric Bearse, a "Response" spokesman and former speech-writer for the potential GOP presidential candidate, says attendance numbers are a non-issue.

"Not concerned whatsoever. We think it will be a powerful event whether it is 8,000 or 50,000. The only people concerned about numbers are press," Bearse said.

Perry, who is still considering whether to run for president, is identified as the event's "initiator" on the "Response" web site.

"We need God's help," Perry says in web video on the site's main page. The Texas governor goes on to call on Americans "to pray and fast like Jesus did."

The event has come under steady criticism in recent weeks as controversial statements made by some of the gathering's organizers and pastoral "endorsers" have surfaced on-line.

Bryan Fischer, a spokesman for one key "Response" organizer, the American Family Association, has referred to gay rights activists as "Nazis."

At a news conference last month, Perry said it was unfair to tie him to comments made by some of the event's planners.

Critics of "The Response" plan to hold their own gathering on Friday, one day before Perry's gathering.

Sponsored by the Texas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, the "Family, Faith, and Freedom" counter-rally will feature "a wide range of religious and non-religious groups from the Houston community," according to a statement from the groups.

Both organizations accuse Perry of blurring the line separating church and state. "Government promotion of an exclusive Christian event implies that certain types of people care more about the well-being of our country than others… We don't see it that way" Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas, said in the statement.

Filed under: 2012 • Rick Perry
soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. Carol

    Of course numbers matter, after all in reality this is a political rally for Perry. Please dear God, deliver us from another Texas gov.

    August 3, 2011 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  2. TXJim

    Time to pander harder Rick... Looks like only your buddies from the secessionist rallies are going to be there...

    Rick you didnt win the last election because we want you here in Texas, you won because we didnt want the other people running against you more than we didnt want you...

    Make sure to keep those cameras panned low... and don't use the wide angle lens... pump in extra crowd noise... and of course, lie about the attendance (Glenn Beck can help you there).. and maybe your event will seem relevant..

    If I were CNN I would have my cameras trained on the 610 freeway that runs beside Reliant, because when there is something important going on, it will be backed up... I'm sure it will be flowing on Saturday...

    Here is an idea Rick, since the Hunters Extravaganza is going on next door, and since most of those people probably voted for you, just go next door and offer them free cookies if they come next door to your event.

    August 3, 2011 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  3. Aaron

    I don't understand it all. Why would anyone not give up their Saturday to go sit in the blistering heat to hear a politician lie?

    August 3, 2011 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  4. BrianC

    I'm afraid we've already learned our lesson having god in the driver's seat in this country under GW. We don't need that again.

    August 3, 2011 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  5. frank

    God has already guven us his response, the clearest of road maps this nation will ever have. The Bible. Whether or not you "believe" that it is the word of God, its words are the product a very wise men. The Bible's overarching and fundamental message is a conversation about and a description of, man's narcissistic primitive impulses and what must be done to manage that narcissism. Isaiah 3:4 describes just how far that narcissism will eventually reach. It seems that God is going to make children our leaders. Children are the ultimate narcissists. When that happens neighbors will be fighting neigbhors. This "Response", if it follows the primitive impulsive tone of the "political-religious" right who are called "values voters" by their puppet masters (without any basis for calling them "values voters"), will allow no open, honest conversation about Bibical principles. It will allow instead most likely trumpet hate against those who do not look like them, do not live in their exclusive neighborhoods, do not drive their expensive cars, do not go to their exclusive schools, do not go to their church, do not belong to their exclusvie clubs, do not seek war but ask for peace, who understand the effect of the pagan influences in their religion, and who finally understand that their religion has been bought and paid for by politicians whose only interest in their religion is their vote. These people would crucify Jesus again if he dared to showup at this politically inspired rally.

    August 3, 2011 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  6. SharplyRight

    It must be nice being a liberal....quote the Bible without knowing everyone names without any consequence.....disagree with everyone who doesn't share your narrow view of the world.....sue others over any disagreement whatsoever.....all while preaching tolerance and open-mindedness. Liberal? No thanks.

    August 3, 2011 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
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