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. RobertFTL

    Is god a cosmic cash machine now? I hate this trend of blurring the lines of church and state. Shame on Republicans for trying to use faith as a tool!

    June 7, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • LULU

      RobertFTL– Loved your comment! It made me think of an episode of the Simpson's where Homer kept praying to God asking him for ridiculous things like help him find the TV remote. Marge stepped in the room and told him "God is NOT some Holy Concierge!"

      June 7, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • Natalie N.

      The GOP clearly got the memo today instructing them to ramp up the "FEAR" card and spin their yarns.

      June 7, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
  2. mike d

    I understand that the majority of americans are christians, but what are muslims, hindus, jews supposed to think of this? The governor of texas saying the way to sort out this country is through my religion, not yours? That pesky church/state thing was put there for a reason.

    June 7, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  3. AndyG

    Quoting Sam Harris (on George W. Bush):

    "The president of the United States has claimed, on more than one occasion, to be in dialogue with God. If he said that he was talking to God through his hairdryer, this would precipitate a national emergency. I fail to see how the addition of a hairdryer makes the claim more ridiculous or offensive."

    June 7, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  4. Petey

    And you think the Afghani Taliban are weird. Right here in our own US backyards we have Palin, Perry & Co. As Mahatma Gandhi said, "I like your Christ. I don't like your Christians. They are so unlike Christ."

    June 7, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  5. JMR49

    Like Jesus would own a gun and vote republican...

    June 7, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  6. Bucky Ball

    My oh my.
    And here I thought today we would be discussing that Maryland Episcopal church that had "turned" ahh..Catholic. That's it.

    I was not aware that degree of stupidity was compatible with life.
    in a deep drawl....

    He has a perddy little head– for a head, it's perddy little.
    He has a strange growth on his neck– his head.
    He says he has a mahnd of his own. He's welcome to it– who else would want it?
    He's the world's greatest proof of reincarnation– no one could get that dumb in just one lifetime.
    He should study to be a bo-ne specialist – he has the head for it.
    He has one of those mighty mahnds – mighty empty.
    He has a one-track mind, and the traffic on it is very light.
    There are times he has something on his mind – he wears a hat occasionally.
    He bought a top-less bathing suit for his half-sister.
    A traffic judge asked him, "Have you ever been up before me?" And he said, "I don't know, what time do you get up?"
    Once he saw an old woman fall down, but didn't help her up. His mother warned him against having anything to do with fallen women.
    He's never bought Christmas seals –he didn't know what to feed them.
    He called it quits when his fourth child was born, because he read that every fifth child born is Chinese!
    He won't let his daughter go to college because he heard that the stu-dents have to show their professors their thesis.
    When a beggar asked him, "Do you have a quarter for a sandwich?" he said "Let's see the sandwich."
    He's so dumb, he thinks the Kentucky Derby is a hat.
    He's never slept with his wife. He says it isn't honorable to sleep with a married woman.
    He's so dumb, he thinks the English Channel is a British T.V. station.
    He's so dumb, he thinks the St. Louis Cardinals are appointed by the Pope.
    He lost his dog, but he won't put an ad in the newspaper. He says it's no use – his dog can't read.
    He still hasn't bought an electric toothbrush. He doesn't know if his teeth are AC or DC.
    He heard that a man gets hit by an automobile every twenty minutes. He said, "What a glutton for punishment, that guy!" 😈

    June 7, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  7. ART

    Dude stay out of the sun, are those lines on your face so we can tell your age? Silly Republicans fasting and praying ain't gonna help , you'll always be a loser

    June 7, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  8. Brannigan

    I need a moist towelette...

    June 7, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  9. Artist

    Is it me or does the guy in the photo look like your typical hollywo od Texas scu mbag lol

    June 7, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      He's just missing the 10-gallon hat.

      June 7, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • Ed

      I was thinking he looks like tele-evangelist

      June 7, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  10. JJ in CT

    I think this will really work!

    Governor Perry mentions financial debt as on of the reasons to get down on your knees and pray. With all the faithful travelling to Houston, staying in their hotels, eating at their restaurants, and maybe buying some cowboy hats while there, Houston should see an influx of money. Surely that will help Texas with some personal and tax revenue problems.

    Other state residents will be a bit lighter on cash, but that's their governors problem. If my governor shows up for this nonsense using my tax dollars, there will be a protest!!!

    When it comes to religion, just follow the money.....

    June 7, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • Big George in Big D

      JJ – you are a typical yankee fool! Texas is the ONLY state that created jobs during all the crises of your idiot democRATs in office and has the lowest unemployment rate (though its higher than usual for Texas). You poor yankee ba____ds don't have a freakin' clue@!

      June 7, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • JJ in CT

      Did you all pray for employment gains and low unempoyment? How about the prayer for that drought Perry called for in Texas?

      No, Texas was not the only state that created jobs, and it is also does not have the lowest rate of unemplyment. Type "unemployment statistics by state" in gooogle, and it will take you to the Department of Labor website.

      Facts, rather than ad hominem attacks, will make your point in a discussion. Google "ad hominem" while you're at it.

      June 7, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • texas pam

      JJ – George is a prime example of why Perry was elected – would rather believe what he's told by anyone with an "R" by his name than actually find out the facts. I'm 52 & things are worse here than they've ever been & with all the cutting Perry & our sorry legislature is doing, things won't get better anytime soon. They're cutting everything we need to improve our situation down here (education, small business, etc) so they can give more money to Perry's rich buddies who then take all the jobs elsewhere. Perry was bragging the other day about all the MacDonald's jobs that we gained...seriously....bragging.

      June 7, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
    • TommyTT

      Not sure why the Christian middle class lets the Republican party continue to pick their pockets. They have you guys actually believing they're on the same side as you!

      June 7, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
    • Soporifix

      In "Big George" you see the results of Texas's decimated education system.

      June 7, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
  11. Liann

    Has it occurred to the Red States that GOD hates their mean-spiritedness and their love of MAMMON? Has it occurred to them that the punishments don't stop until after the repentance and change of behaviors? Has it occurred to them that things can get a lot worse, and this isn't even a big fraction of how ugly they make things for themselves?

    June 7, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • John Richardson

      I'm going out on a limb here and am gonna say, no, it hasn't occurred to them. Anyone else?

      June 7, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      What about the Purple states?

      June 7, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  12. Artist

    And people wonder why some of us fear the schizophrenic American Taliban
    Bush Jr, "God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them."

    "This crusade, this war on terrorism is going to take a while."

    June 7, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • Mike

      "the Son of God, the Lamb who could open the Seven Seals." – David Koresh
      The problem is not the Bible or God it is people. If you are going to pass judgment on Christianity do it based on the doctrine otherwise you are being a bigot.
      Allow me to explain
      if I say I reject all Muslims because of what happen on 9/11?
      Or similarly I hate all blacks because Mike Tyson went to jail?
      Surely that would make your stomach turn.
      Judging an entire section of society not on the doctrines or beliefs but what a few have said or done is bigotry

      June 8, 2011 at 10:39 am |
  13. John Richardson

    Rev Gaddy rocks! And I plan to hold a feast on August 6th.

    June 7, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
  14. Bus2

    Oh good, they're trying to find solutions to our nation's problems, so they ask the voices in their heads for advice...

    June 7, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
  15. Artist

    Christian Taliban

    June 7, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • Dante

      Was the gov planning on blowing up a bunch of budda statues? Maybe put sacks on the women?

      June 7, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • texas pam

      No Dante – he's pretty busy blowing up the whole state right now after which, we'll all be wearing sacks.

      June 7, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
  16. Colin

    Did you know that in some parts of the World, the natives still believe that, if you close your eyes and think certain things, an invisible sky-god will read your mind and intervene to change the course of history for benefit of the locals. Isn't that quaint?

    Of course, we modern Americans would never believe anything so backwards and obviously superst.itious.

    June 7, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  17. batchoftruth

    Very reassuring that the world is run by deluded idiots like this!

    June 7, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Who are you complaing about? The Governor or the ppl that voted him in? All 2.7 million of them?

      June 7, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Maybe you should quit acting like a child and try being a little more mature for your mommy. 😉

      June 7, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • texas pam

      Lycidas – Not sure why you accused batchoftruth of being immature (except your own extreme immaturity) but truth hit the nail on the head. I'm 5th generation Texan & for the life of me, I can't figure out why Perry was elected Gov. except that soooo many of my fellow Texans have been brainwashed & will only vote for repubs simply because their lord & masters tell them that's what they should do. Anyone with a brain & eyes can see the ample evidence that he's a proudly ignorant, money-grubbing, faux-Christian who is running our great state into the ground. He's even turned a surplus into a huge deficit (sound familiar?). Since everything he says & does is EXACTLY OPPOSITE of what Jesus taught, he's the last person anyone should listen to about God!!!

      June 7, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • Lycidas

      texas pam- Actually...the second comment was made by someone else. Some think they are clever when using other ppl's usernames. Probably ppl I burned and they got offended.

      As for your state, it was a pretty close election. I would say that the opposition just couldn't bring a good enough argument for their guy. All they needed was roughly 600,000 more votes. Heck..only 1/5 of the state voted to begin with.

      June 7, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  18. Ed

    now this would be an example of state sponsored religion and should not be done. If the govenor wants to pray with follow believers thats fine but he should not be proclaiming a stste mandated day of prayer

    June 7, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Mandate? Wouldn't that assume no one can opt out? This is not a mandate. No one is being forced to fast or pray! No where did I read where this was state sponsored, either! Although I agree with Gaddy, Governors should pay there own way if they attend!

      June 7, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • Ed

      The govenor of the state said do it granted he did not say or else but the leader of the state sadi do it. It is therefore an officila request of the state and therfore sponsored byt he state. He is using his position as govenor to push a religious position. This act as a govenor goes against seperation of church and state, since he is using his office to express his faith. What he does as a private citizen is his right what he does a the state leader is done by the state

      June 7, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      So as long as he is the Governor, he cannot ask people to pray or fast? I disagree with you. This is no mandate!
      "This act as a govenor goes against seperation of church and state, since he is using his office to express his faith". Does Perry have to stop being a Christian because he is a governor? Does he have to now go undercover? I disagree with you and so would the first amendment!

      June 7, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • Ed

      no he does not have to "go undercover" or deny his faith. he can express he faith on a personal level. If he had said 'I am going to take this day to pray to God to ask him to help us I would like to invite all Texans of any faith to join me in their own way in their own faith" that would have been better although it would still leave out the non-believers. He said' let's have christian day of prayer in a christian way', so if a jewish, or muslim, or wiccan Texan wants to join in they have to do it a in a christian way or they aren't doing what he asked. This is the very essence of a state sponsored religion.

      The Govenot of the state said we of this state will pray as christians on this day it will be a state wide show of chirstian faith. It is a rtate sponsored event planned by the highest office of the state. Therefore it makes Texas a christian state since the state is sponsoreing the christian event.

      He didn't say I'm a veliver he is using his office to establish his faith and in the process trying to establish it as the official state religion

      June 7, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
    • JJ in CT

      Bottom line: Perry is using his office to push a sectarian agenda. He specifically uses Jesus as the one to call upon for help. What about those religions that don't believe in Jesus?

      Not to mention, he is using his paid time as Governor to prosletyze. Shouldn't he be working on these problems himself when using his time as Govornor for the people of Texas?

      If he wants to pray on his own time with his friends, that's fine. But he's not. He's using his political clout to endorse his own religion, thus making it state sponsored.

      June 7, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • Ed

      that was pretty much my point JJ thanks

      June 7, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • texas pam

      Steve – Perry is NOT a real Christian no matter what he calls himself. He would have to follow at least some of Christ's teachings to be a Christian but everything he does is opposite of what Jesus taught. Right now, here in Texas, his money-worship & government for the wealthy is leading to the further erosion of a horrible education system as well as cutting care to the elderly & disabled to the point that many will be pushed out on the streets – homeless & disabled or ill. Do you really think that Jesus would consider anyone who attacks children & the least among us to be true followers of His? If so, you really, really need to actually read the Bible...

      June 7, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      texas pam

      Steve – Perry is NOT a real Christian no matter what he calls himself. He would have to follow at least some of Christ's teachings to be a Christian but everything he does is opposite of what Jesus taught. Right now, here in Texas, his money-worship & government for the wealthy is leading to the further erosion of a horrible education system as well as cutting care to the elderly & disabled to the point that many will be pushed out on the streets – homeless & disabled or ill. Do you really think that Jesus would consider anyone who attacks children & the least among us to be true followers of His? If so, you really, really need to actually read the Bible
      Texas Pam,

      Where did I say Perry was or wasn't a real Christian? The conversation was about whether or not his call for fasting and prayer = government sponsorship! For your info I do really, really, really, actually read my Bible. I am just wondering though since you brough the subject of real christian up, te President is proposing to eliminate $500M from medicare/medicaid. This will hurt our seniors. Does that mean the President not a real christian either? Feel free to let me know!

      June 8, 2011 at 11:40 am |
  19. SeanNJ

    Talking to myself while letting my blood sugar drop isn't going to do a whit for our nation's challenges. Can we stop with this idiocy?

    June 7, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  20. HotAirAce

    Idiot! Let the lawsuits begin...

    June 7, 2011 at 3:24 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.