Perry prayer event hopes to pray away the malaise
August 5th, 2011
06:34 PM ET
9 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. GOP = Greed Over People

    I am sure that butch "husband" of Botox Bachmann will be there to hold hands with Princess Perry and "pray away the gay"!

    August 5, 2011 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  2. maf

    Absolutely, PRAY the economy back into recovery! You and your party have no CLUE as to what to do with this economy and are being obstructionist to the extreme at the expense of the nation! Are you insane??? Pray you win the lottery Perry, that would be a bit more realistic!

    August 5, 2011 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  3. trex

    I pray too. I pray that GOD smites these moronic idiots of the far right, the tea baggers. I pray you are defeated in November of 2012 by such a wide margin, the gop actually morphs into what was once a proud and sensable GOP.

    August 5, 2011 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  4. Peter s

    Woe unto you , Perry and the rest of the neo GOP Pharisees, hypocrites, Chalartans!” If Jesus comes back today, he will condemned and illustrate your rapaciousness, selfishness, the inward spiritual emptiness, and the Gop emphasis on “scruple” while neglecting the “weightier” matters of justice, mercy, and faith. Wake up America!!!

    August 5, 2011 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  5. BeverlyNC

    No one is going to show up....the end to Rick Perry's Presidential run! All governors invited have backed out and the 71.000 seat stadium is expected to have 68.000+ seats EMPTY. No one wants to listen to lunatic Republican "Christians" who believe the Statue of Liberty is a "Satanic idol" or that "Hitler used gay men as soldiers because they are more evil". This is your Republican Party!

    August 5, 2011 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  6. omd

    When it comes to being elected in 2012, Perry doesn't have a prayer.

    August 5, 2011 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  7. Jeff in Illinois

    I can't abide someone who puts his party above his country and cites a religious reason to run for POLITICAL office.

    August 5, 2011 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  8. Ken in NC

    I hope those IDIOTS pray away the Republican Party and the Tea Party. They have done their dam damage so now they can crawl back under their rocks.

    August 5, 2011 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  9. Jess C.

    Please spare us of yet another nutcake running for office!

    August 5, 2011 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  10. mukiha

    With Michele Bachman and some republican candidates having declared that they were chosen by God,Perry prayer event is another indication that they are running for "the holiest president" or whoever has his or her face deep in Jesus Christ butt.The silent by Romney over the debt crisis is an example of what to expect.Is all about cultural and religion warfare and the economy is for the private sector.

    August 5, 2011 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  11. Jilli

    Any Perry supporters that think this cowboy clown will carry the northeast and win a national election are kidding themselves. He's a dumber version of GW Bush. Mr. Minimum Wage – the master of low paying job. He'll be lucky to carry TX.

    August 5, 2011 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  12. Texas Doc

    Good luck wih that Ricky. Wait till they find out about your little Log Cabin secret.

    August 5, 2011 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  13. sue p

    Keep your religion to yourself.....I don't care if you worship the devil, just get this economy back on solid ground. For you Tea Partiers, congratulations on making things worse. If you don't need Social Security or Medicare, which apparently you don't or you would not be voting to cut funding, at least let people who need it, collect it.

    August 5, 2011 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  14. Dubious

    Is "The Response" like "The Decision" only instead of a sports hero transforming himself into a pariah, a governor is transfroming himself into a tele-evangelist? Yes, this man is presidential timber, but the type appropriate for a third world theocracy.

    August 5, 2011 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  15. beevee

    Please stay in Texas and don't try to get into national politics. No religious nuts in national politics. They iwll ruin the country.

    August 5, 2011 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  16. AmFem

    When Fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag, and carrying a cross. Sinclair Lewis could see the future, and it is here.

    August 5, 2011 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  17. republicansareputas

    The Republicans and their religious allays trying to meld religion into politics reminds me of the time when my mother used to pray she always interlace it with curse and bad words, it goes like this; Our Father who are in heaven...where have been you mother fuckers ...holy be your name thy kingdom.. look what you made me do son of a bitch. Just because they invoke the name of the Christian God it doesn't mean they are holy and blessed. or that their prayer will be answered. If you are a person full of political malice and you try to influence your congregation to follow you blindly Both you and them are condemn just the same. Politics is a messy situation if you contaminate your pristine spiritual belief with it then what is then sacred to you as a PERSON.

    August 5, 2011 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  18. Rumors in Austin say Perry likes the way one of his state chefs serves up his "hot dog"!

    Since Dallas is in the 34th day of Hell on earth, your "pray for rain" days seems to have backfired.

    An elected official should never need to hear "God's" or any other tiny little voice inside his head before he solves a problem or asks for directions on how to solve a problem(altho, after seeing your college transcript, you may want to check with a mortal with an IQ greater than s #2 pencil) before making ANY decisions.

    This roasting oven we are now in Texass, could that be payback for evoking God's name in vain for Perry's petty pandering?

    IRobertson said God condemned gays with AIDS, surely, turning 14 states into a tinder box is no hill for a stepper!

    Next time you feel the need to pray and only allow "christians" to attend, keep it simple, like praying for the name of the GOP fund raising bundlers, do not involve all of us innocent "heathens" in your "chrsitian" prayers!

    August 5, 2011 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  19. billwill

    Simpletons! We are a nation of idiots.

    August 5, 2011 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  20. Former Republican, now an Independent

    As an Evangelical Christian, I firmly believe in the power of prayer, however I do not believe in trying to use it for political gain as Rick Perry is doing. Prayer is meant to be a personal conversation with our Heavenly Father, not a spectacle in the marketplaces. It is time we Christians realize that the republican party is using us, and that our values are not at the center of their agenda, money is!

    August 5, 2011 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  21. Robert Cloosdoosch

    All we need is another fake cowboy who claims God told him to run for the presidency.
    They need to change their slogan to "Texas is a mess"

    August 5, 2011 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  22. NamCbtVet

    I hope to pray away Perry, Palin, Paul, Pawlenty, the AFA and their fellow travelers. They are a clear and present danger to the country.

    August 6, 2011 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  23. liz

    I agree with you 100%

    August 6, 2011 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  24. Anonymous

    Hey, Rick, God called and asked me to tell you to stop trying to speak for him.

    August 6, 2011 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  25. Whoosh

    Maybe now the republican't are getting their wish with the downgrade of our credit rating. Oh Yes, I do rightfully lay blame at the
    Tea Party Terrorist group. Destroying our country from within, just "to get" Obama. It won't work. Two words- You Lose.

    August 6, 2011 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
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