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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. David Sensible

    there is no magical man in the sky – you bear responsibility for this world, start acting like it

    June 8, 2011 at 1:51 am |
  2. American Citizen

    This “day of prayer and fasting” is nothing but a nasty and ruthless anti-American assault on the fastest growing sector of Americans, those who do not believe in the same religious beliefs as right-wing(nut) christians, and it should be illegal.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:41 am |
    • Free Thinker Seeking Reason

      Exactly!!

      Lunatic politicians like this who want the government to coerce us into praying to their sky fairies and invisible pretend friends should be thrown out of office and referred to the nearest psychiatric facility. Stories like this are thoroughly disgusting and a complete insult to every secular American's intelligence.

      These theocrats can take their bronze age mythology and shove it.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:23 am |
  3. Jay Sosnicki

    DISGUSTING. can we please all keep our personal spiritual beliefs to ourselves? tacky, obvious publicity stunt to stoke the flames of the conservative wingnut fringe.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:40 am |
  4. Vogue-vogue-vogue

    He looks like an old woman who is secretly wearing a toupee. I mean, really. His hair looks totally fake.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:36 am |
  5. jonthes

    This dangerous stupidity must end. Let's not let Texas secede, expel the state. I assume after this ceremony that human sacrifices will be made on the electric chair altar and then a BBQ will follow. Whatever it is that is afflicting Texas, Arizona and Louisiana and the politicians they are throwing up, they need to be quarantined. Vile.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:32 am |
  6. Steve

    Too bad it has to be exclusively Christian. It'd make so much more sense to make it a completely nonreligious event if the governor really intends on the day's theme being "unity and righteousness for our states, nation and mankind"!

    June 8, 2011 at 1:20 am |
  7. Goliath

    The day of prayer is a joke, this guy is a joke. Does he really think Jesus is going to come down from heaven and bail out the fat rich white guys who put this country into its current mess? Of course not. If Jesus eve exists, and thats a big IF, he is probably laughing right now at the sheer stupidity of the human race.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:19 am |
  8. watergirl

    Yea, Perry pray for our schools that you don't think are important to fund. Pray for teachers as they have to take pay cuts, pay more for health care and teach larger classes. Pray for the children whose education will suffer with school programs being cut. When Texas schools get worse and worse we will know who to thank for it.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:18 am |
  9. 4mercy

    Geez, people. He's asking for a day of prayer. If everyone wants to pray (j ews, mus lims, etc., let them join and pray.)... Wouldn't you all be surprised if a huge number of people got together to pray and some amazing things actually happened as a result down the road?! What are you afraid of?! People might actually begin living moral lives? No more a bortion? No more p orn? No more d rugs? God help us.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:17 am |
    • wow

      the thing is, people praying is NOT going to affect anything. religioulous people have honestly tried "prayer experiments". nothing happened. they just use the ambiguous definition of "god" and "religion" to say things like "This is god just making it harder for us!" how about the government sits down and actually thinks of concrete solutions applicable to the real world?

      June 8, 2011 at 1:41 am |
    • AxeMan

      You can't even make it rain. Your prayers are pointed at nothing. All you get is your own emotional feedback. Buy a lottery ticket instead. Why not flap your arms and fly? Won't God help you fly? Why not? Aren't you worthy of flying? Yet you can get on an airplane. Is that a sin? God doesn't want you to fly using your arms. He gave you no feathers but you at least have a brain the size of a walnut. Become a dinosaur.
      Oh, wait, God hates dinosaurs too. Okay scratch that.
      I know! Ask got to give you an idea that will actually work to help everyone!
      Or you could just try thinking a little harder and see if there's anything you could pray for that you could actually expect your God to do for you. Like nothing. or normal things that are going to happen anyway.
      Nah, better try the dinosaur thing.

      June 8, 2011 at 1:46 am |
  10. Busted2010

    I wonder if you have to a wear costume? I would go as Harry Potter.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:12 am |
  11. bob

    bone head ....in Texas, when a Govenor gets too embarrasing, we send them to Washington to get them out of the state...can't imagine what the taxpayers cost is for his hairdresser...he's already betrayed the border counties on immigration because his biggest financial supporter is home builder Bob Perry (head of the illegal immigrant construction labor cartel).....old expression .."talks out of both sides of his mouth".

    June 8, 2011 at 1:07 am |
    • Vivek Chaudhary

      I am not from Texas but I admire them. They must be doing something right. Their housing prices were never affected, they have the best job situation despite having no sales tax, their two schools were rated top two of the best schools in the country. Go governor go. We need to bring God back to get some sanity. The only reason people resent God is because they think they have to be accountable to someone and there is huge guilt that goes around good people.

      We have been messing up with our country for last 50/60 years. Supreme court and justice system has taken over us. Its time to say enough is enough. We will stand up for God. God bless America.

      June 8, 2011 at 1:24 am |
  12. steve in Hawaii

    Seems to me Rick Perry ought to be asking his higher power for forgiveness for not staying the execution of an innocent man, and abolishing the committee created to investigate the case, which was headed toward exoneration. Screw leading other people in praye, Rick, you need to concentrate on yourself. Put on you Happy Face , Mr Self-righteous, but your judgment day will come. (but it amazes me that the American people let such things slide) I'm happy that God won't.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:01 am |
  13. art

    Are all handsome men like beautiful women? STUPID ?

    June 8, 2011 at 12:57 am |
  14. Steven

    This makes me hate christians even more. Why are we always subjected to this crap? So sick of religion....

    June 8, 2011 at 12:47 am |
  15. mike

    I love when Christian events call themselves non-denominational. It's a nice way of saying, we don't want to offend anyone...unless they're not Christian. Now that's diversity!

    http://punditsquares.blogspot.com/

    June 8, 2011 at 12:46 am |
    • Wzrd1

      Almost, but not quite.
      Non-denominational means Christians are welcome, of any variety of faith, but other religions are not welcome.
      It's also the most blatant violation of the first amendment in recorded history. The only way that he could violate it worse would be to issue a declaration that Christianity is the official state religion and no others are allowed in the state.
      He should be impeached.

      June 8, 2011 at 12:50 am |
  16. Joe

    I can't think of a bigger waste of time than this.

    At least when Obama golfs he talks to people who actually exist.

    June 8, 2011 at 12:42 am |
    • Vivek Chaudhary

      If you have had personal experience with God, you wouldn't such an ignorant comment.

      June 8, 2011 at 1:26 am |
    • jonthes

      Vivek – Move to that hell hole and close the border after you. Insanity.

      June 8, 2011 at 1:37 am |
  17. iammr2

    I used to like Rick Perry but now it seems that he cannot keep HIS religion out ofMY government. This issue is important enough that he has permanently lost my vote for any office.

    June 8, 2011 at 12:42 am |
  18. cwhart

    Texas is a bottomless pit of stupidity.

    June 8, 2011 at 12:41 am |
    • M

      cwhart...I'm glad you're not a Texan. You're ignorant! Why are so many people moving here from other states? Maybe because our economy is holding up better than some states. Leave our Governor alone. Shut your hater trap & keep it to yourself. You're just jealous you can't live here. God Bless Texas!

      June 8, 2011 at 1:38 am |
    • Commandrea

      Right. Perry, keep praying for your selfish 'needs'. Then when Jesus doesn't come sliding down the chimney, cut more funds for our public schools, you f-k-n-g p-r-i-c-k.

      June 8, 2011 at 1:56 am |
  19. MizFurball in Oregon

    @Woody: Love your comment. Here we go again with a politician who never heard of separation of church and state. And only Christians are invited. What about Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, etc. This governor makes me want to spit up.

    June 8, 2011 at 12:32 am |
    • Woody

      Thanks, but I can't take credit for being the author. I read it somewhere years ago. It's one of my favorites. One of my other favorites is a quote from Voltaire; "Religion began when the first scoundrel met the first fool". Somehow, the definitions of "scoundrel" and "fools" would seem apropos in the Texas situation.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:23 am |
  20. Paul Lambert

    Listen everyone, Rick Perry is in an secret Society called the Stickas and has a secret agenda. He is out for no good!!!!!

    June 8, 2011 at 12:30 am |
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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.