Perry hits Obama for war on faith, despite a ghost of 'holiday season' past
December 7th, 2011
04:32 PM ET
11 years ago

Perry hits Obama for war on faith, despite a ghost of 'holiday season' past

(CNN) - Rick Perry doubled down on his religion-based attack of President Barack Obama Wednesday, saying the president was preventing students from celebrating Christmas in schools. But just last year, Perry issued a holiday statement as governor of Texas that omits any mention of the Christian holiday.

In an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Perry said Obama and the political left were waging a "war on religious traditions," including preventing students from praying in schools and having Christmas parties.

"What we're seeing from the left, of which I would suggest to you, President Obama is a member of the left and substantial left-of-center beliefs, that you can't even have a Christmas party. You can't say a prayer at school," Perry said in an interview airing on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."

But in a holiday statement to troops issued by his office on Dec. 22, 2010 and posted on the governor's website, Perry fails to mention Christmas at all, sticking instead to more general terms like "holiday season."

"During this holiday season, remember to thank a first responder or salute a veteran for their service and pray for God's protection on them and their families," Perry said.

The concern over Christmas was part of a larger attempt by Perry to attack the president on religious grounds, an effort that also included a television ad, released in Iowa Wednesday, that paints a similar picture of the Obama's policies.

"I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a Christian, but you don't need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school," Perry says in the ad.

In the interview Wednesday, Perry said he stood by the spot.

"I'm very comfortable and with that ad," Perry said. "For one thing, my faith is part of me. The values that I learned in my Christian upbringing will affect my governing."

Perry said the Obama administration was executing a war on religious values by restricting federal funds to certain organizations.

"When you talk to the bishops of the Catholic Church, there is clearly an agenda by this administration to go after those Catholic charities that are offering health care, doing work or trafficking of individuals," Perry said.

"The administration is clearly sending messages to people of faith and organizations of faith that we're not going to support you with federal dollars," Perry continued.

Perry also mentioned he had yet to make a decision about participating in a debate sponsored by reality television star Donald Trump, saying he had planned a bus tour through Iowa on the same date, and wasn't sure if his schedule would allow participating in the Trump event.

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Filed under: 2012 • Religion • Rick Perry • TV-The Situation Room
soundoff (313 Responses)
  1. Lynne

    I happen to know for a fact that lots of praying goes on in schools!!! They just aren't organized prayers. I teach a class at a college and I have students telling me every quarter that they pray in class all the time right before a test. Perry needs to just accept the fact that he isn't going to be elected president and go home to Texas and be quite.

    December 8, 2011 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  2. AEK

    I taught elementary school for thirty years. We stopped celebrating the Christmas holiday with parties and the like way before now President Obama moved into the White House and probably even before Rick Perry flunked out of college!

    December 8, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  3. Mike

    Obama has indeed been waging war on religion, that is war on fundamentalist CONSERVATIVE Islam. See a "war" requires bombs and missiles, not forgetting to say Geezus every once in a while. Obama, as protector of western civilization, defends the separation of church/mosque and the state. There should be no religious tests for office or establishment of religion by the government. The constitution forbids it!

    December 8, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  4. Ron Hiller

    Yesterday, Rick Perry received an endorsement from television preacher, Rev. John Hagee. This occurred on the same day Rick Perry was in Washington courting the Jewish vote. CNN also showed a clip yesterday of Rev. Hagee saying that all who have not confessed their sins and become born-again believers in Jesus Christ are going straight to Hell for all eternity. This leaves me a bit confused; either Rick Perry agrees with Hagee that all Jews are (upon their deaths) going straight Hell for all eternity, or he is in serious disagreement with Rev. Hageeā€™s theology. Which is it?

    December 8, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  5. Mama Judy

    Wow, the party that takes away all social programs , and judge people constantly .. is talking religion...they better read their BIBLE a little slower and retain what it says....and do not just preach.... read, retain and LIVE what you preach.....or don't TALK AND COMPARE! Jesus is good and is watching...making his list and checking him twice....... SHALL NOT LIE!

    December 8, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  6. nononsense

    "The administration is clearly sending messages to people of faith and organizations of faith that we're not going to support you with federal dollars," Perry continued.

    I fail to understand how a representative of the party that claims to be Constitution-First could see that as a bad thing. I get how Perry's statement about gays in the military vs. kids being allowed to pray in school has a symmetrical, aphoristic ring to it, but his defense (above) is every bit as frightening as the Red Scare in the 50's and his poor judgement seems to be beyond measure. On that basis alone, that I demand a president with better judgement, I guess Perry has now proved he is a puppet.

    December 8, 2011 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  7. Foreverwar

    I get the feeling Perryhead thinks our schools do not need proper funding, they just need a bible for every science class.

    December 8, 2011 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  8. rosaadriana

    Oh ... is HE still around?

    December 8, 2011 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  9. MBSeattle

    I am sure God is on Rick Perry's side just look at the help he has given him in the polls. What a Dolt

    December 8, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  10. MJ

    President Obama has nothing to with prayer in schools or the lack thereof. And the President is certainly not waging war on religion. All this evangelical persecution stuff is just plain nonsense. I wish Perry would exit the Republican primary race and go back to Texas. The nation is not ready for another President from the state that promotes itself as "Texas a whole nother country."

    December 8, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  11. Patrick

    It would be wonderful if Santa would bring us a 'extra present' this year and have the Republicans nominate "good ole' Rick" as their candidate for the 2012 election. Of course, most of the country would have to get out of the way on 11/6/12 as a LANDSLIDE sweeps over the lands and buries Perry for good. But seriously, they are not that stupid and will probably choose the 'safe' bet of Romney who the right will wonder if a Mormon can really represent the Christian wing of the Republican Party...................must guess, NOT..................they will sit out the election and wait for 2016.

    December 8, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  12. dee

    If there is a war on Christmas someone forgot to tell my neighborhood Mr. Perry because there are lights and decorations on nearly house, and more than one baby Jesus on front yard Christmas display.

    December 8, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  13. Marjee123

    Praying in schools. When did the designate a school the same as a church. I really truly believe republicans are nuts. What God would support a republican when they believe all the things contrary to being Christian. ex" let people die if they can't afford health insurance. Cut funds for school children unable to pay for breakfast. Wanting to cut money from medicare for seniors so they would die from lack of care. cut money from social security so seniors couldn't heat their homes, pay the rent, buy food. BUT WANT TO PASS OUTRAGEOUS TAX CUTS FOR THE SUPER RICH AND MAKE SURE THE CORPORATIONS HAVE NO REGULATIONS AND PLENTY OF LOOP HOLES SO THEY DON'T HAVE TO PAY TAXES. Oh yes God would love these republicans. NOT..

    December 8, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
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