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. QS

    "Perry said it was unfair to tie him to comments made by some of the event's planners."


    August 3, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    @Fair: You seem to have failed to notice that the Tea Party has dropped out of favor with the American people. Or did the Tea Party get to Washington and do what their backers wanted and not the people?

    During the health care debate, Tea Party rallies featured untold numbers of folks holding signs up saying stuff like, "Don't Touch My Medicare". The Tea Party backers used those people to put their drones in office, and have not turned their backs on their own voters. The GOTP has tried to kill Medicare as we know it. You can include thousands of former Tea Partiers in that "we" know it.

    August 3, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  3. bes

    Rick Perry supporting 'christians', have I got a deal for you. I'll sell you 'god's country' cheap, not a swamp, but blessed with geological muck and slime, full of life for the eye to behold – but stand away because most are poisonous...God's country, dirt cheap. These people will believe anything if set up for the ignorant to relate to.

    August 3, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  4. Vic of New York

    Would the President Obama were "Captain America", and come sock it to these extremist right-wing facists – hiding behind the cover of "Jesus".

    August 3, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  5. C. Howe Yulikit

    Hey Rick, looks like God is talking to you. He's telling you that nobody gives a rat's behind about you.

    August 3, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  6. Susan

    Hopefully Gov. Goodhair will one day discover that God gave each of us a brain specifically for the purpose of using it..

    August 3, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  7. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    God has helped Perry and Perry in return paid $90(ninety dollars) in tides. I'd say that's robbing God of what's his.

    August 3, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  8. Peter

    If a leader in a Middle Eastern country did this but for Muslims, these Christian radicals would be the first ones to try to instill the fear of their made up God in Americans. Why is it acceptable for American politicians to be religious nut jobs, but not Muslim politicians in other countries?

    August 3, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |

    ....hmm...I wonder if Michelle Bachmann and her pray-the-gay-away husband will be attending....

    August 3, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  10. doug

    Oh come on Rick Perry what a copy cat, this sounds just like the one Obama is holding in Mecca.

    August 3, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  11. JMM

    Ohhh, looks like Ricky won't be the silver bullet that the GOP (esp god fearing whackos) had hoped for this coming election. So, it's Mitt or no one and I am sure that the GOP establishment will pull him to the right more than he wants and the American people will AGAIN be left with one choice. Like him or hate him, Obama is still the best choice for POTUS. America is just sucking it these days!

    August 3, 2011 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  12. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    There are Christians and there are Christians. I belong to one of the Mainstream Protestant denominations, and we refer to ourselves as Christians. However, our "brethren" in the Evangelical Christian movement do not believe we are sufficiently Christian because we do not believe in shoving our beliefs down others throats, do not denounce any worship that does not conform to their rigid belief system, ans tend to support more Liberal causes, such as the Fair Wage Act, support for family planning, voting rights, social justice issues, etc.

    In a sense the Evangelicals like Perry are more like the Pharisees in that they are more concerned with the style than the substance of Christianity. Also, how can someone who calls himself a Christian sign death warrants resulting in more executions than any other government outside of the PRC? If he truly considered himself a Christian, wouldn't he avoid signing these as a sign of his faith?

    August 3, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  13. coy4one

    I'm so tired of Perry! I've been tired of him since he took over the Governorship from George W. Bush. Perry is self-centered, egotistical, and does not care what kind of press he gets (positive or negative) as long as he gets press. The only difference between him and Paris Hilton is that she's better looking. BTW, I'm from Houston. We don't like Perry here.

    August 3, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  14. ArizonaYankee

    Reading comments on CNN boards, regardless of topic, shows that in the liberal world, all sense of hope, and reasonableness is totally gone. Fortunately, these boards, and many of the same from other mainstream media show just how out of touch liberals are. Politicians in general, and Democrats in particular have drivin us to bankruptcy with their tax and spend policies. I am an independent, moderate, but it is troubling to see how people have not woke up. We are broke guys, and the liberals, and/or Obama will only make it worse.

    August 3, 2011 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  15. jboh

    The las thing America needs is another texas s crossburner in the White House.

    August 3, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  16. Cliff

    What ever happened to civil discourse? Where has respect gone? Where is the intellect anymore in discussions about topics where disagreements exist.

    It seems that every post is laced with name-calling, labeling, character attacks. Is it now impossible to find anyone who can simply say I disagree with you, now let’s go have some coffee?

    Perry is the governor, but he's a person too. His position in government does not preclude him from his freedom of religion, or the lack thereof. If he wants to have a prayer meeting or a séance, I say knock yourself out! I would have a problem if he signed a law into effect that required me to adhere to a certain religion, or if he signed a law into effect that required me to do something odd with chicken feet, but gee whiz…if the man wants to have church in Reliant Stadium, can’t we all just wish him well and stop speaking so harshly to one another online?

    August 3, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  17. mb2010a

    As a Texan, I feel Rick Perry is a bigger embarrassment to Texas than even GWB. Let him run for POTUS, at least he will have to give up his governorship to do so and we will finally be rid of his sorry azz...

    August 3, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  18. LovesIrony

    Dorothy Spornak to Rose Nylen: Pray for Brains

    August 3, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  19. Unemployed

    Rick Perry is a joke and everybody in Texas knows it. He and his friends can gather and pray but what exactly are they praying for? We've had a day of prayer so what is his point? Everyday should be a day of prayer and why is it only for Christians. That alone tells me he's full of mess. I CANNOT WAIT FOR ELECTION. The President we have now may not be the best but he is surely better than the other choices. I make sure everybody I know keeps informed as to what those darn people are up to and this debt ceiling mess only seals the deal. They don't care about nobody but themselves. Run Rick Run...PLEASE, Run Rick Run so everybody can see what kind of crap you've been pulling in Texas. He won't announce whether he's running because he's scared. Its past time for Rick Perry to sit down or whatever it is he does.

    August 3, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  20. GOP = I got mine, screw you.

    Tea-tards are nothing but GOP cling-ons who are even more ignorant and arrogant than the rest of the GOP. The tea-baggers deserve to be deported to a country more to their "ideals" like Somolia – where they have destroyed their government and their society, and love to worship the biggest bully with the most guns.

    August 3, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  21. KYINDY

    I hope his "prayer for America" works out better than his "prayer for rain in Texas" did....

    August 3, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  22. Charlie from the North

    Our idiot Governor in Maine has joined Perry's day of prayer. I have been praying for Maine eveyr day since this lunatic got into office. As far as fasting the food pantries are busier than ever so I guess we have more people fasting. If these idiots were "really actig like Jesus" we would be much better off.

    August 3, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  23. Charlie from the North

    BTW one more thing. Speaking of Jesus. Remember,lots of things were said and done to Him in His time on earth. But the only thing that ever pissed Him off was the money changers at the Temple.......... look at the people pushing this and ask what are their motives.

    August 3, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  24. Big George in Big D

    @B – what a moronic response! Look at Perry's stats for governing this state. Texas has the lowest unemployment rate OF ANY STATE!! and its considered high for us at 7.2%. Perry is a very smart man so just because you are stupid enough to make negative comments without any base, that shows just how simple YOU are.

    August 3, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  25. once upon a horse

    personally I find nothing wrong with prayer and fasting for that matter, I DO find it wrong to use this for political purposes. I bet if Congressman Ellison of Minnesota, who is a Muslim, called for an Islamic prayer and fasting for the nation, the right wing would have gone bonkers. And if you look at the list of "pastors" that Perry has invited you everything from one calling Oprah the anti-Christ to another saying the Hitler Nazi's were GAY. Sick stuff if you ask me.

    @ Fair is Fair.....

    the Klan was once a force in this nation politically as well and look what happened to them. Check out the approval rating of your Tea Party bunch, it's in the toilet along with the GOP's 28%...Americans are no longer being fooled.

    August 3, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
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