by Jeremy Leaming
Seeking divine guidance for answers to the ongoing effects of the Great Recession, or possibly to shake-up the 2012 Republican presidential race, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is set to headline a Christian evangelical rally tomorrow at the Houston Texans’ football stadium.
The event, dubbed “The Response: a call to prayer for a nation in crisis,” is being backed by major Religious Right players, such as the American Family Association and TV preacher John Hagee, and will likely feature the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins.
In a video message on The Response’s website, a grinning Gov. Perry says, in part:
I’m inviting you to join your fellow Americans in a day of prayer and fasting on behalf of our nation. As an elected leader, I’m all too aware of government’s limitations when it comes to fixin things that are spiritual in nature. That’s where prayer comes in. And we need it more than ever, 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, and as God called the Israelites to do in the book of Joel.
Beyond urging Americans to flock to the Texas football stadium for a day of evangelical Christian festivities, he’s also reached out to other governors to join. The Washington Post notes that only Kan. Gov. Sam Brownback, a longtime Christian Right warrior, is apparently the only one, so far, to have accepted the invitation.
The Post article also notes that groups concerned about protecting the First Amendment principle that calls for a certain amount of separation between government and religion are trying to raise awareness of the governor’s religious endeavor, and the ideals it is promoting -- ones that are not inclusive of an increasingly diverse America.
The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State told The Post, “Governor Perry’s decision to sponsor a ‘Christians-only’ prayer rally is bad enough. That he turned to an array of intolerant religious extremists to put it on for him is even worse.”