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. Thomas

    "America is in crisis, " And Perry helped put us there !

    June 7, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
  2. Debi

    This guy is ALL SHOW! He and the Repubs of Texas are letting the children of the state of Texas down by keeping his "Rainy Day Fund" to himself. That money needs to be used for the children's education in Texas! It's sad that this guy can get behind a podium and tell one lie after another just to make himself look good. He hasn't done anything for the state of Texas but cause us grief! This so called day of prayer service is ALL SHOW!

    June 7, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
  3. tex

    I like Perry, but this is stupid.

    June 7, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • Glenda

      If he was serious he'd put prayer back in our public schools and in our civiv affairs. He is the Govenor with ambitions to run for President. iIs this show and tell or is he serious. If he is serious let him have his legislators make changes to all the Atheist's programs that have passed into law in this state.

      June 7, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
  4. Alex

    What a joke- How about actually doing your job! What happened to the separation of Church & State?

    June 7, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
    • Glenda

      What about you taking a flying leap up a Crocodile's A@#!

      June 7, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • Steve

      Amen...and Amen!

      June 7, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
  5. Cathy

    How is a “non-denominational, apolitical, Christian prayer meeting," non-denominational?

    June 7, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
  6. JJ

    Watch, all these dimwit texans are going to pray real fast tomorrow. LMAO!

    June 7, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
    • Glenda

      Why don't you come on down and take a round with one of these nitwit Texans. Coward.

      June 7, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
  7. LouAz

    “When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” Sinclair Lewis 1935

    June 7, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
  8. Kreole

    As long as they are gathering to get God's attention and use His power for a "bail-out", why not add for a winning season for this fall's Texas football team, a cure for cancer, an eviction notice for Kadaffy, an end for all wars and a shirt for Congressman Weiner.

    June 7, 2011 at 11:05 pm |
  9. BlueTexas

    Perry is such a terrible Gov. He's doing this to test the numbers for a presidential run. I hope he does, steps down as Giv and then loses his behind in the primaries. We need this guy to go away.

    June 7, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
  10. kayaker247

    never trust self proclaimed "man of god". in fact, never trust a man of god, period.

    June 7, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
  11. Dan Halen

    Ah. The American Taliban, alive and well in Texas!

    June 7, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
  12. Mayr

    thanks, but I don't need or want some politician telling me when to pray and what to pray for! what a crock anyway. these men are power hungry, and have ulterior motives. they're using prayer and religion to fool people into voting for them, but I aint buying it!

    June 7, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
  13. Keith

    What does that "next entry" link at the bottom of the page say? "Mitt Romeny IN gay marriage"? Wow. Spread the word! 🙂

    June 7, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
  14. Keith

    I really have to give Arnold credit for when he was governor in CA. He may have been Republican, but he didn't subject us to this extremist stupidity. He even (shock of shocks!!!) signed off on green energy legislation. Maybe that's what you get when you have a Republican governor who doesn't have the option of running for President.

    June 7, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
  15. Steve

    So...what about people of other faiths who want to pray to their own respective deities to help with the calamities facing this nation? Are they out of luck?

    June 7, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
    • Keith

      I'm sure in Perry's mind, they ARE the calamities.

      June 7, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
  16. Pat

    There are more children who will be in Texas public schools this year but he has drastically reduced funding for public schools while giving tax breaks to businesses. There was also a bill in the Texas legislature to give tax cuts to people buying yachts. The Texas Republicans justified this by saying they just had to because they had to compete with Florida that was giving tax cuts for people buying yachts. I don't know what kind of Bible these people are reading when they think that taking away money from the poor for education and healthcare while giving tax breaks to the rich is the "Christian" thing to do. I'm sure there will be a lot of the "Jesus died on the cross for our sins" mantra. I suppose that helps them with the hand to hand combat these guys must do with their conscience everyday. Rick Perry and his right wing Republican legislatures are a disgrace! I have to have faith that they will be voted out of office in 2012. That's something to pray about!

    June 7, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
    • Bonnie

      That's my dream too! I'm sick of Rick Perry and his tactics. From his outlandish taxes on cigarettes but not the cigars he smokes to the justification of the high cost rental while the governors mansion was repaired after a fire by saying they had scaled back on expenses to the taxpayers by letting the upstairs maid go! And don't even get me started on that pathaloma virus vaccine he mandated for all children that just happens to be made by his biggest contributors! It's quite obvious to me that this is just a ploy to gain national exposure for when he finally throws his hat into the ring for president.

      June 7, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
  17. Keith

    Wait a minute... Is Perry part of a tag-team wrestling pair with Trump? Is this just Perry's turn to do crazy things in the spotlight while Trump takes a rest? And here I thought Palin might be Trump's wrestling partner. But I suppose it makes more sense for Bachmann to be Palin's wrestling partner.

    June 7, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
  18. Roberto

    Dear Governor Perry (and whomever else will listen),

    Beseech the Almighty God to deliver us from this conflagration of financial and natural disaster misery.
    Or, you can put on your thinking caps and figure something out instead of relying on an ephemeral being to deliver you from a dismal self-induced state of existence. If you believe that God is going to deliver you from this, you're sadly mistaken. God's chuckling right now.

    June 7, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
  19. Praetorian

    Another attack on the Separation of Church and State. Nice.

    June 7, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
  20. Akira

    How about something a little less passive than prayer, like an actual plan to attack the various issues.

    June 7, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
    • Keith

      I'm sure he already cut taxes in order to increase the state's revenue. What more do you think a Republican knows how to do?

      June 7, 2011 at 10:48 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.