Be careful who you pray with

From the “Lie down with dogs” department:

Gov. Rick Perry, who has made economic populism the cornerstone of his political ambition in Texas, has jumped headfirst into America’s culture war as he ponders whether to run for president of the United States.

Perry has asked one of the nation’s leading anti-gay groups, the American Family Association, to sponsor a “Day of Prayer and Fasting” in Houston later this summer. It’s billed as an “apolitical Christian prayer meeting,” but on Tuesday the event drew heated rebukes from the Anti-Defamation League, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Sparking the controversy are the group’s views on Christianity, its staunchly anti-gay platform and the inflammatory statements of one its executives, Bryan Fischer. In an interview with The Texas Tribune on Tuesday, AFA president Tim Wildmon said Jews, Muslims, atheists or any other non-Christian would “go to hell” unless they accepted Jesus Christ as their savior. Wildmon’s father, Don, who famously took on iconic television programs like Three’s Company for promoting what he saw as an immoral lifestyle, is listed as one of the event’s chief organizers.

Perry spokesman Mark Miner said the governor had been planning the event since December and was comfortable with the Tupelo, Miss.-based AFA as a host of the social conservative extravaganza. AFA is picking up the tab for the event, including the rental of Reliant Stadium in Houston, home to the NFL’s Houston Texans.


Former Perry speechwriter Eric Bearse is the chief spokesman for the event, which is being dubbed “The Response.” Asked about the “hate group” label from the Southern Poverty Law Center, Bearse said, “I think there are certain groups with a very secular agenda that spend a lot of time demonizing organizations that have Biblical leanings or seek to implement biblical principles.”

Bearse said neither Fischer’s writings nor any controversy surrounding the group were relevant to the event, whose mission is to get Americans to pray for God’s help at a time of overwhelming economic and social challenges. Bearse said people of all faiths are invited to attend.

But Wildmon, AFA’s president, stressed the Christian nature of the event and said people of other religions were “free to have their own events.” He insisted his group did not hate anyone, but he said that people who do not embrace Christianity were headed for eternal damnation.

“It’s not just Jews or Muslims,” Wildmon said. “It’s anybody that rejects the free gift of salvation through Christ. The Bible teaches there’s heaven and hell. Those who believe go to heaven. Those who don’t go to hell.”

I think that pretty much speaks for itself. Perhaps the national media could take a few minutes of the time it spends buzzing about whether or not Rick Perry is a candidate for President to ask him if he agrees with that sentiment. Might be nice to know, don’t you think? Apparently some of his Republican brethren are a bit squeamish about all this – according to Jason Embry, some of Perry’s fellow Republican Governors will not be attending his Pray-a-Paolooza. I wonder why.

This has always been my view.

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

I think Jesus might have been on to something there.

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3 Responses to Be careful who you pray with

  1. Gary Bennett says:

    “Gov. Rick Perry, who has made economic populism the cornerstone of his political ambition in Texas”

    It drives me nuts to hear the word “populism” used in this way, apparently as some sort of synonym for demagoguery. Populism was a political movement of the late 19th and early 20th century that radically transformed first the Democratic Party, then the nation, by pushing for and ultimately passing the following political reforms: trust-busting; progressive income tax; direct election of US Senators; votes for women; government control and expansion of the currency; regulation of banking and inter-state commerce; the eight-hour day; rights of labor to unionize and bargain; referendum & recall; anti-imperialism; international collaboration and arbitration; and (less fortunately) temperance. Since I cannot see ANY of those policies in Perry’s portfolio, the attribution is nonsense. The equation of populism with all things ignorant and mob-oriented is part of the general disdain on the part of the political elite for anything which comes up from the people, rather than down from the enlightened rulers.

  2. Matt says:

    “[W]hen you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret.”

    Who said this anyway? Is he some sort of anti-Christian? Probably a Communist or something who believes rich people should give their money away.


  3. Pingback: More pushback on Perry’s choice of prayer partner – Off the Kuff

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