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. Governor Rick Perry

    If Michelle Bachmann and that dame from Wasilla can run, why can't I ?
    Oh wait....., no one ever heard of me.
    Oh, I know......

    June 7, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  2. erik

    Just another reason why Texas should leave America and be it's own country.

    June 7, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • Jesusfreaker

      I second the motion.

      June 7, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      @Erik- It was..they didn't like it.

      June 7, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  3. chuck

    Great idea. Lets cut out revenue from every small and large business for a day and try to further hurt them in this economy. Are you out of your mind??? What every happened to being responsible? Do not force your religious beliefs on someone else. But most of all do not try to kill businesses like restaurants that depend on daily revenue to survive.

    I guess the best I can say for Texas is you elected a moron!!!!!

    June 7, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Cmann

      Amen to that (oops – sorry about the pun)

      June 8, 2011 at 8:55 am |
  4. Allen

    What about those who do not pray to Jesus? Are they invited?

    June 7, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  5. Bob

    Give me a break. This is priceless. What in the world is a "non-denominational, apolitical, Christian prayer meeting"???????

    June 7, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • Jesusfreaker

      It means that anyone is invited...provided of course that you believe Jesus is your savior.

      Yes, let's all pray about our problems. That should take care of them. Gosh, what are we all going to do when all of our problems have been solved?

      June 7, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • Cmann

      It means another lame attempt by the GOP to force everyone into becoming their idea of a christian.

      June 8, 2011 at 8:56 am |

    Not everyone is a follower of Jesus signor Governor,.. so i guess Muslims, Jews, Hindu, Buddhists, etc. need not apply. if Politicians weren't so busy ruining and dividing the country,.. we would not have to resort to self promoting prayer-a-thons for salvation.

    June 7, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  7. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    Yay!! Because church influencing state is EXACTLY what the founding fathers prayed for! Just ask Granny Sarah Grizzly...

    June 7, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  8. Charles

    I wonder what they would do that day if say a tornado hit the stadium while they were in the midst of this? Liberal demonic plot, I am sure. Nothing against Christians, or any religion for that matter, but the more you spout off about it, the stupider you sound. Keep it to yourself, I don't go around telling you about my religion, or more aptly, lack there of. All I can say is that Gov Braindead here in Iowa has better not think he is going. He has done a good job-of talking about how bad off the state is...yep, that is until they released the latest budget projections and it shows a large surplus. Fear mongering, pure and simple!

    June 7, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  9. Russ

    This kind of activity by a governmental leader is totally absurd and uncalled for. This has something to do with why we left the mother land in the first place. Get your damn religion out of politics!!!! As you may have noticed it is pretty obvious that praying about anything doesn't do any good. None, absolutely nothing to show for the worthless time consuming ritutal called praying. When the hell are you idiots going to wake up and smell the coffee. The bible, god, jesus......all of your Sunday go to meetin's does nothing. Whatever is going to happen is going to happen. Religion is just a big farce to corral your sheep into your pasture for support. And take their money, most of whom don't have much, but you take it anyway. Damn people are ignorant.

    June 7, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  10. Darrel Texas

    Perry is a total idiot! This is nothing but pandering to the Extreme RIght Wingers of Texas. He is nothing but a Dubwa Bush Clone with no origianal ideas or thoughts. Hasn't the idiot heard of separation of church and state! Political figures like Perry are dangerous and stupid!

    June 7, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  11. sonny chapman

    Is Perry going to do this praying before or after he signs a death warrant for an execution ?

    June 7, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • Jesusfreaker

      good one.

      June 7, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  12. InFormed99

    What a joke. Separation of Church and State sounds more like a nice to have than actually something these dimwits abide by. But just try to take their guns from their hands, and they are quick to run back and hide under the skirt of the bill of rights.

    June 7, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  13. Reality

    The prayer Texans should recite:

    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 7, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • InFormed99

      Jesus (if he even existed) was the David Koresh of his time.

      June 7, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      More copy/paste...gotta love it.

      June 7, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • abc

      do you take the time to stop and think that your lack of faith is very similar to others' faith and that you bashing them is the same as them bashing you...?

      You only believe in what youre eyes see and your ears hear? Clearly you do not, you believe in the abilities of human scienists to show things that they can see and hear, or imagine...but not religion because it's too out there??

      Have you read about string theory? Relativity? Other major theories pronounced as fact by the scientific community? They are at least as absurd as religion

      June 7, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
    • Reality

      Only for the those interested in a religious update:

      1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

      "New Torah For Modern Minds

      Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment.

      2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

      The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

      For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

      Current RCC problems:

      Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

      3. Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

      Current problems:

      Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics , "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

      4. Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

      This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.

      And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

      Current crises:

      The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

      5. Hinduism (from an online Hindu site) – "Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centered and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’."

      The caste/laborer system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence are problems when saying a fair and rational God founded Hinduism."

      Current problems:

      The caste system, incarnation and cow worship/reverence.

      6. Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."

      "However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"

      Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.

      Bottom line: There are many good ways of living but be aware of the hallucinations, embellishments, lies, and myths surrounding the founders and foundations of said rules of life.

      Then, apply the Five F rule: "First Find the Flaws, then Fix the Foundations". And finally there will be religious peace and religious awareness in the world!!!!!

      June 8, 2011 at 12:34 am |
  14. ThinkAgain

    Apolitical, my fanny! A governor is putting this on, basically saying that our country needs to get "right with Jesus" politically and all of our troubles will disappear! HAH!

    Texas, I thought you couldn't do worse than Georgie Bush, but apparently you can ...

    June 7, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • Russ

      And when is this miserable excuse for a state going to secede from the union.....please!!!

      June 7, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  15. Jacob

    is this a joke!? try less prayer and more WORKING for ALL TEXANS!
    and we're worried about a Congressman taking of his shirt and sending girls the picture?

    June 7, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  16. sam

    Let me know how THAT strategy pas out for you Ricky.

    June 7, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  17. leanderjim

    Not too much longer and the nuts will be running the asylum.............

    June 7, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  18. Boytjie

    Where were his prayers and fasting when that other Texan drove the country into a ditch?

    June 7, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  19. LULU

    Hey! Attention everyone! NOT ALL TEXANS VOTED FOR THIS NUTBUCKET!!! Just wanted to put that out there! Thanks!

    June 7, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  20. Jeff

    Wow...this is where separation of church and state is relevant. Had the governor called for people to pray, but not specified a religion, I don't think it would have been a big deal. Citing a need to follow Jesus is fine from my Christian perspective, but it does not have any bearing or relevance to those people that do not share my faith. As such, it has no business in the governor's office.

    June 7, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • Ali

      Exactly, I couldn't have said it any better.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:27 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.