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. achepotle

    Prayer and fasting, eh? That seems easy enough...beats having to actually work at a problem...is there somewhere I can mail a used teddy bear?

    June 9, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
  2. Dr. K

    Just think if every dollar wasted on this stunt was instead given to a worthy charity. What if the masses who attend instead each dedicated those days to volunteering and that enormous amount of money to actually solving one of our nations problems? Really, think about it. If you really want to do something to help this country, don't waste your efforts amassing thousands of people in one place to wish for things really hard. Two hands working accomplishes infinitely more than a million hands inneffectually clasped in prayer.

    June 9, 2011 at 7:14 am |
  3. gozer

    Perry is insane, and prayer and fasting have never done a dam-n thing, other than make people malnourished.

    June 9, 2011 at 6:51 am |
  4. sean burns

    Can I bring my gun?

    June 9, 2011 at 6:39 am |
  5. sean burns

    He's just kidding around! I can tell by the smirk!

    June 9, 2011 at 6:38 am |
  6. FairGarden

    Christians always rescue nations with prayers and good character.

    June 8, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
    • Pastafarian

      Brother (sister?) FairGarden,

      It is time you look for the true savior of nations, the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Only through his Noodly touch can we ever hope to save this country and obtain world peace.

      June 9, 2011 at 9:13 am |
    • Alan F

      That explains why these problems still exist. The only thing that's going to happen on this is, well, nothing useful whatsoever. You want a problem solved, take action.

      June 9, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
  7. Rick Derris

    I'd like to see you people criticize raging hate monger Yusuf Qaradawi of al Sleezera even one-tenth to the degree that you insult Perry. Something tells me that the threat of HASAN, CHOP! isn't going to make that happen.

    June 8, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
    • sean burns

      Who? Never heard of him. Perry, on the other hand, is front and center and looking like an idiot. Next he'll be examining a dead animal's entrails to see what the future brings.

      June 9, 2011 at 6:25 am |
  8. rippedjeans

    This clown has some nerve. He executes an innocent man (Cameron Todd Willingham), tries to cover it up, and HE wants US to pray. If he does run for President, he better prepare himself for the questions that will arise concerning the Cameron Todd Willingham case. His shady actions (refusing to look at the facts from forensic experts , firing commission members that were scheduled to present critical evidence that cast doubts over Cameron's conviction) will not be forgotten. Look up this case people. It's been featured on Nightline, Frontline, New Yorker magazine, Dallas Morning News...

    June 8, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  9. Hatstand

    If Perry had any sense he'd arrange a bake sale with proceeds going towards the debt. It'd be way more productive than this nonsense.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Artist

      Some people make chants and ask spirits to help. Others pray to a god in the sky. Like magic things happen. I would think he could better serve the people of Texas than calling for a "wishful thinking/thought" convention. Just simply amazing that we have grown men and women still thinking magic works. I think we need to take a look and see if we are actually reversing evolution?

      June 8, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  10. Tim Molter

    Awesome! We need more to leaders to step up and declare a “day of prayer and fasting for our nation’s challenges.”

    June 8, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • JamesKs

      you jest.

      June 8, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
    • sean burns

      Especially in Texas! Make it a 3 day fast! Have you seen the size of some of those heifers down there?

      June 9, 2011 at 6:27 am |
  11. Buck Godot

    Mathew 6

    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 8, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • Sean Russell

      These politicians certainly do remind me of the pharisees. A lot of public demonstrations of their piety- but no real christian actions. Perry is the worst- two-faced, blathering idiot who talks a lot about praying and spends the rest of his time filling the pockets of his cronies.

      June 8, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • gozer

      Sean Russell, actually their actions seem to be pretty typical of Christians.

      And you aren't a true Scotsman either.

      June 9, 2011 at 6:48 am |
  12. Mike

    "America is in crisis, "
    "We have been besieged by financial debt ter rorism, and a mult itude of natural disasters."

    What are some of your solutions?

    June 8, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • Mike

      Should have started off with

      I notice nobody is really arguing the point ...,moderation

      June 8, 2011 at 10:43 am |
  13. Pastafarian

    I encourage all Christians to follow the one, true Lord: The Flying Spaghetti Monster. Truly, we are blessed to be in his presence. May everyone be touched by his Noodly appendage.


    June 8, 2011 at 9:48 am |
    • Mike

      Can you tell us more about your Lord, are there historical doc uments to his teachings command and character. Who have followed your Lord for 3-4 years and at the end still concider him without sin.?

      June 8, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • Pastafarian

      I thank you for your interest in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Allow me to attempt to answer your questions.

      The central belief is that an invisible and undetectable Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe "after drinking heavily". Because of His intoxication, we can see that we have a flawed Earth. Proof for His existence can be seen in early pirates. As an absolute proof of His existence inside of them, we notice that as the number of pirates decrease throughout history, the appearance of global warming increases. If you look at a country like Somalia, you'll notice that they have a high number of modern day pirates and a very low carbon output. There are those Pastafarians among us who believe it to be the holy land.

      If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask. The Flying Spaghetti Monster's will is for me to help guide those who have strayed back into His divine embrace by His Noodly appendages.

      June 8, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • Mike

      are there historical doc uments to his teachings command and character?

      June 8, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • Pastafarian

      Brother Mike,

      All of the teachings of The Flying Spaghetti Monster may be found in the book "The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster." Further readings may be found in "The Loose Canon," in which The Flying Spaghetti Monster lays out very clear rules (like in Suggestions 1:1 "I am the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Thou shalt have no other monsters before Me. (Afterwards is OK; just use protection.) The only Monster who deserves capitalization is Me! Other monsters are false monsters, undeserving of capitalization.") If you are looking for historical documents, those are excellent places to start.

      May He fill your plate of life with his Noodly wisdom,

      June 8, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • Sean

      You sound like one of those Al Dente terrorists.

      June 13, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
  14. Matt Barry

    CNN was only 4 hours later than my report, and 2 days later than our group countering this on facebook. please check out my article for important links regarding event http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-619212

    June 8, 2011 at 9:28 am |
  15. wwf

    This guy is &^&%^&* nuts. But then, you people in Texas voted him in.

    June 8, 2011 at 9:20 am |
    • Misha

      I didn't vote for him! I can't help if the rest of my fellow Texans are insane!

      June 9, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
  16. a in austin

    After what he's done to the children and people in Texas, I'd beg for forgiveness too.

    June 8, 2011 at 8:36 am |
  17. Reality

    The prayer Texans should recite over and over again:

    The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians during the past 200 years)

    I might believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven.

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.


    June 8, 2011 at 8:33 am |
    • Cthulhu

      You'll get a lot of people who will argue that since the tomb was empty that it proves that he was resurrected. My hypothesis is that when his followers returned to the grave expecting him to not be there, they removed the body and buried it somewhere. Afterall, if he didn't come back from the dead, they don't have a religion (I think there's a quote in Romans that says exactly that).

      June 8, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • Reality

      Saving Christians from the Great Resurrection Con:

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke's Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      o An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

      o p.4
      o "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      o p.168. by Ted Peters:

      Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      o So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      June 8, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  18. Faux Paws

    Actually since this gig isn't working out too well, he is the next cross trained spokesperson for The Church of the Weight Watchers. Leave him alone.

    June 8, 2011 at 8:21 am |
  19. JT

    God does answer all prayers. The answer is always no, yes or wait. Of course you get the same results praying to a rock.

    June 8, 2011 at 8:13 am |
    • David Johnson

      You said: "God does answer all prayers. The answer is always no, yes or wait. Of course you get the same results praying to a rock."


      Jesus speaking:

      John 14:14 – If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

      Mathew 17:20 – He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

      James 5:15 – And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.

      Let's be honest. Don't be afraid to use critical thinking. Jesus said the above, about prayer. Is it true? Can you post back to me and claim what Jesus said is true?

      Why has there never been a doc_umented case of an amputated limb being restored? Do you think an amputee never prayed or had faith?

      Double blind experiments, have all shown that prayer has no effect on illness.

      Because people have believed the promises of the bible, they have withheld medical care for their children. They prayed instead. Evidently, god was not moved by their faith. Their children died. Modern medicine could have saved them. OOoopsie!

      Why aren't Jesus's words true? Can you think of any possibilities?

      A fundie once told me, that god always answers prayers in one of three ways:

      1) God says, "yes". You get what you asked for immediately.

      2) God says, "to wait". You will get what you asked for at some future date.

      3) God says, "no". You will not get what you asked for.

      Hmmm.... But I can get the same success from the carton of milk I have sitting on the breakfast table.

      1) If I pray to my magic carton, some things will come true immediately, just by chance and coincidence.

      2) Some things will come true at some future date, for the same reasons.

      3) If I don't get what I want, then my magic carton said, "no".

      I think there is a problem, when there is no difference between praying to a god and praying to a milk carton.

      Remember the Gulf oil spill?

      Remember how a ton of people prayed for god to stop the gushing?

      I was spellbound! I watched the real time video of the oil spill. I expected to see it stop. It did not. Human technology eventually capped the well.

      God, either did not care or does not exist. Personally, I'm checking the second box. LOL.


      June 8, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • JT

      David, I agree with you. I also thought of the Lousianan prayers to stop the oil leak in the gulf. Notice the failure to get it stopped using wishful thinking did not work? Yes, it did eventually stop using underwater robots and human engineers but the deluded will always say that Jeeeeeesus did it because it's not an option to them that prayer does not work.

      It's a never ending cascade of absurdities since you must invent one absurdity to reconcile the former absurdity until you either give up or became a fundimentalist.

      June 9, 2011 at 11:50 am |
  20. Demo

    August 6th doesn't work for me. How about the 8th?

    June 8, 2011 at 7:54 am |
    • Will

      Lol i love that one

      June 8, 2011 at 3:13 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.