Big 'response' for Rick Perry?
August 3rd, 2011
11:27 AM ET
11 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. John

    I hope God does save us, from Perry and his ilk.

    August 3, 2011 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Is this a foreshadowing of those breakfasts that US presidents have each year with clergy members?
    Is this what Perry's breakfast events will be like?

    August 3, 2011 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  3. ConservaFASCISTS/Dutch, Bad Newz, VA

    I'm more concerned on why Mr. Perry is backing off of HIS prayer meeting. And why is it just limited to Christians?

    August 3, 2011 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  4. bb

    Looks like these people would believe anything if the right buzz words were spouted. Be careful of who you rest your reputation on, Christians. It will tear you down faster than you can imagine.

    August 3, 2011 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  5. george busch

    Don't worry – Fox can paste in video of the super bowl crowd or something similar and tell everyone a "record crowd" showed up for the event. They are masters at manipulation. And their viewers will believe it because they are not masters of intellect.

    August 3, 2011 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  6. ThinkAgain

    Here's something Perry and all the other "Christian" attendees of his little holier-than-thou fest should consider that Jesus said:

    Matthew 25:40 The King will reply, Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.

    August 3, 2011 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  7. Anansidspider

    The raiinmaker he ain't. Do we want someone who thinks all issues can be rectified with prayer to the christian god. I would have had some respect for the day of prayer if he had asked all religions to join in prayer for rain as a lending of support. But I think a more positive approach of investing in green energy and imposing greater restrictions on the production of fossil feuls would have a greater impact on rectifying the drouts in the future.

    August 3, 2011 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  8. george busch

    I guess he and God aren't on speaking terms right now. Maybe God decided to talk to Michelle Bachman about this event and he didn't know he was out of the loop.

    August 3, 2011 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  9. B

    They recognize a Fraud when they see it because Perry is yet another Pseudo Christian trying to use people like Rove did for Perry’s twin Bush!

    Bush and Perry are cut from the same cloth, Arrogant, simple minded, and noisy, without the common sense of a Texas steer..

    August 3, 2011 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  10. Lynda/Minnesota

    "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."

    Without getting into the whole separation of State and Church arguments (of which I am a firm believer of said seperation), I'm wondering if Perrry thinks his approach will work for our nation any better than it did when that evangelical dude in Atlanta kept holding group prayers to pray away the Georgia drought a few years back. Can't remember if that particular evangelical recommended his praying folks also *fast as Jesus did*, though. Might have been why it didn't really work out too well for Georgia. Just a thought, mind you.

    August 3, 2011 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  11. karla b.

    But God talks to him. He said so. So I guess God only found 8000 perpole worthy of hearing his enlightened words. Or could it be the number of idiots in the tea party are less than what we thought? Or maybe they are all headed to a Backman rally that weekend.

    August 3, 2011 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  12. vet in texas

    Jesus knows frauds when he sees them.

    4 out of 5 texans do not like Rick Perry the former Democrat regardless of Party

    August 3, 2011 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  13. Oldie in TampaBay

    the more I read about these GOPers/the more pathetic it gets.

    August 3, 2011 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  14. Denise

    "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."

    The hypocritical GOP at it again. They hold everyone that isn't in their party to one standard which promptly gets tossed out of the window when it comes to themselves. They do not inspire but rather work to divide and polarize the nation. They and their Teabagger compatriots are terrorists. Here's your proof....mixing politics with religion. It's a cocktail for trouble and certainly not what our nation needs. Did they ever ask themselves why this mix doesn't work in other countries so why would it here? If they haven't asked the question then their too stupid for words. If they have, then the drive to divide further is a plan.

    August 3, 2011 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  15. Dan

    Don't forget W's conversations with God.

    August 3, 2011 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  16. sick of republican phonies

    So this dolt wants the publicity and whatever benefit his organizing a christian pray-in garners among the holier-than-thou set, but it isn't fair to tie him to comments made by some of his associates. What a republican phony!

    August 3, 2011 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  17. Rick McDaniel

    The only people concerned about religion, are the right.

    The rest of us are concerned about the economy, and fiscal responsibility..........or we are a member of the welfare party, who thinks the rich should run everything, never pay their debt, and dole out petty handouts, to the serfs who serve them.

    August 3, 2011 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  18. Al-NY,NY

    Here's a response for you Perry..........."puke" Keep dreaming about the White House. We all have our fantasies that never come true.

    August 3, 2011 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  19. framous

    This ex cheerleader for Texas A&M has been a government employee his entire career. As he came from very humble beginnings, it is obvious how he became a multi millionaire while serving as Texas Governor.....he's a crook that brokered huge land and corporate deals for himself first, and Texas somewhere far down on the list. To make matters worse, he's a religious fraud...and anyone who really believes this charlatan is trying to appeal to the far right evangelicals through their own blinded, narrow minded views. No more rhinestone cowboys for president, please.

    August 3, 2011 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  20. jilli

    Could it be that actual Christians are offended by the hate mongers that will be represented on stage. You know, the frauds, the neanderthals that pass themselves off as Christians.

    Perry's a dumber and more obviously patronizing version of GW Bush, a major embarrassment to the state of TX. Perry may poll well in TX and the south, but you can't win a national election on the south alone. I doubt his phony chrisianity and phony economics will play well nationwide.

    August 3, 2011 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  21. L.O.

    As a Texan, it has been pretty apparent to me that The Lord has little effect over 'ole Rick except when he finds it politically useful. This state sponsored prayer meeting is a sad joke and I'm delighted it looks to be a bust.

    August 3, 2011 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  22. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    one of the FIRST things I'd like to see at this prayer conference is for one of the pastors there to stand up and say "Let's say a prayer for President Obama"! I am willing to bet that will NOT happen.

    August 3, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  23. Geoz

    Can Perry personally secede from the country?

    August 3, 2011 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  24. The Day of Financial Reckoning is HERE - The Great Democrat Welfare Society Ends

    Comment on the story on the FAA shutdown...

    The DEMOCRAT controlled Senate failed to act to save those jobs!! Thank you Harry Reid!!! Thank you DEMOCRATS!! But what do you expect from a buffoon that can't pass a budget in nearly 900 days? TOTAL financial incompetence every step of the way in the Senate. THIS is why these dangerous people need to be removed in 2012.

    Terrorist socialist/progressive Democrats have held this country hostage for DECADES with their socialist welfare, wealth redistribution policies. Time for the American people to correct this insanity in 2012. BYE BYE DEMOCRATS!!!

    August 3, 2011 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  25. Al in Texas

    Perry is a master manipulator, liar and expert at deception. During the gubernatorial election last year, he refused to debate any other candidates because he knew that he would show how crooked he is. He ran on a platform of having balanced the budget in Texas. He never acknowledged that he took $3B of Federal funds that had been deposited into the state Education fund and re-directed it to other areas so he could crow about how good he is at balancing budgets. Funny how Texas faced a $27B budget shortfall this spring and so many cuts in education and services will raise the unemployment number. The nation will soon find out how he is nothing but a sham!!!

    August 3, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
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