Texas governor convenes day of prayer and fasting
June 7th, 2011
03:16 PM ET

Texas governor convenes day of prayer and fasting

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN)– On August 6, Texas Gov. Rick Perry wants you to drop the Texas BBQ, grab a moist towelette and fold your hands to pray. On Monday, Perry  declared the date a “day of prayer and fasting for our nation’s challenges.”

"America is in crisis, " the Republican governor says on a website promoting the event. "We have been besieged by financial debt terrorism, and a multitude of natural disasters."

Perry invited the 49 other governors in the U.S. to issue similar proclamations, “encouraging their constituents to pray that day for unity and righteousness for our states, nation and mankind.” He wants other governors to join him at Houston's Reliant Stadium, home to the NFL’s Houston Texans, for an August 6 event called The Response, organized by a conservative Christian group.

The Response is billed as a “non-denominational, apolitical, Christian prayer meeting," hosted by the American Family Association.

Its website features a welcome message from Perry, who is listed as the event’s “initiator”:

As a nation, we must come together and call upon Jesus to guide us through unprecedented struggles, and thank Him for the blessings of freedom we so richly enjoy.

Some problems are beyond our power to solve, and according to the Book of Joel, Chapter 2, this historic hour demands a historic response. Therefore, on August 6, thousands will gather to pray for a historic breakthrough for our country and a renewed sense of moral purpose.

Perry's role in the event has drawn the ire of some who say he's blurring the line between church and state established in the U.S. Constitution.

"Here we go again,” Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy said. "Here is another politician who even if sincere in the invitation is suggesting that prayer is a public political tool for accomplishing his purposes, his purposes he favors for an agenda for the nation. You don't have to travel from New Jersey to Houston to pray. If you're serious about praying usually that's done most authentically and most persistently alone."

Gaddy, a Baptist minister in Louisiana, is also concerned if governors travel in from other states it will be billed to taxpayers: "We would expect them if they're going there to engage in non-partisan personal prayer, that they don't need their state government to write the check for going."

Perry has been thinking about running for president and several state Republican Party chairpeople have said they'd like him to mount a campaign. If a number of governors showed up at his August event, it could further raise Perry's profile.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback plans on attending The Response and has sent in his RSVP already a Perry spokeswoman said.  Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal hopes to go according to published reports. Both men are  Republicans who are outspoken about their Christian faith.

But the list of “no thank yous” from governors also seems to be growing.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, also got an invitation from Perry. But Christie Press Secretary Michael Drewniak said, “The governor does not plan to attend.”

Christie gets hundreds if not thousands of invitations every month, Drewniak told CNN. And as for Governor Christie issuing a similar statewide proclamation, Drewniak said nothing was planned but added, “I don’t know about a personal plan the governor may have to pray.”

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder will not be making the trip to Texas, either. His spokesman told the Detroit News that Gov Snyder supports religious events like the National Day of Prayer, but his schedule was "extremely busy."

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, another Republican who is outspoken about his faith, got the invitation from Perry but is undecided.  His spokesman Jeff Caldwell told CNN it will depend on his schedule if he can attend if he does go, he will likely use private funds to attend.

Perry's office said while Brownback is the only confirmed governor guest so far, three other governors have said they will issue similar proclamations for August 6th.  Governor Rick Scott of Florida, Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina, and Governor Chris Gregoire of Washington have all signed on.  Haley and Scott, like Perry, are Republicans and Gregoire is a Democrat.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Baptist • Belief • Christianity • Church and state

soundoff (486 Responses)
  1. Sin

    Great idea! Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll be updating the post text and be sure to include it up there, thanks.

    May 11, 2012 at 4:03 am |
  2. Debbie

    I know that there are alot of bigoted and biased people on both sides of the spectrum (Christian and non-Christian). Your first sentence shows that, when you said that Perry is doing it for political gain. I don't think you know that for sure, but you say it. Is that not judging him? We should allow people to live the way they feel is right without fear of condemnation and name calling. As I said, God knows the heart, if it is sincere or for gainful purposes. Besides prayer is a good thing – it is my hope that you will benefit from it (not trying to be righteous) just a good human being.

    August 9, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
  3. Debbie

    I can't help but think that if Muslims were calling for a day of prayer and fasting in this way, that would be fine and no one would say anything about it, but mention the name Jesus or say Christian and everyone has something negative to say. If you don't want to hear it or see it, stay away. I don't beleive that anyone is holding a gun to your head or twisting your arms. I know nothing about Perry and his politics but God knows the heart so please let us Christians be free to worship as we please – it is our right.

    August 8, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • Nonimus

      I think most of the people that are upset with this are upset because Perry is using his political position and influence to support and promote a religious event. If a Muslim Governor or Congressperson did this I think many of the same people would be just as upset, although, I'm guessing, that they would be drowned out by the protests and righteous indignation shown by those who feel that the US is or should be a "Christian nation".

      August 8, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  4. Helene Buskin

    I wish that all the states would be spending the day in fasting and prayer. Bravo Gov. Perry! This country is under judgment from God and will see many more disasters if we do not return to the God of our fathers and repent of our sins as a nation and individuals. 2Chronicles: 7:14 "If my people which are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wiked ways; the I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sins and heal their land."

    August 6, 2011 at 11:57 am |
  5. George

    LOL, gotta love their theology. Either their deity selected this creation out of an infinite number of possible creations, knowing everything that would happen, before the creation. Or, their deity is just making it up as it goes along. In the first case praying and fasting is useless, in the second case you have capricious ego centered deity that needs to be constantly stroked and begged. For me, neither is very appealing.

    July 16, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • Jason

      Jesus said he would protect us from evil men and hypocrits, Thor said he would protect us from frost giants. (looks around sees no frost giants) HAIL THOR , Son of the God of Gods, Hail Wotan the all father!

      August 4, 2011 at 3:21 am |
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    July 8, 2011 at 2:36 am |
  7. KingdomCome

    If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."

    (2 Chronicles 7:14)

    June 9, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
    • ReneB

      That's what I'm talking about!!!! 😀

      July 6, 2011 at 9:47 am |
  8. Bookkeeper

    The Gospel according to Mathew

    5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.
    6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
    7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
    8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

    June 9, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
    • hank

      He is not interested in the gospel. He is running for president. People love to see politicians posture. Praying at home is too boring and will not get you any votes

      June 11, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • sylvia

      Isn't that the truth? Less said the better.

      August 6, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  9. James Black


    June 9, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • ReneB

      You might be right HANK.. but let God be the judge.. let it be our job to pray and fast for our nation.

      July 6, 2011 at 9:49 am |
  10. Slash

    Last time I checked, this country is secular. Having political leaders try to influence other political leaders with religious babble is not acceptable.

    Flashing your junk on the internet: "resign immediately!".
    Trying to spread religious extremism: "this is a good man".

    June 9, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • ReneB


      Last time I checked we are all humans, and totally dependent on God. That's a very nobel thing to do.

      July 6, 2011 at 9:52 am |
    • Lisa

      Last time I checked, we were a nation formed "under God."


      July 22, 2011 at 2:21 am |
    • sylvia

      You really would not want to call Perry a "man". He's an egomaniac with many, many problems. He was stopped by a highway patrolman once, (this was on the news) for speeding, and he had the gall to tell him "Do you know who I am"? Like he's somebody. almost 1/2 of the Texans here did NOT vote for this evil idiot. This too shall pass. I hope. He makes me sick when I see him on television. Evangelicals, keep it in your church; I don't want to see or hear you any more. You make me sick.

      August 6, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.