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. Richard Cheese

    Oh, GTFO already. Wacko Christians.

    June 7, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
    • abc

      trying to throw someone out for their religion is just as bad as this guy trying to push his religion man...

      June 7, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
  2. brian

    I am vomiting convulsively. This is truly disgusting. This clown apparently isn't familiar with the establishment clause of the first amendment. We are NOT a Christian nation, and we never have been.

    June 7, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
  3. abc

    I'm a devote catholic who believes in God and Jesus as my savior, but this is completely unacceptable.

    June 7, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
  4. twgloege

    This idiot should come up here to Kansas and see Brother Brownback. Heaven help us all.

    June 7, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
  5. Jack

    Is God a Republican or a Democrat? Seems like some people have an opinion on this. Obama, a good Christian, is the leader and my leader of this country. Rick Perry is not my Governor and especially not my spiritual leader. Why doesn't Rick Perry attend peace marches if he is so concerned about the state of the world? BTW, many thought the world was facing judgement during WWII and the Depression and Dust Bowl tragedy. Many thought we faced the end of hte world during the nuclear arms race. So now we have global warming which causes the extreme weather and people say it's the end times.

    June 7, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
  6. Marnina

    What troubles me the most is the "inter-denominational" service. This country wasn't just built on the Christian faith. We came here to achieve religious freedom. What happened to the separation between church and state. Having a governor promote a Christian celebration automatically exclude many of our countrymen from participation in the event. I am increasingly worried about having politicians regulating my morality. What I do behind my closed doors should no one else's business but me and my family. Period.

    June 7, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
  7. Keith

    Any Governor who attends needs to be recalled for failure to attend to his/her state's business. Talk about a political stunt.

    June 7, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
  8. gmansky

    He is an embarrassment here in Texas

    June 7, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
    • rippedjeans

      Unfortunately, some Texans won't wake up, and STOP re-electing this joke of a governor. Wake Up Texans...

      June 7, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
  9. Keith

    Oy vey!

    June 7, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
  10. Marie Kidman


    June 7, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
    • Ken Phelps

      Last month Perry asked us (Texans) to pray for rain. You can see how effective that was.

      June 7, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
  11. 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. There needs to be term limits for Texas Governor. GO AWAY...

    June 7, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
    • ray

      what he says is right. we need restoration. our nation has reached a turning point between tradition and modernization.

      and we are being forced to make a decision. the old worked. its history is clear for everyone too see. Pre 90's The new ...or....1990 too almost today. Is a failure. globalization is a failure. multi culturlisim is a abomination and a failure.....nafta is a failure....everything in the last 20 years has failed abismaly. we have had 5 good years....in maybe 20... And now is the time to recognize that. And go like this. Or stop and bandon plenty forms of modernization. I think the restoration of the christian church is a good start.

      June 7, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
    • Keith

      Woohoo!!! Ray is advocating a return to the "good old days" of the 90% high-end tax rate!! Thanks for the support, Ray!

      June 7, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
    • Marnina

      Ray, everyone looks back to the good-old days. The 60's maybe with the Cuban missile crisis. The 80's? The 90's? how far back do you really want to go? Are the 1800's good enough for you?

      June 7, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
    • Jack

      The Treaty of Tripoli: We are "not a Christian nation." 1797. It doesn't mean we are not a nation based on spiritual ideals but we are not a Christian theocracy.

      June 7, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
  12. TommyTT

    “non-denominational, apolitical, Christian prayer meeting" is a dishonest contradiction in terms.

    June 7, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
  13. joe groanin

    I Don't want to play "dueling scriptures", but in Mathew, is there not something to the effect of "go to your room and shut the door" in regard to prayer? Perhaps the dear Governor missed that part. Either way, Boss Man is a NUT – a powerful, scary Nut.

    June 7, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
  14. ray

    you hire a third worlder you are not welcomed in my house. Dont call me brother. Or sister call me brother. i dont defend you or stand shoulder to shoulder with you.....or know you..

    June 7, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
  15. ray

    my contomporaries only hire mexicans....and third worlders not us...

    June 7, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
  16. JesusCrust

    Protest info: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=177641222294542

    June 7, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
  17. reality

    This is how the antichrist will arrive. In the form of a zealot backed by blind, angry fools

    June 7, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
    • Keith

      That's a concept contained in most belief systems. That the self professed "true believers" will end up following a false figurehead. It's what happens when you bend the teachings of the belief system to your own whims rather than bending your whims to the teachings of the belief system. Doesn't really matter which "belief system" is involved.

      While there are millions of Christians who try to live their lives by the teachings of Christ, there are also millions of pseudo-Christians who bend the teachings of Christ to justify their lives. My observation is that the universe is extremely good at maintaining a balance. In this instance, for every person proclaiming to be a Christian who actually follows the teachings of Christ and does good in the world, there is another person proclaiming to be a Christian who does not follow the teachings of Christ and does an offsetting amount of evil in the world.

      Take for example the truth that good quiet Christians have actually done a significant amount of good for their fellow citizens of the world. But "Christians" have also been responsible for the Spanish Inquisition, the various Catholic-Protestant killings, and the Crusades. So the good news from this "balance" is that for every person who does evil in the name of Christ, the universe seems to ensure that somebody else does an equivalent amount of good in the name of Christ.

      June 7, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
  18. ray

    my contomparaies would blame no one else but goverment. As they had no power or say in that 20 million filthy animals waltz in here.....my contomporaries would say ohh goverments fault. As if magic or abarition or maybe a ghost....hired these people.....my contomporaries would say gov is to blame.....for exporting 5 million jobs. As if 1000's of adminstrators......didnt play any role in that exportaiton. and finally my contomporaries would say......the gov caused debt.......but they stayed quiet till almost this year.
    i fear my contomporaries as much as i fear gov.

    June 7, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
    • ray

      my contomporaies dont care about americans. they care about mexicans

      June 7, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
    • reality

      human beings fear you

      June 7, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
    • SJ

      I hope you don't own a gun, you ignorant, delusional racist.

      June 7, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
  19. Jim

    What is wrong with this? This country was built on Christian faith. What is so illegal about that? Those who came here knew that. We don't go to Mecca and change their Islam to Protestant right? So why should we change. This is a day of prayer. If someone does not like it, they can go somewhere else. If Islamics are allowed to block NYC streets to do their prayers then we will do this, period. There are no two ways about it. You want us to ban Christian praying here, then you must also ban Islamic prayers there. Double standards does not work. All you commies who want America dead, leave Texas alone.

    June 7, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
    • Blackdruid

      You are wrong, one of our first treaties say's exactly opposite. Please read up Treaty of Tripoli. Our country was founded on Deist ideas. Please go back to history class and not try to rewrite history.

      June 7, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
    • Cliffpistonjr

      We are a nation with Christians, but not a Christian Nation....just as the founders set it up.

      June 7, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
    • Astra Navigo

      America might have been 'built on Christian faith' – but the United States certainly wasn't.

      It was founded as a secular republic. Go read the First Amendment.....

      June 7, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
    • SJ

      How about, if YOU don't like the fact that in this country we have the freedom of, and FROM, religion, YOU move somewhere else.
      Tell you what, all you zealots can move to Texas and keep it. It can be just like Afghanistan, but with slide guitars and Bibles! We'll get along just fine with the other 49 states.

      June 7, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
  20. 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...TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS....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 9:24 pm |
    • Don

      Andy, you remind me of the time Moses told Egypt to free the Hebrew people from slavery and they didn't. Then there were all kinds of judgement until Egypt decided to free the Hebrews. Sometimes it's just better to do what's right in the first place than learn the hard way...the end result will be the same.

      June 7, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
    • prayerwarrior

      And all God's People said....AMEN!!!!!!

      June 7, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
    • Joe

      Fool. You think this guy represents God in the slightest? He IS the embodiment of wickedness. He and his kind would sooner throw you out on the street than give you a break – just as long as his billionaire friends stay comphy. And you are too stupid to see through it. If we are being judged, it's because of people like him, and you, the ones who are being tricked.

      June 7, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
    • Astra Navigo

      Pal – here's some news: Your Imaginary Friend isn't in charge.

      June 7, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
    • Evolved DNA

      Andy.. this is just nature ..settle down... this has happened possibly thousands of times before but there has been no news organizations, or the internet, or cell phones to capture it... i am sorry but you will have to wait for your death to happen naturally rather than longing for a supernatural demise..

      June 7, 2011 at 9:49 pm |
    • Squirrel-Juggling Jesus

      August 6? Do we have yet another incredibly stupid end-of-the-world prediction here? Cool!

      You seem quite worried about homes being destroyed, but no mention of people. Hmmmm, is your Jesus mainly a god of residential real estate?

      June 7, 2011 at 9:49 pm |
    • DOM

      Yea, because things like weather, which can be rationally explained, are somehow acts of a vengeful "God." Get a grip, it's religious fanatical nuts like you who should be stripped of their freedom of speech for blithering on and on about repentance and judgement.

      June 7, 2011 at 9:55 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.