Perry prayer event hopes to pray away the malaise
August 5th, 2011
06:34 PM ET
11 years ago

Perry prayer event hopes to pray away the malaise

Houston, Texas (CNN) - Rick Perry seems to believe in the power of mixing prayer and politics.

The Texas governor has called on both Christians and politicians to attend his religious gathering, dubbed "The Response," in Houston this weekend.

In a video posted on "The Response" web site, Perry said he hopes worshipers at the event will help kick-start the nation's sluggish economy. In other words: pray away the malaise.

"With the economy in trouble, communities in crisis, and people adrift in a sea of moral relativism, we need God's help. That's why I'm calling on Americans to pray and fast like Jesus did," Perry said on the web video.

With Perry, the script often comes with an extra helping of scripture.

Last month, Perry told the Des Moines Register he feels "called" to run for president.

Back in April, he declared days of prayer for rain to combat the state's oppressive drought.

In May, Perry told a televangelist he believed the Great Recession served a higher purpose. "I think we are going through those difficult economic times for a purpose to bring us back to those Biblical principles," he said on Pastor James Robison's program, "Life Today."

Each time Perry has blended the political with the spiritual he has made no apologies.

"I am a man of faith," Perry said at a news conference last month.

In the weeks leading up to "The Response," critics have accused the governor of tearing down the wall separating church and state.

Barry Lynn, Executive Director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, argues nobody elected Perry state pastor.

"Many people down here love the slogan called 'Don't Mess with Texas.' It's a very effective campaign. I'd say to the governor don't mess with the Constitution," Lynn said.

None of this criticism has dimmed Perry's potent star power in the GOP where he is considered a potential game changer in the race for the Republican nomination.

Bill Martin, a professor of politics and religion at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy, says Perry's spiritual messaging certainly helps him in Republican primaries. But after that, it's a leap of faith.

Martin says Americans like their presidents to be religious, just not too religious.

"Having an event like this will be brought up again and again by his opponents to say Governor Perry does not represent an example of the separation of church and state," Martin said.

Perry is expected to speak at "The Response." But his aides are tight-lipped about what he might say. Will he just pray? What exactly will he pontificate?

The governor has seen his public appeals for prayer fall short before. Four months after his days of prayer for rain, the state is still reeling from one of its worst droughts.

Then there's the response for "The Response." Roughly 8000 people have registered on-line to attend the event, far short of the venue's seating capacity of over 70,000.

Despite his calls for governors across the country to join him at the gathering, Kansas Republican Sam Brownback is Perry's only gubernatorial colleague to signal he would come to Houston.

On Friday, organizers were unsure whether Brownback would indeed attend.

Filed under: 2012 • Religion • Rick Perry • Texas
soundoff (120 Responses)
  1. OldOwl

    Yes, the Magical Sky Guy will fix everything. We don't have to lift a finger, only pray for it. This PSA brought to you by the American Taliban.™

    August 6, 2011 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  2. Truemeister

    ........And I'll keep praying that Rick Perry goes away.....What a bunch of CLOWNS that keep popping up for the GOP.....that's all this Country nees is more Pats,Jerrys,Gramm Jr's, Oral's and his son Annal.........where do these people crawl out from.

    August 6, 2011 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  3. Hooper

    Only repukes are religious I guess! I pray everyday that the repukes go away!

    August 6, 2011 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  4. Randy, San Francisco

    What this country really needs to pray for are politicians who will: act wisely and responsibly as adults, do the right thing for the country, and put partisanship and ideology aside and compromise for the good of the country. Prayer and strict adherence to an ideology can be dangerous. The former president prayed and found justification for a needless war.

    August 6, 2011 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  5. GI Joe

    Uh – NO. We broke away from England because of religion. And the zealots he's invited and listens to should be a very big warning about that nutjob. NO.

    August 6, 2011 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  6. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    If God wanted Perry to be president....wouldn't he just miracle him into office? I guess God wants someone else, and all of this is just a big waste of time and money.

    August 6, 2011 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  7. Indie

    Maybe he's also praying for a brain or does he have to ask god if he was chosen over Bachmann to be the president?

    August 6, 2011 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  8. Marie MD

    I was never into religion but these so-called christians have really moved me away from it even more.
    This secessionist does know that his praynfornrain didn't work, right! he reminds of a snake oil salesman in the old west.
    These right wing nutsos only care about the constitution when it's convenient to them. I bet most of them have never taken the time to read it much less understand it. Onky 8000 fools in a stadium that sits over 71000. I bet they use pictures of a football game to lie about the crowd. Just like the teatards did sith their small marches in DC.

    August 6, 2011 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  9. The Only Real Fools

    How dare he........bring God into man's affairs! Of course I don't claim to be near as intelligent as Liberals......after all, they seem to claim there is no God........and if there is, there is no wisdom in politicians or Government in general, having anything to do with God.......after all, He may oppose something man wants to do! But I DO believe that God is real & that man does indeed need Him, & yes, in ALL our affairs! But still the truth stands that has prevailed from man's origin...."The fool has said in his heart there is no God". Yes, a WISE man begins any quest only with God's help........then there is ......the fool.

    August 6, 2011 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  10. BigJim

    please pray for our " job creators " to stop sending our jobs to communist countrys, stop hoarding trillions of dollars derived from record profits while at the same time announcing a new round of lay-offs of American workers.

    August 6, 2011 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  11. Repubs - the party of no responsibility or integrity

    The American Tahliban on display – but only 8,000 tickets out of 70,000?
    We know there are more of the lunatic fringe in Texas – are they afraid of coming into the daylight?

    August 6, 2011 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  12. Squigman

    Separation of church and state be damned. To hell with what is written in the constitution. It's just a piece of paper, to be used when we say it should be, not all the time. It might become politically inconvenient.

    August 6, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  13. Ms. Texas

    The biggest snake oil salesman in Texas. This man states he is Christian but his actions prove otherwise.

    August 6, 2011 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  14. Guest

    Give me a break! This is his solution to fixing the economy? Pray it away?

    August 6, 2011 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  15. Doug

    I guess the message is that if taking personal responsibility or scientific literacy don't work for you, try prayer.

    August 6, 2011 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  16. Debbie from Arizona

    Just what our country doesn't need another religious wack job who want to be Preacher in Chief.

    August 6, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  17. Alexander Hamilton

    Maybe he can pray away executing an inocent man.
    Oh well ~ Perry Panders On

    August 6, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  18. needNewGov

    For once I totally agree with a GOPer. I lean liberal and am a follower of Christ. With the state of our world right now I think prayer might help. It won't hurt. If we pray that sanity comes to this place we call home and that our so-called leaders start living the "Love your neighbors..." style of life then it's good. I totally disagree when they use religion to promote their (the fundamentalist Christians) hateful agenda.

    August 6, 2011 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  19. Bob

    ...and I want Santa Claus to bring me a pony.

    Perry has just demonstrated that he is completely unqualified to be President of the Unites States of America, let alone Governor of Texas.

    August 6, 2011 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  20. Americans returned the GOP to the helm of the U.S. Titantic, giving them a 2nd chance for a direct hit at the iceberg!

    They will be praying for their own "Lebensborn", to increase the number of white, "christian" babies.

    August 6, 2011 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
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