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. Marie Kidman


    June 8, 2011 at 7:37 am |
  2. sean burns

    Maybe those yahoos should try sacrificing their oldest son, like Abraham was going to do. Or burning a dead animal and hoping angry god approves of their offering.

    June 8, 2011 at 6:53 am |
  3. Colin

    "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." Sam Harris.

    June 8, 2011 at 4:44 am |
  4. Blaise Pascal

    "backwards" is not possessive. Perry has been elected to three terms in Texas and is generally well liked. If you have such fervent animosity, it is you who is out of touch with Texas. Why don't you slink over to California and you can pray to mother sky with Moonbeam. We won't miss you.

    June 8, 2011 at 4:37 am |
    • Colin

      That's right! Anybody who does not believe in a hokey sky-fairy, based on the Iron Ae myths invented in a Palestinian slum is cleary out of touc with 21st Century Texas!!

      June 8, 2011 at 4:41 am |
  5. Me

    "non-denominational, apolitical, Christian prayer meeting"

    I cannot LOL enough at the amount of contradiction in this sentence alone.

    June 8, 2011 at 4:30 am |
  6. Sir Craig

    Yeah, because prayer has SUCH a successful track record. It seems Matthew 6:6 is quite possibly the most ignored biblical passage for these people.

    June 8, 2011 at 4:12 am |
    • Blaise Pascal

      So what's your point? Prayer doesn't work, or should be done alone? As to the latter point, Matthew 18:19 and Luke 1:10.

      June 8, 2011 at 4:32 am |
    • Colin

      Prayer is utterly useless, irrespective of the the god, ghost or goblin one prays to.

      June 8, 2011 at 4:36 am |
  7. Tia

    How about instead of a day of abstaining from food, you have a day where the government abstains from spending money?

    June 8, 2011 at 4:06 am |
    • Steve (the real one)


      June 8, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
  8. GaryGuitar

    I have been fasting my whole life. Right after I eat, until I get hungry again. Does that count, Governor?

    June 8, 2011 at 3:57 am |
  9. Dave

    If only religion made Republicans good people. You mock the red words with your selfish ideology.

    June 8, 2011 at 3:47 am |
  10. Golyadkin

    Talking to a non-existent magical sky being and not eating are not acceptable strategies for fixing the nation's problems.
    But really, with is what we've come to expect here in Texas: Rick Perry doing pretty much anything except actual work that could fix any of the state's or country's problems.

    June 8, 2011 at 3:23 am |
  11. jack100

    its always very nice to pray to go through the down time while you do that ask every one to respect the others
    beliefs ,we cant neal in front of the king in the same time we showing no respect to his massengers,
    i like more if its aday of solidarity and recognization to the others who not we share any things with them except
    this land and the flying flag on it, burning the quraan in florida make fun of prophet in south park not going to serv any one
    its to me same smilar mind sets to the people who threating the peacfull life of the christians in iraq thats where i coming from ,we are very close to be diffrent but not the diffrent to be close

    June 8, 2011 at 3:02 am |
  12. KennethC

    Praying away the gay, eh, Gov?

    June 8, 2011 at 2:43 am |
    • dgk

      Tell 'em, Kenneth! Cuz that's what Jesus would do, he'd have all his followers hate on the gays...

      June 8, 2011 at 2:48 am |
    • Blaise Pascal

      hate the sin, not the sinner

      June 8, 2011 at 4:41 am |
  13. Franklin

    He calls upon Jesus, but he supported the war in Iraq. Jesus said, "Love your enemies."

    June 8, 2011 at 2:32 am |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Jesus also said there would be wars and rumors of wars! Without a war there would be no US!

      June 8, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
  14. James

    I wonder if it is only unintentional and ironic that he chose the anniversary of the greatest single human atrocity ever committed for this national day of grovelling and pennance? Considering the typically ignorant profile of the religious mind, there's a good chance that such is the case but you can never be sure whether a politician's faith is genuine ignorance or disingenuous opportunism. In either case, they are unsuited to make prudent, intelligent choices in the public interest and an educated electorate is the only protection against people like this making choices on our behalf. Praying won't help fix national problems any more than it will help amputees to grow back limbs. Getting rid of ignorant and corrupt politicians would be a very good start but I'm more optimistic about amputees growing back severed limbs..

    June 8, 2011 at 2:28 am |
  15. Are you kidding me ?

    I live in Texas and I can say with certainty that Rick Perry is a horrible Governor and person ! I am so sick and tired of his act ! Thank goodness this is his last term ! Everything this guy does is for show ! The only reason he has lasted this long is because this state is crawling with backward's republicans , especially in the more rural areas !

    June 8, 2011 at 2:22 am |
    • GaryGuitar

      Well said. I too live in Texas and find Perry absolutely repulsive. He is the height of arrogance and supported by the majority we have in Texas of non-thinker, religious right-wingers who would have all of us be devout christians, or die by the roadside if not on board with it all.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:42 am |
  16. The Remenant

    Just looking at some of the replies to this article just reveals the moral depravity and state of malady, proving how important prayer is to this nation and world. Prayer is our conduit in which we communicate with God and God's desire is to commune with us. The problem is God detest sin and through a sincere and fervent relationship with God, sin is exposed and we must deal with it. We wonder why our economy is state of entropy, continuing a trend of deterioration, that is, if we don't HUMBLE OURSELVES TO PRAY. II Chronicles 7:14 states "If my people who are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray and seek God's face and turn from their wicked ways, The will hear from heaven, will forgive their sins and will heal their land. Prayer with God is the only solution to this enigmatic issue we face today. Prayer was the solution in the beginning of time and will still be applicable in times to come.

    Governor Perry I commend you and stay strong and God.

    June 8, 2011 at 2:20 am |
    • DAISHI

      He should attend a similar gathering of Muslims.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:31 am |
    • dgk

      whatever, lesbian!

      June 8, 2011 at 2:49 am |
    • James

      Like the 41 Christians slaughtered at evening mass in Baghdad last November? or how about the 24 killed in a Nepalese church collapse? What about the 3 killed in church during the Joplin tornado? If that is God's idea of rewarding piety, I'll take my chances with my heathen efforts at being a good person to real human beings rather than grovelling to the adult version of Santa. Governor Perry and you my friend would do well to let the grown-ups make the decisions.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:07 am |
    • GaryGuitar

      Bottom line, religion is not your solution, it is your problem.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:52 am |
    • Sir Craig

      I'll see your II Chronicles 7:14 and counter it with Matthew 6:6 (KJV): "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."

      June 8, 2011 at 4:16 am |
    • VT Citizen

      You can pray to god if you want, but she would rather you just do something more useful.

      June 8, 2011 at 4:32 am |
  17. Thomas A Martinet

    As an Atheist, I am apalled! Spend the time finding real solutions, rather than hokey pokey!!!!

    June 8, 2011 at 2:13 am |
    • Dave

      Athiests aren't any better than Christians. You both claim to know the answer and neither have a clue for certain. The only true position is "We don't know." Moreover, you never will know and you'll never be able to share the experience of being dead once you are.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:55 am |
  18. Jim Johnson

    I wonder if Rick "I'm Seceding" Perry is planing to prey before or after he announces his states secession, or maybe it will be during his prayer. Well Ricky boy, pray real hard for all those lives lost in the Iraq war, a war your president and your state oil companies pushed to get us involved in. Pray real hard Ricky boy, for the 1.2 Trillion that this unnecessary and unfunded war cost American taxpayers. Pray real hard Ricky boy, that the 49 other states don't find out the truth on how the state of Texa*s received the greatest amount of federal monies, more than any other state during the eight Bush years. Pray real real hard Ricky boy, that no one gets the scoop on how your state of Texa*s is gating four new house seats based on the 2010 census and thanks to your states counting of millions of illegal aliens as residents.

    June 8, 2011 at 2:07 am |
    • Are you kidding me ?

      I'm from the state and we gave the Governor a big fat middle finger when he was talking that non-sense !

      June 8, 2011 at 2:25 am |
  19. Dan B

    Please join this Texas expatriate Monday in observing a day of gluttony, vulgarity, and (just for good measure) drunkeness, all in honor of the self-serving self-righteousness of Gov. Goodhair Perry.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:59 am |
  20. jdoe

    No big deal. They fast in the Middle East too.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:59 am |
    • James

      Good point! Yes the Muslims spend an entire lunar month of daylight fasting each year and pray five times per day. That seems to be doing wonders for Arab prosperity; particularly in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:12 am |
    • Blaise Pascal

      @ James–but employing the Obama administration's rationalization of the bailouts: just think how much worse off they would be if they didn't fast.

      June 8, 2011 at 4:39 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.