Big 'response' for Rick Perry?
August 3rd, 2011
11:27 AM ET
9 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. "The GOP biggest deception is getting the Poor and Middle class to believe they are out to help them"

    You know the GOP talk about how smart they are about handling the budget and money, yet when it comes to matters of running for the President of the US and the candidate knows they can't win, they still want to waste the money to do it. Tell me would you really want someone like that running the country? I mean look at the current folks they have in the race that know darn well they don't stand a snow ball chance in Hell of getting the nod, but yet they waste all this money trying.REALLY?

    August 3, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  2. sammieb51

    These Christian Terrorists need to stay out of my government. Jefferson clearly didn't want church running the state. Perry needs to get busy in his state - I heard the school kids have to pay to ride the public school bus. Pitiful - he wants to do this to the nation? I think not.

    August 3, 2011 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  3. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    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 thousand.
    -------------------------------------------------–
    Meanwhile our President would've filled the venue to SRO. Fact.
    I'm a Catholic, and more importantly a Christian Mr. Perry, and your Party over the last decade, and the last 3 years for sure, is as far removed from ANY Christian principles as they can possibly be, and you by extension.

    Our country is indeed in need of prayer by those who practice their Christian principles, not just pay them lip-service whn it serves their purpose or fills their purse.

    August 3, 2011 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  4. ART

    Its so funny that they can use the name of religion and god to further their political goals and not practice what they preach in their lives, Republicans are against everything that to me god would be for, i.e. helping your fellow man those less fortunate than yourself, they don't give a crap about anyone other than themselves and big business.

    August 3, 2011 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  5. Dale

    It sounds as successful as Palins movie, "The Undefeated". 🙂

    August 3, 2011 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  6. pn

    Imagine Perry as a president facing an international crisis and solving it by asking Americans to pray.

    August 3, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    While Republicans celebrate the resilience of the Tea Party, they fail to notice that people have stopped showing up in support at Tea Party rallies. As far as only 8000 showing up for a venue that can hold ten times that, I guarantee you that those 8000 that do show up can afford to buy up the rest of the tickets.

    August 3, 2011 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  8. MenaC

    As a Christian, a Texan, and a lesbian, I am ashamed of Gov. Perry. Gov. Perry should refresh himself on Jesus' teaching in the New Testament. Matthew 6:5-8 states: 5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

    August 3, 2011 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  9. Randy, San Francisco

    This prayer event appears to be more about getting people to come to Houston to spend "tourist" dollars.

    August 3, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  10. Fair is Fair

    "While Republicans celebrate the resilience of the Tea Party, they fail to notice that people have stopped showing up in support at Tea Party rallies. As far as only 8000 showing up for a venue that can hold ten times that, I guarantee you that those 8000 that do show up can afford to buy up the rest of the tickets."
    -------–
    Fact is the left simply cannot accept the fact that the Tea Party is now a political force. Demonize, belittle, and berate it all you want – they're not going away, much to your chagrin. Deal with it.

    August 3, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  11. MTATL67

    This is American and you have the right to practice your faith no matter what religion. Governor Perry can sit there or gather as many people as he wishes to pray for a miracle. I just think he should use the miracle God gave him already, his brain. Take the money from oil revenues and build a pipeline from the flood plains of Missouri and the Mississippi and send it down to the farms of Texas. We know that these floods happen annually so the pipeline could be used again. Of course it is easier to ask for God's help than using the tools the maker already gave you.

    August 3, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "Imagine Perry as a president facing an international crisis and solving it by asking Americans to pray."

    That's essentially what the GOP does, be it within the framework of their Krischun Nashun beliefs or their quasi-religious cult-like faith-based adherence to a belief system that posits that making rich people richer causes it to rain money on the poor and middle-class, despite the latter having no factual and evidentiary support (and, in fact, the existence of ample facts and evidence indicating reality doesn't work that way).

    August 3, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  13. Busted

    I feel like Perry's quote was cut short, it should read: The Texas governor goes on to call on Americans "to pray and fast like Jesus did, [condem people to hell, throw stones at gays, get women out of the work place and back into the kitchen, and make sure the poor die off for being lazy rather then provide any level of public service – just like Jesus did]."

    August 3, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  14. jody

    hmmmmmmmmmmmm lesbian AND christian...........thats a contradiction!

    August 3, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  15. Bill

    This guy is a loud-mouthed, bigoted loser. What do expect from Texas?

    August 3, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  16. vel

    seems like prayer has failed again. Do you really doubt these "good Christians" weren't praying like mad for their god to make sure the stadium was full? That seems to have failed like all of the prayers for rain, prayers for DODT to not be repealed, prayers for NY to not approve gay marriage, etc. But as always, these beleivers won't accept that they and their god have failed; they'll just change their story and claim that their god has some mysterious "plan" that allows stuff they don't like to continue.

    August 3, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  17. Beverly - NYC

    Funny how numbers don't mean anything when it's a Republican fail. Signing up and actual attendance are very different. Don't worry Rick I'm sure Fox already had appropriate footage depicting the raging success of your race rally.

    August 3, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  18. NVa Native

    It is so creepy at how much he looks and acts like the Dubbers. He's just creepy.

    August 3, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  19. Shelby

    Somehow I have difficulty in believing ricky perry’s–the former Democrat who in 1988 directed Al Gore's Texas primary race–changeover from a Dem to a Repub and his extreme Prayer Here, Prayer There, Prayer Everywhere shtick.

    I think rick perry is a big time hypocrite and given time, other voters will come to the same conclusion. He never misses an opportunity to tout his Christianity, yet he seems to not much care for sharing his considerable wealth with his church.

    According to a recent June 12 story from the ‘San Antonio Express-News’ titled: “Perry has not overburdened the collection plate–Governor's modest religious donations are raising eyebrows”, perry plays up his faith with speeches at prayer breakfasts and by inviting the nation's governors to a prayer meeting, etc. YET perry apparently is NOT fond of church tithing.

    Excerpt from the San Antonio Express-News piece:

    “Perry's top income year since becoming governor came in 2007 when he reported $1,092,810 in adjusted gross income ..... His total charitable cash contributions that year totaled $413.”

    August 3, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  20. Bill

    Mr Perry, "You and your Southern Evangelics can "Twist the Bible all you want? Just keep it down their, in the hot South! We don,t need evangelical "Rednecks" in the White House? The Teaparty is "Corruption Enough" right now!!! No Thanks

    August 3, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  21. thomas

    Did Rick Perry Miss the Log Cabin Republicans 2011 Annual Convention in Dallas?

    Perry has such insight into bringing people together in such a compassionate , accepting and understanding way !

    August 3, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  22. Joe B-b-b-b-bob

    He oughta pray for rain, for starters. And cooler temps. See how that works and then move on to the other stuff.

    August 3, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    Fair wrote:
    Fact is the left simply cannot accept the fact that the Tea Party is now a political force. Demonize, belittle, and berate it all you want – they're not going away, much to your chagrin. Deal with it.
    -------------
    The real facts are that the Tea Party is alive only in Congress. They enjoy a lower approval rating than Congress itself.

    August 3, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  24. Kathryn B

    What does everyone have against God?
    Why is it wrong for a man to pray? And to ask others to pray with him. Clearly we need help with all that is going on in our country right now. Has anything else helped? Why not try prayer?
    It seems arrogant to belittle Perry for his beliefs- not too "open minded". or perhaps "open minded" as long as it's not a Christain meeting?
    I don't think anyone would be complaining if it were an Islamic or Buddhist meeting. And by the way everyone is indeed invited. There is no where that I can find in the Response literature that excludes another religion or the non religious. it is just a Christian " response" to our country's situation. Live and let live. Perry may be running for President and maybe it is a shallow attempt at garnering votes but who cares? At least these people are going to try to do something about our country's problems besides complain.

    August 3, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  25. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I hope that this prayer event doesn't have any taxpayer money in it. I also hope that this inspires people to help out more and do more to support their fellow man. That seems to be a big problem among many of the weathly Americans. They don't give to any (or enough) to charities like soup kitchens and programs that train people to work or start their own companies.

    August 3, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
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