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. william

    Oh yeah, just what we need... another gasbag Christian who thinks our country can be healed by prayer. Should be a strong candidate for president, eh? Sorry, gasbags, but put me down for Obama again. I don't even care what his policies are, but this country damn sure doesn't need another evangelical moron like G. Bush in office.

    June 7, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
    • John

      Hmmmm, I'm reading all these comments and thinking, "This must be all that liberal "tolerance" I keep hearing about.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
  2. Louis Cypher

    Well sorry governor. Jesus nor god are listening because they don't exist. What a disgusting abuse of office and power. To bad all these inbred rednecks don't pull their collective heads out and vote these idiots out of office. How much money is the government of Texas wasting? I bet these funds could feed hungry children or help the homeless out. Lynching would be too good for these idiots.

    June 7, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
    • Vern in Ohio

      That is your opinion, not a fact. Don't confuse the two. I believe God does exist, but I also do not like these right-wing people shoving their faith down the throats of other Americans either.

      Funny I haven't heard Pat Robertson saying Texas and Arizona, being hit by natural disasters with all these fires, isn't saying this is God's retribution for treating those they don't like in such a crappy manner-you know, gays, Mexicans, etc. Maybe this is a sign that these states need to start acting more like what Christians are supposed to act like, instead of being hypocrites with their own faith?

      June 7, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
  3. JLA615

    Prayer isn't going to stop Texas from becoming a scorched desert wasteland thanks to climate change. We'll have to use our brains instead if we're going to turn things around.

    June 7, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
  4. Keith

    More Christian extremists terrorism. What do we pay Homeland Security for if it isn't to protect us from extremists like Perry?

    June 7, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
  5. Scott

    Well that should be good for a few points in the polls, but if he ever finds himself at pearly gates he may have a problem.

    June 7, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
    • Keith

      "BUT! ! BUT!! You HAVE to let me in!! The other pseudo-Christians all LOVED me!"

      June 7, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
    • JW

      "I never knew you".

      June 7, 2011 at 10:34 pm |
    • Whoops!

      Yes, there will be a real problem when Perry and others like him get to heaven and Quetzlcoatl answers the door.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
  6. Atari

    Religion, controlling the masses since time began.

    June 7, 2011 at 10:30 pm |
    • Keith

      Well, organized religion. The Mother Earth religions exercised by various tribes around the world like the Native Americans weren't particularly a problem in that respect.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
  7. Chuck

    What does the GOP do when our nation faces challenges? Set a day of prayer for the fake magic man in the sky. Wonder how much taxpayer money will be spent on a religious event, not like it matters, it's Texas.

    June 7, 2011 at 10:29 pm |
    • Scott

      It's not Texas DA, it's oil money.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
  8. coldtallbeer

    Really? So rather than sit down with biz and community leaders to uncover ideas to address jobs and economic opportunities, he's recommending everyone stop eating (restaurants and grocers should love this) and pray. Appears that Gov Perry is in the wrong business....maybe he should start his own evangelist biz, as apparently there are plenty of down and out folks in Texas that will follow him anywhere.

    June 7, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
  9. mrgmorgan56

    So much for the seperation of church and state. Religion, prayer, GOD....are for the weak minded such as the Gov. of Texas.

    June 7, 2011 at 10:27 pm |
  10. Case Settled


    June 7, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
    • Bucky Ball


      June 8, 2011 at 12:53 am |
  11. Brian

    How about a day of answering prayers of people in need?

    June 7, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
    • JW

      Come come Brian, that would go against everything they stand for. You can't change a man and his religion overnight.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:27 pm |
  12. Simon Rollins

    Bucky Ball:

    Thanks for departing your supreme wisdom. You do indeed sound very educated and esteemed and I would love to hear your acclaimed counter arguments for all of the points presented by Dr. Schroeder.


    June 7, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
  13. John Holroyd

    IMHO Rick Perry is a shameless manipulator. I don't think for a moment he believes any of this tripe he is spouting but he hopes you will. Apparently "non denominational" "apolitical" and "non partisan" means that you should be right of Rush Limbaugh and Christian (not even sure if this includes Catholics). Just check out the American Families Association who are sponsoring this event. It appears that it is a thinly veiled political action group hiding behind Christianity and bent on bringing down our elected government. With friends like this who needs enemies. The American Taliban.

    June 7, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
  14. Adam

    How about you get off your knees and do something that might actually make a difference?

    June 7, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
    • JW

      Shhh, there is a show going on right now, can't you see? People dressed in fine costumes, spouting fine lines of prose, wearing well-applied make up, with all the right sponsors. Let's not disturb it, see what sort of entertaining things they do.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
  15. Ituri

    Please... please, please, please tell me this is a joke.

    I suppose these guys use the psychic who sent police to that farmhouse for their medical advice, at this rate...

    June 7, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
  16. JW

    This reminds me of the Pharisee that went up to a temple to pray, thankful he was not like the rest of us heathens–robbers, evildoers, adultereres, or heaven forbid, a democrat . . .

    June 7, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
    • Keith

      A DEMOCRAT!!??!! How dare you, sir, write such an obscene thing on an open discussion board that any innocent child might stumble across. If a child read such a thing, it might infect them and cause them to think it was normal to grow up as become a Democrat. Shame on you, sir! 🙂

      June 7, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
    • JW

      You know that is how many Christians think and teach their children though–nothing worse than growing up to be a democrat. I know because I grew up amongst them, as their preachers told me on one hand that Christ loved the poor, and on the other hand how he hated democrats.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
  17. feel sorry

    You're pathetic, sir.

    June 7, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
  18. Henry

    I think there should be days of prayer in Texas and Florida, asking God to deliver the people from Rick Perry and Rick Scott.

    June 7, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
    • Mr. Huddy


      June 7, 2011 at 10:34 pm |
  19. skyjmpr

    Yep, that's good ol' Governor Hair for you. Don't DO anything constructive, pray for it.

    The man has been a plague on Texas for the last 9 years... With him, who needs locusts?

    June 7, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
  20. Dave

    Instead of sending telepathic messages to an invisible friend in the sky, how about a "Day of Actually Doing Something for the World." Volunteer, donate, what have you. Why does everything have to be done by God?

    June 7, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
    • feel sorry

      YOU, sir, are pathetic.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
    • JW

      Don't be mistaken, he knows God won't do anything for them. This is just how they get the people to do things for them. You see my friend, it is all about ignorance, selfishness, control, power, and greed.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
    • Gracchus

      Feel Sorry: No, sir, I think you own that prize today. So many fundamentalists hide behind the liturgical expressions of their "faith", usually in a lather to control the thoughts and morals of everyone else, they miss the whole point of their professed religion. Or maybe you forgot Jesus' Rule# 1 : DO unto others as you would have them DO unto you. Emphasis on "DO"....yes, volunteer, donate, help others, do unto them who are your brothers and sisters under Heaven. That was Rule#1, and it still is....except, apparently, for those who *profess* to have faith in pursuit of their lust for political power.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
    • JW

      Nicely said Gracchus. They claim to follow Christ, yet Christ wouldn't know them from a rock on the road.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:33 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.