Perry prayer event hopes to pray away the malaise
August 5th, 2011
06:34 PM ET
8 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. ThinkAgain

    What are we living in, the Dark Ages? "Pray away" the malaise?

    Last time I checked, God gave us BRAINS, Perry, and expects us to use them! Sitting on your thumbs hoping that your puny self will somehow convince the creator of the universe to do you a favor when you got yourself into this mess is just plain STUPID! (and a bit creepy ...)

    August 6, 2011 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  2. RayJacksonMS

    "Back in April, he declared days of prayer for rain to combat the state's oppressive drought." And the drought area increased something like four times in size after his little rain dance.

    August 6, 2011 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  3. Malcomb X

    God doesnt listen to looneytunes....

    August 6, 2011 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  4. Bonita

    Americans are stupid to mock Christianity when they are losing everything from honor to money. Americans don't really know real crisis or sufferings except the missionaries and soldiers. Even if there were troubles, those only made the media richer. Americans have been always in safety for most part. It's time to listen to godly figures again.

    August 6, 2011 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  5. Bonita

    CNN, why do you terminate the posting? If you gonna steal the ideas of commenters, don't exclude the stress in repentance part from my comments, since that's the main message for America. You liberals always steal from the Bible and the Christianity, leaving God all the while. I hope you will realize how stupid it is someday soon. Look at your nation now. The results from the years of your godless choices and immoral propaganda are coming more.

    August 6, 2011 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  6. Bonita

    Liberals, anything you have as good is solely from the Bible and from the Christian conscience. Both you and your barbaric ancestors(Europeans) had nothing worth outside of Christianity. Everything you know to be good and honorable has been in the Bible. You neither read the Bible or your own history so you never have clues on origins and always spew out the anti-God garbages. Stop it before your perv nation becomes more wrecked.

    August 6, 2011 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  7. Marry

    Gov. Perry – if you have no ideas, you pray??? And, pray loud and in public as in “pray and pay”! That seems to be a behavior that comes easily to a certain group of people. Too bad that the actions of these “Christians” consisting of Guns and Greed – are not so pleasing to God, I am sure! Did Jesus not say something about the least of you brothers and what you do to them…., something about not to bare false witness… and to give to the Gov. what’s the Gov’s and God what is God’s??? Ah, well, on those points we are all for separation of Church and State!! We only use the parts that fit our agenda…..keeping people stupid and making MONEY!

    August 6, 2011 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  8. Joe B-b-b-b-bob

    Interesting he invited "Christians and politicians" - as if they're mutually exclusive. In general, I'd agree. Otherwise, Rick, try praying for rain - hope that works for you.

    August 6, 2011 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  9. J.V.hodgson

    A tiny whisper in this guys ear from just one albeit non Texas voter.
    You have a heat wave still in Texas, and I hope it rains soon as well.
    However for me and many I know god or religion and politics do mix either, realistically, prayers or not, and certainly not constitutionally.
    By the way which version of god are you wanting people to pray to as the muslim and Christian god are the same person or entity but have different intepretations of what god can do.
    I can admire your desire for perfection but it is an impossible dream never achieved by mere men and you are one of us men so soory No vote from me I think your ideas are a disaster and certainly unpresidential.

    August 6, 2011 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  10. FBMarky

    Yeah, that's a plan that'll work. It's done really well for the drought situation in his state. All the prayers in the world won't help him. He needs to atone for his sins. Start pushing for universal healthcare, amnesty for immigrants and gay marriage. Then, maybe God will smile on your pathetic little state again. Like He's smiling on New York these days.

    August 6, 2011 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  11. roscoe

    Next week, Perry will hold a trial of a teacher who teaches the concept of evolution. I think it is called the George W Bush Monkey trial. You might as well call him Ayatollah Rick.

    August 6, 2011 02:40 am at 2:40 am |
  12. frag

    It is true, that if this guy gets elected, a lot more Americans will be turning to prayer to solve their problems.

    August 6, 2011 03:31 am at 3:31 am |
  13. peace

    this guy perry look and sound like another jim jones. people beware of the false phophet they will come clothed in sheep clothing. this man is a demon.

    August 6, 2011 03:39 am at 3:39 am |
  14. dilberth

    Generally, CNN really sucks.

    August 6, 2011 03:46 am at 3:46 am |
  15. meemawfromthesouth

    Well Gov, Hows that prayer thingie working out for ya. Gettin' lottsa rain are ya?

    August 6, 2011 06:21 am at 6:21 am |

    Watch your wallet when wingnuts talk about Jesus just like you do when you see the robbers on TV. You know that the moneytray is coming around very soon. Hypocrits who cherrypick the bible and the Constitution.

    August 6, 2011 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  17. Louie

    Wow. 8,000 seats. Better do what Bill Maher suggested and add a monster truck rally to that event.

    August 6, 2011 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  18. Rudy NYC

    I understnad that the ticket sales have been rather low for a venue so large. I see two explanations, and neither one of them reflects will on Gv. Perry. One, he has priced tickets too high, which means he is out of touch with what the general publc can afford. Two, he is not well like within his own home state, which means he probably wouldn't win his own state in a general election.

    August 6, 2011 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  19. kierthos





    August 6, 2011 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  20. Joel

    It's hard to imagine a more blatantly unconstitutional act (not to mention the fact that prayer has been scientifically proven again and again to do exactly nothing).

    August 6, 2011 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  21. Dennis B.

    Politicians like Rick Perry complain about the Islam religion controlling a government. But they want it the same way with their version of Christianity controlling our government. So hypocritical.

    August 6, 2011 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  22. Marie Therese

    Finally, there is someone who remembers that this country was founded on faith based principles and isn't afraid to say so.
    God bless you and may the Holy Spirit guide you.

    August 6, 2011 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  23. clarke

    There is nothing wrong with prayer. But you can't be a leader and just pray for things to happen, it isn't going to happen. You must work for it.

    August 6, 2011 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  24. Ken in NC

    Sure would be nice if they pray away the Republican Party and Tea Party while theyare praying.

    August 6, 2011 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  25. a in austin

    ADIOS MOFO! This is the most religion Ive seen from Perry in all the years of his political career. He's been back pedaling so much lately over this event today I'd be surprised to see him there. HE IS NOT WHAT THIS COUNTRY NEEDS. After his private meetings with the Koch brothers, it will be interesting to see what direction he takes off in.

    August 6, 2011 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
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