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. Andy

    Man, I don't care what anybody says about Rick Perry's call, this is about overdue. Look around, America! See what is happening and ask yourself if there is anything usual going on? Floods destroying homes. Fires destroying homes. Unemployment destroying homes. Wars destroying homes. Tornadoes destryong homes. America is facing a form of judgment that people are refusing to accept as such. It's time for those who know how to fast and pray to start doing so and not just wait for August 6. God says, "IF MY PEOPLE, WHO ARE CALLED BY MY NAME, SHALL HUMBLE THEMSELVES...SEEK MY FACE...PRAY...FAST....THEN WILL I HEAR FROM HEAVEN AND HEAL THEIR LAND!" Hey, God's waiting on us!

    June 7, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
  2. justonce


    June 7, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
  3. JohnRJohnson

    So much for separation of church & state in Texas. Next thing this clown will be doing is putting teachers on trial who teach the theory of evolution.

    June 7, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
    • Nppa1234


      June 7, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
  4. Lemont

    So mIdieval. And this is a decision maker. We're doomed! What an ignorant idiot!

    June 7, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
  5. Stev-o12

    morons...you new king has arrived

    June 7, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
  6. joe groanin

    Really really scary He is Governor. As scary as the people who voted him in.

    June 7, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
  7. Don

    I think it's a good thing...God does own this Earth and even political leaders have a right to pray in public and the governor will be praying to the only true God and his son Jesus Christ.

    June 7, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
  8. mocha

    OH Brother!!! Separation of Church and State do do bird

    June 7, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
  9. redman

    "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."

    Thats all that needs to be said.

    June 7, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
  10. Ronnie Harper

    Hey Texas, you look more like Tehran every decade.

    June 7, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
  11. Rob W.

    Didn't this guy falsely execute a guy for an arson he didn't commit, even after he was given obvious exculpatory evidence?

    I'd be praying my ass off too... (!)

    June 7, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
  12. David R. Scott

    The prayer is a joke and the fasting is being done by millions of Americans who cannot afford to live like kings.
    The lying GOP is giving BILLIONS TO BILLIONAIRES AND SCREWING the elderly and poor of America.

    June 7, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
  13. Jeepers

    Perry has lost his #%&* mind.

    June 7, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • Jeus Is Lord

      On the contrary, he's the ONLY high ranking government official I've seen who has the courage to do the right thing. God bless him.

      June 7, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
    • Britney Spears Loses a Debate with a Chicken

      Did Jesus and Zeus have gay se-x and procreate a kid named Jeus, who is now lord?

      June 7, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
  14. Ron

    Which religion is he calling on? All of them?? Or only his? This is the beginning of Taliban Rick!

    June 7, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
  15. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I will never pray with Judas because even Jesus knew Judas would forsake him.

    June 7, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
  16. Jacqui

    I certainly agree that we should pray for divine intervention since we are facing a number of difficulties as a Nation. I am very hearkened to see that the govenor wants us to come together to confront these challenges. I would like to see us continue in this vein, after the day of prayer and stop the people who are trying to be divisive, spread falsehoods and hate and understand that a nation divided against itself cannot stand.
    I hope it means an end to all calls for secession and submitting to those whom God has allowed to be in authority by not demagoguing them. Let's be like Daniel and Joseph and all those other servants of God whose sincerity was rewarded by all hearing that God does rule in the affairs of men.

    June 7, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
    • Astra Navigo

      "Let's be like Daniel and Joseph and all those other servants of God...."

      Let's be like Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking instead. They're more rational....

      June 7, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
  17. David Johnson

    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."

    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.

    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 7, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
    • David Johnson


      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.

      Because people have believed the above words of Jesus, they have withheld medical care for their children. Evidently, god was not moved by their faith. Their children died. Modern medicine could have saved them. OOoopsie!

      Prayer is like a child on Christmas Eve, hoping Santa will bring him the presents he wants.

      There is no Santa, people. Reach in and grab some reality.


      June 7, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
  18. Aaron

    He should do Texas a favor and fast for 365 days straight.

    June 7, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
    • David R. Scott


      June 7, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
  19. Natalie N.

    Yeah, that'll help, Gov., put a sock in it. That's what happens when you have zero solutions....keep on praying.

    June 7, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
  20. Marie Kidman


    June 7, 2011 at 7:20 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.