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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. Miracle Manna

    Remember this article a year from now when Gov Perry gets caught with a street walker or one of Newt's old girlfriends.

    June 7, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
  2. sam

    Yep. Perrry is one of those Democrats that got mad because the democrats supported civil rights legislation and became a Republican. ALL the southern rednecks used to be Democrats, but now they're ALL Republicans. Actually, I don't know if Rick got mad, he just switched to ride the Republican wave into office.

    Sorry, GOP. You're stuck with all the tootlhless hillbillies. You've catered to their ignorance to get their vote and now you're stuck with them and you absolutely can't win squat in a a national election without them. Need evidence? Look at the current field of GOP hopefulls. Not a brain in the entire bunch. Lot's of slogans and posturing, but absolutely nothiing of substance. The only one who has done anything right has to explain how it's not really right, even though it WAS right, but now it's not because, well because Massachusetts is different from the rest of the country. Socialism was ok for them while he was governor, but that was different......somehow.

    The rest of them? A big sack of nothing. .

    June 7, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
  3. sam

    Let's all pray that the coyote wins next time.

    June 7, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
  4. Frogist

    Thank you Chris Christie for not being part of this religious-right-pander-fest. This resident of New Jersey thanks you!

    June 7, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • civiloutside

      As does this one. Whether I'm thankful for anything else he's done... well that's a different issue.

      June 7, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
    • sean burns

      THIS NJ resident says it's because he's too busy pandering to the corporations and millionaires that make up his base.

      June 9, 2011 at 6:31 am |
  5. Kevin Cantu

    I'm going to participate....in a prayer that Gov. Perry's precious toll booth's fall apart and that also God take him away from us here in Texas.....AMEN

    June 7, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • DallasCowboy

      Amen!

      June 7, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  6. sam

    Yes, they're all going to be praying to Supply Side Jesus! He won't answer your prayers because that would make you lazy and keep you from being personally responsible. Supply side Jesus answers the prayers of the Rich, and then Jesus' blessing trickles down to the lazy, liberal, welfare types.....eventually.......maybe..........we've been told.

    June 7, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  7. Case Settled

    I love you 😀

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzetqYev_AI&w=640&h=390]

    June 7, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
    • Ed

      I bet the atheist hated the lecture

      June 7, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
    • Electric Larry

      Thanks for this video! It's just perfect proof of just how stupid Christians are. Evidence? Hilarious! You are dumb enough to buy that obviously faulty argument? Wow!

      June 7, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      Ok kids. This is a riot and and half. If Craigy Ferguson fails to have Sid on tonight and you're looking for some laughs, HERE you go. I'd like to present Dr. ( !!! OMG) Gerald Schroeder, an actual winner of the distinguished "Moron of the Month" Award. Presented to him on 9/22/08. I'm not kidding you can look that up ! If he really did go to MIT, then all THAT proves is that anyone could get in there.
      The first clue is about 2 minutes in, when he says that Marshall Mcluhan wrote "The Medium is the Massage". No typo there ! Hahaha.
      Then he proceeds with all the many of the God of the Gaps and Creationist/Intelligent Design things you always hear, but I have to give it to him, his unique talent for the non sequitur is pretty unmatched, and to go through all his so obvious mistakes would take all night, but they are so hackneyed and old you've heard them all before. Really really stupid.
      About all THIS video proves is that apparently you can get a degree from MIT without taking any course in logic, or demonstrating even the slightest ability to think in an orderly fashion. But wait. The high light of this comedy routine is about 2/3 of the way in, where he asserts that the "Brief History of Time" was written by Stephen Dawking. I kid you not ! LMAO. Get out your grandpa's "Depends", you may pee in your pants laughing.

      June 7, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
    • civiloutside

      Well, mocking of his verbal flubs aside, there is more than enough reason not to regard this speech as "proof" of the existence of god. Among them being:
      1) He doesn't actually make that claim. The closest he comes is claiming that we may in fact be extradimensional beings from a region of "mind" that merely project our consciousness into the physical realm.
      2) The flawed assumption that reproduction is inherently purpose-driven.
      3) The monkeys and typewriters analogy is also flawed. The question isn't whether random monkeys could possibly produce Shakespeare's sonnets, but whether they could produce anything legible at all (a much lower bar to meet), and completely ignores the fact that evolution features an editing process called "natural selection."
      4) Unless I misremember, his most recent citation in support of his argument is 15 years old (1996?), and the people he quotes as his clinchers (Schrodinger and Heisenberg), while undoubtedly brilliant men, are about 35 years behind the modern state of quantum theory at best, owing to having been dead for the intervening years. The field has not sat stagnant since then.
      5) The billion year gap between the formation of the earth and the appearance of the oldest known evidence of life is not exactly "instantly" even by geologic timelines. It's more than 20% of the earth.
      6) There is an increasing body of evidence suggesting that multicellular life, even animals, existed before the Cambrain Explosion (which took place over the course of 70 million years, btw – yes that's fast by evolutionary standards, but not "instantaneously."), and it's not actually universally accepted that "all modern body types" evolved in that period either.
      7) "We don't understand how this happened," does not equal "God did it."
      8) "The universe is finely tuned to support life," assumes that life *as it is constructed in this universe* is the only possible form that life could take in any possible universe. Of course all the life we're aware of works perfectly in this universe, because this is the universe it evolved in and the set of rules it had to work with. Similarly, the life we see around us seems perfectly suited to the earth, because earth is where it evolved. Different conditions could have produced different forms of life, which likewise would also seem to fit their environment perfectly.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:27 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      @civiloutside
      I didn't just mock his "verbal flubs". I suggested that his arguments are totally ridiculous, usually non logical, and unoriginal, and thus not worth anyone's time in reviewing, point by point.
      "there is more than enough reason not to regard this speech as "proof" of the existence of god. Among them being:
      1) He doesn't actually make that claim." Ah, then why are you talking about it at all ?

      June 7, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
    • civiloutside

      @BuckyBall – not trying to put you down, man, I was just taking a different approach for people who might respond better to it. Besides, it helps me feel better after having taken the time to watch the video to try and deconstruct it some.

      June 8, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • Ed

      I think its interesting that I keep reading posting the suggest if any one a scientist or otherwise would show the use or emperical observation and scientific method to prove God the atheist would be willing to listen, its the complete lack of this that makes God unbelievable.

      Here you have a scientist who has use emperical observation and sceintific methods and theorys as evidence of God. I'm not saying his right the lecture is full of verbal flubs he is obviously a poor public speaker. But he did use scietific theorys and methods he did use emperical observation and the atheist just demissed the comments, said MIT was a bad school so his credentails don't count and christians are stupid(electric larry). The speaker is wearing a yamica and is porbably jewish by the way.

      My point is the ateist who responded did exactly what the complain about the religious doing. They simply dimissed and opinon they disagreed with and then turned to insults to prove their point.

      June 8, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • sean burns

      Will this be on the test?

      June 9, 2011 at 6:32 am |
  8. FairGarden

    Christians must get back their own country from those filthy perverts, ignorants, atheists, baby-murderers and the selfish secular liberal cowards.

    June 7, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • erik

      HI! I didn't know Ted Haggard posted to blogs!

      June 7, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
    • jersvette

      Why don't you and those with similar beliefs move to Texas or North Dakota and build a wall around you, we won't protest.

      June 7, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      70% of abortions are for believers. Please clean up your own backyard before telling anyone else how to behave or what to believe.

      June 7, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
    • Whatevs

      Excuse me, but alot of us in Texas don't even want Perry. Please don't send any more refried jesus weezers. We have more than our share.

      June 7, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
    • Bonnie

      Please don't send any more refried jesus weezers.

      Lmao! I agree, we're full up!!

      June 7, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
    • sean burns

      Yes!! Especially since they are so non-judgmental, forgiving, loving, and blah blah blah.

      June 9, 2011 at 6:35 am |
  9. FairGarden

    America is alive! God bless Christians! My glorious fatherland forever...!

    June 7, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
    • Britney Spears Loses a Debate with a Chicken

      "Fatherland"? You are obviously not American.

      Liar.

      June 7, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
    • Pastafarian

      FairGarden, you must abandon your silly faith and accept the Flying Spaghetti Monster as your master. May you be touched by Hid Noodly appendage.

      Ramen.

      June 8, 2011 at 9:42 am |
  10. Lynn

    Quit with the religion angle, you aren't impressing anybody. It's an easy cheap campaign slogan that will insult all thinking people . Don't care and don't want to know about his personal beliefs. Keep them in Texas.

    June 7, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  11. Jim (retired AF colonel)

    As a Texan, I'm embarassed that this nut case is my governor!

    June 7, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • sue

      I feel your pain I am in ARIZONA same garbage different state

      June 7, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • DallasCowboy

      I didn't vote for him and wish he would be arrested by the feds for pretending to be a preacher-governor.

      June 7, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  12. acura2010

    I believe in fasting and prayer but not to be lead by Rick Perry and the rest of the racists right wing extremists.

    June 7, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  13. ja

    the gop need to stop the greatest sin the exclusion process, giving welfare to the super-rich, nowadays folk pray to something or not hardly God, with the mean spirits, perverions, and zero tolerance for people who are different,

    June 7, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  14. gil oberdas

    Perry is another nut from the same old right wing molds. Coming from the state with one of the poorest records for social programs he is just what the republicans want and the rest of us despise!

    June 7, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  15. Fordham Jock

    CNN. Ummm, Aren't they talkin about di'cks over on the circu-mcision board ? Ever consider a .. never mind.

    June 7, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  16. Xavier

    Were praying in Texas alright. Were praying that our idiot governor will stop sticking it to us at every turn. The only people benefiting from Perry as governor of Texas are the rich. The poor and the Middle Class dont matter to him.

    June 7, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • DallasCowboy

      It's like you read my mind, X-Men leader! Those were great movies.

      June 7, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  17. majestic

    and this coming from the nutbag that wants Texas to leave the union? this idiot has some very serious mental problems.

    June 7, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  18. majestic

    What part of "separation of church and state" doesn't this idiot gov'nor get?

    June 7, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  19. erik

    "You gonna do some prayin' for me, boy. And you better pray good."

    toothless hilbilly to John Voight in Deliverance.

    June 7, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • ScottK

      "Reeeee Reee reee reeeeeee!!" – Ned Beaty

      June 7, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  20. Ann

    As a Texan it is obvious that Perry's new devotion to religion is a ploy to play to the Christian right so he can be president or vice-president. Never been too concerned with public prayer before. He is an opportunist and only cares about himself and his own ambitions. He lied to get re-elected and will do or say anything to benefit himself. His cronies who contribute money to him are the only ones to have benefited from this guy's term in office. He allowed the execution of an innocent man and continues to embarrass the state in every way. The state is in deep debt although he campaigned on a surplus. Our education has declined to 44th in the nation. And the only cuts being proposed are to hurt education, the disabled, and the poor. Geo. Bush was no winner, but he was way above this guy.

    June 7, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • DallasCowboy

      Ma-am, I'd like to invite you somewhere for dinner!

      June 7, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • Don

      the economy is bad everywhere, every state is cutting education spending, every state is short on cash...no state is exempt from this Severe Recession.....Texas can raise taxes...maybe start an income tax...but the state could lose jobs from that and cause higher unemployment.

      June 7, 2011 at 9:32 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.