Rick Perry's Own Private Alamo
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 12:06:38 AM EST
No matter what they may call it, when conservative Christian evangelicals stage a prayer meeting/mass rally at a big stadium, if you're gay, you'd be advised to stay away. And that warning goes for Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and Atheists as well. Despite what organizers may publicly proclaim, these mass rallies praying for Jesus Christ's guidance through hard times, have a tendency to turn towards the dark side for those outside the faith.

And when the initiator of the event is a governor of a big state looking to make national headlines, the main sponsor of the event is the wholly un-cuddlesome and anti-gay American Family Association, branded a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and key organizers of the event are closely linked to TheCall, Lou Engle's unambiguously anti-gay organization, that's a prescription for a decidedly partisan, and, dare I say it, un-Christian gathering.

Welcome to Rick Perry's "The Response."

'The Response;' -- fasting and praying for America

The key figure spearheading "The Response" is Texas Governor Rick Perry. There is speculation that Perry is considering entering the Republican race for the presidency. He appears to be weighing whether he really wants to do all that it takes to get there; especially the part about subjecting himself and his family to broader media scrutiny.

By taking the lead role in organizing "The Response," Perry is getting all the headlines he may have envisioned, and a whole lot more. "Perry's Day of Fasting for Ballots" was The Austin Chronicle's headline of a Richard Whittaker piece about "The Response."

A recent report by the San Antonio Express-News found that while Perry talks the talk at prayer meetings and Christian right gatherings, he falls short when it comes to walking the walk.

According to the Associated Press, "The Perry family's income tax return shows Perry gave $90 to his church in 2007, a year in which he reported an income of more than $1 million. ... Tax records from 2000, when Perry became governor, through 2009 show he earned $2.68 million and gave $14,243 to churches and religious organizations, about a half percent, the newspaper reported. Perry reported no religious contributions in 2000 and 2009, according to his tax records" (http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/tx/7607420.html).

AP reported that "Perry declined an interview for the Express-News story, according to the newspaper. 'He never talks about his faith,' Perry spokesman Mark Miner said. However," AP pointed out, "he addresses faith often in public.

Nevertheless, according to numerous reports, Perry appears to be putting together a team of supporters, talking to potential funders, and sending out feelers to test the waters.

With the field wide open, it would not surprise anyone watching Republicans jockeying for position, that Perry might stand as good a chance as any of them - especially considering that a small number of conservative voters will have the pick of the litter.

As governor, Perry has made national headlines before; according to Think Progress, "while Texas was facing a historic drought and rash of wildfires, Gov. Perry extolled Texans to 'pray for rain,' as he tried to cut funding for the agency battling the wildfires." Perhaps even more memorable was when Perry seriously indicated that the state of Texas might consider seceding from the Union if the federal government kept up its intrusive ways.

Now, Perry is set to host "The Response" on August 6, an event characterized as "a day of prayer and fasting on behalf of our troubled nation." Perry has invited fellow governors to join him at Reliant Stadium in Houston. Thus far only Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has accepted his invitation.

The event, which is free but requires registration - a way to gather data on potential supporters -- has been described by Perry as an "apolitical Christian prayer service" to offer "spiritual solutions to many challenges we face in our communities, states and nation."

At the event's website (http://theresponseusa.com/) Perry's invitation letter to his "Fellow Americans" explains that, "As a nation, we must come together and call upon Jesus to guide us through unprecedented struggles, and than Him for the blessings of freedom we so richly enjoy."

The letter maintains that "Some problems are beyond our power to solve, and according to the Book of Joel, Chapter 2, this historic hour demands a historic response."

'The Response' dominated by the American Family Association

According to its website, "The Response is a non-denominal, apolitical Christian prayer meeting and has adopted the American Family Association statement of faith.
1.    We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.
2.    We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons:  Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
3.    We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.
4.    We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful people, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.
5.    We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
6.    We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost;  they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.

We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ."

It is worth noting that the American Family Association has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. SPLC calls the AFA "one of the most strident voices spreading malicious anti-LGBT propaganda."

'The Response' leadership team

The event's leadership team is made of time-tested right wing evangelical leaders: Perry, the initiator; Luis & Jill Cataldo, long time "partners in ministry" who are staff members at the Kansas City, Missouri-based International House of Prayer, are the Directors and Program Coordinators; Donald Wildmon, founder and Chairman Emeritus of the American Family Association; Buddy Smith, Executive Vice President of the AFA and American Family Radio, is in charge of accounting and legal matters; David Lane, who "educates and energizes pastors to mobilize their congregations to vote their faith," is Fundraising Director; Wayne Hamilton, "founding partner of San Jacinto Public Affairs" and former senior aide to Congressman Joe Barton, is the Event Coordinator; Randy & Kelsey Bohlender, who "serve as prayer missionaries with the International House of Prayer and on the leadership team of TheCall," are Program Coordinators; Doug Stringer, Founder and President of Turning Point Ministries International and Somebody Cares America/International, is the National; Church and Ministry Mobilization Coordinator; Jim Garlow, "author, communicator, commentator, historian, cultural observer and Senior Pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, CA," is involved with National Church Mobilization; Alice Patterson, "the founder of Justice at the Gate in San Antonio, Texas and author of Bridging the Racial and Political Divide, is charged with mobilizing churches in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma; Dave Silker, "a senior leader at the International House of Prayer Missions Base," a board member of TheCall with Lou Engle, and "director of the Elijah Revolution, a national conference and equipping ministry for teenagers," is in charge of mobilizing students; Congressman Bob McEwen, an Ohio legislator is head of Governmental Leader Mobilization; Laura Allred, who "founded 'Captured' in 2004, a ministry for young women, by young women, and [who] ... launched the Back to Life Movement, a pro-life movement fashioned to amplify the young minority female voice," is also working to mobilize students.

The Dallas Voice reported that David Lane "played a major role in last year's recall of three Iowa state Supreme Court justices who ruled in favor of [marriage] equality," according to the Human Rights Campaign. "HRC also says the Day of Prayer involves leaders associated with the International House of Prayer and Lou Engle's TheCall, which 'played an active role in supporting anti-gay sentiment in Uganda, where legislation under potential consideration would make homosexuality a crime punishable by death in some circumstances.'"

The HRC also pointed out that earlier this month, Jim Garlow "claimed efforts to advance marriage equality would destroy families in the same way as families who lost a parent on September 11."

Needless to say, the upcoming event has drawn strong criticism "from advocates for the separation of church and state, who say an elected official should not be leading an evangelical Christian revival," the New York Times recently reported. "Gay rights groups are also objecting" to the event since its primary sponsor, the American Family Association, along with other participating conservative Christian groups, "not only oppose gay marriage but also stridently condemn homosexuality."

The New York Times also pointed out that "While the day of prayer will undoubtedly please many evangelicals - a powerful bloc in the Republican Party - it has provoked criticism from other quarters, particularly because of its explicit evangelical Christian theme, which sets it apart from National Prayer Days and other events that normally include all faiths."

According to a People for the American Way press release, a spokesperson for Gov. Perry told the American Family Association's American Family Radio that the event's goal was to of encourage non-Christians to "seek out the living Christ."

"Response" spokesman Eric Bearse, a former director of communications for Perry, told AFR: "A lot of people want to criticize what we're doing, as if we're somehow being exclusive of other faiths. But anyone who comes to this solemn assembly regardless of their faith tradition or background, will feel the love, grace, and warmth of Jesus Christ in that assembly hall, in that arena. And that's what we want to convey, that there's acceptance and that there's love and that there's hope if people will seek out the living Christ. And that's the message we want to spread on August 6th."


WWW Talk To Action

Cognitive Dissonance & Dominionism Denial
There is new research on why people are averse to hearing or learning about the views of ideological opponents. Based on evaluation of five......
By Frederick Clarkson (329 comments)
Will the Air Force Do Anything To Rein In Its Dynamic Duo of Gay-Bashing, Misogynistic Bloggers?
"I always get nervous when I see female pastors/chaplains. Here is why everyone should as well: "First, women are not called to be pastors,......
By Chris Rodda (173 comments)
The Legacy of Big Oil
The media is ablaze with the upcoming publication of David Grann's book, Killers of the Flower Moon. The shocking non fiction account of the......
By wilkyjr (97 comments)
Gimme That Old Time Dominionism Denial
Over the years, I have written a great deal here and in other venues about the explicitly theocratic movement called dominionism -- which has......
By Frederick Clarkson (93 comments)
History Advisor to Members of Congress Completely Twists Jefferson's Words to Support Muslim Ban
Pseudo-historian David Barton, best known for his misquoting of our country's founders to promote the notion that America was founded as a Christian nation,......
By Chris Rodda (105 comments)
"Christian Fighter Pilot" Calls First Lesbian Air Force Academy Commandant a Liar
In a new post on his "Christian Fighter Pilot" blog titled "BGen Kristin Goodwin and the USAFA Honor Code," Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan......
By Chris Rodda (127 comments)
Catholic Right Leader Unapologetic about Call for 'Death to Liberal Professors' -- UPDATED
Today, Donald Trump appointed C-FAM Executive Vice President Lisa Correnti to the US Delegation To UN Commission On Status Of Women. (C-FAM is a......
By Frederick Clarkson (112 comments)
Controlling Information
     Yesterday I listened to Russ Limbaugh.  Rush advised listeners it would be best that they not listen to CNN,MSNBC, ABC, CBS and......
By wilkyjr (77 comments)
Is Bannon Fifth-Columning the Pope?
In December 2016 I wrote about how White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who likes to flash his Catholic credentials when it comes to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (225 comments)
Ross Douthat's Hackery on the Seemingly Incongruous Alliance of Bannon & Burke
Conservative Catholic writer Ross Douthat has dissembled again. This time, in a February 15, 2017 New York Times op-ed titled The Trump Era's Catholic......
By Frank Cocozzelli (55 comments)
`So-Called Patriots' Attack The Rule Of Law
Every so often, right-wing commentator Pat Buchanan lurches out of the far-right fever swamp where he has resided for the past 50 years to......
By Rob Boston (153 comments)
Bad Faith from Focus on the Family
Here is one from the archives, Feb 12, 2011, that serves as a reminder of how deeply disingenuous people can be. Appeals to seek......
By Frederick Clarkson (173 comments)
The Legacy of George Wallace
"One need not accept any of those views to agree that they had appealed to real concerns of real people, not to mindless, unreasoning......
By wilkyjr (51 comments)
Betsy DeVos's Mudsill View of Public Education
My Talk to Action colleague Rachel Tabachnick has been doing yeoman's work in explaining Betsy DeVos's long-term strategy for decimating universal public education. If......
By Frank Cocozzelli (52 comments)
Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
This post from 2011 surfaces important information about President-Elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. -- FC Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy......
By Rachel Tabachnick (210 comments)

Respect for Others? or Political Correctness?
The term "political correctness" as used by Conservatives and Republicans has often puzzled me: what exactly do they mean by it? After reading Chip Berlin's piece here-- http://www.talk2action.org/story/2016/7/21/04356/9417 I thought about what he explained......
MTOLincoln (238 comments)
What I'm feeling now is fear.  I swear that it seems my nightmares are coming true with this new "president".  I'm also frustrated because so many people are not connecting all the dots! I've......
ArchaeoBob (86 comments)
"America - love it or LEAVE!"
I've been hearing that and similar sentiments fairly frequently in the last few days - far FAR more often than ever before.  Hearing about "consequences for burning the flag (actions) from Trump is chilling!......
ArchaeoBob (170 comments)
"Faked!" Meme
Keep your eyes and ears open for a possible move to try to discredit the people openly opposing Trump and the bigots, especially people who have experienced terrorism from the "Right"  (Christian Terrorism is......
ArchaeoBob (143 comments)
More aggressive proselytizing
My wife told me today of an experience she had this last week, where she was proselytized by a McDonald's employee while in the store. ......
ArchaeoBob (140 comments)
See if you recognize names on this list
This comes from the local newspaper, which was conservative before and took a hard right turn after it was sold. Hint: Sarah Palin's name is on it!  (It's also connected to Trump.) ......
ArchaeoBob (143 comments)
Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (142 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (123 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (185 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (142 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (82 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (188 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (77 comments)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (107 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (104 comments)

More Diaries...

All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.