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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. Ben Dralle

    "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful."

    June 8, 2011 at 12:15 am |
  2. Squirrel Juggling Jesus

    Governor Perry should just hold his breath until he gets what he wants, just like any tantrum-throwing infant would.

    Anyone else notice how many of the most incredibly stupid news stories come out of the Bible Belt?

    June 8, 2011 at 12:12 am |
    • Ashamed Texan

      As a Texan, I am embarrassed. That said, there are idiots in every state. It just happens that one is our state's governmental leader.

      June 8, 2011 at 12:20 am |
  3. AZLib

    This nut job is a traitor to the US. He should be arrested and charged with treason and attempting to restart the civil war. I have wiped better things off the bottom of my boots after walking through a dairy then this clown. Only in Texas would such a true 120% jerk like this get elected to anything...

    June 8, 2011 at 12:04 am |
    • DeeCee2011

      I agree. This governor continues to not only to be a disgrace to TX, but the US, and the world. Remember: this is the guy who advocated succession; who used a "sissy gun" during a walk; has consistently championed christianity over any over religion in TX (oops – that is what our forefathers rebelled against); and now this. What a worthless piece of inconvenience, brought down by the sins of humankind. Just a replica of GW. OK. let's see him waste folks money on running for higher office...

      June 8, 2011 at 12:12 am |
  4. mike c

    “Non-denominational, apolitical, Christian", talk about disingenuous misleading statements. None of those terms fit what this event is about. It is purely political, specific to one religion if not one particular branch of that religion, and barely Christian in the context of Jesus reported words.

    June 8, 2011 at 12:00 am |
    • Boiseguy44

      I think it is very nice, a day of fasting and prayer. This sounds like a one day version of Ramadan, you know that Muslim month of fasting and prayer. Nice that the governor is willing to embrace the same concept. Now if it only works!

      June 8, 2011 at 12:08 am |
  5. Stephen

    and what have you done twiddley?

    June 7, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
  6. Thomas Paine

    Rick Perry is the type of demagogue we need to keep an eye on, lest he turn our beloved republic into a theocracy (think Iran, but with a cross).

    June 7, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
  7. Chiniquy

    The Christian Taliban will never stop until they destroy America with their radicalism.

    June 7, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
    • Stephen

      You are so right. I hate Christians.... such as Obama.

      June 7, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
  8. AtheistGuy

    We atheists have our own utopia. It's called the "bank". Money matter more than humanity.

    June 7, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
    • I_get _it

      AtheistGuy,

      Impersonating an atheist is lame... besides that, it is a form of lying - you know, one of those things that you are forbidden to do.

      June 8, 2011 at 1:27 am |
    • mike

      also you're an idiot

      June 8, 2011 at 1:31 am |
  9. jools

    as a current texas resident with a kid about to start school here, i became frightened – very frightened...is it really so difficult for a/any governor to strive for PROPER grammar?!?!?! you have speech writers, right?!?! my 5yr old even knows an historic is AN HISTORIC......AN AN AN.....it's AN ENGLISH word you moron. learn it! stop reinforcing ignorance Guvnah.

    June 7, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
    • Stephen

      His use of "a historic" is correct. Using "an" would not be correct.

      June 7, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
    • I_get _it

      Either "a" or "an" is acceptable with the word 'historic'.

      "You should use “an” before a word beginning with an “H” only if the “H” is not pronounced: “an honest effort”; it’s properly “a historic event” though many sophisticated speakers somehow prefer the sound of “an historic,” so that version is not likely to get you into any real trouble." - http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/anhistoric.html

      June 8, 2011 at 1:31 am |
  10. Qev

    Yeah...that'll help.

    June 7, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
    • twiddly

      If all the people praying would stop and actually DO something, wow... something might actually happen.

      June 7, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
  11. Soporifix

    The word "God" in the mouth of this worthless sack makes me ill.

    June 7, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
    • Biff Stevens

      Jesus. Are you freakin kidding me??? The Response? LOLOLOLOL

      June 7, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
  12. Kreole

    The governor's plan to shut down the economy by gathering to pray for the economy should wind up on the same "Knights of the Round Table" plan to go out and gather up all the witches causing these problems. The Middle Ages is rearing it's head thru Texas ignorance.

    June 7, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
  13. DallasMarine

    Maybe TX should secede, then the US can invade it and try Perry for some sort of war crime. I'm so embarrassed that he is called a Texan.

    June 7, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
    • NotYoMama

      I wish Texas WOULD secede! I used to be a proud American, but now I'm rather disgusted by the mess both Republicans AND Democrats have gotten us into.

      Now I'm just looking for a safe place to raise my kids. Texas has good jobs, and for the most part I agree with the state laws.

      Sincerely
      A conservative, liberal, independent voter.

      June 7, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
  14. Tubby the Tuba

    Like most Repuglicans, Rick Perry is hiding behind the Lord and professing to be an honorable man, while all the while plotting to dismantle Education in Texas, where his poor planning over the years has lead to a 21 billion dollar shortfall, like in other states with the Repuglican running the state government, and his plan to balance his poor judgement on the backs of Educators. Texas is already 44th in Education in the U.S., and now we are headed for 50th! I bet he can't wait to have an opportunity to do the same all across this great land!! Evil is what he is!

    June 7, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
    • Alex in NJ

      oh shut up. you know damn well he's not plotting to dismantle education. what are you in the teacher's union, one of the most corrupt organizations in this country? you can disagree with governor perry's policies. save your silly conspiracy theories about a republican plot to deliberately destroy education, and your teacher's union dishonest talking points to yourself.

      June 7, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
    • suttonmom

      You got that right Tubby. Isn't it interesting that we did not hear work one about the huge deficit from the right-wing press in Texas.

      June 7, 2011 at 11:39 pm |
    • raggedhand

      There is no teacher's union in Texas. Texas is a "right to work" state.

      Perry is systematically tearing apart education legislation that was enacted 20 years ago to promoted education in Texas. He despises teachers. He's said it. He has said that teachers are over-paid, blue collar workers who have too much influence in the state.

      Today the Republican led Texas legislature has removed the teacher salary steps. Texas teachers are the ONLY government employees in Texas- and you can look at local, state, and federal employees- that do not have a pay system that increases at all with steps. The state mandated base salary for a Texas teacher is now $27,600...exactly twice what a Starbucks barrista makes.

      Perry's legislature has also removed any contract protections teachers have for being unfairly fired (no arbitration now) and has changed the notice a teacher is given from 45 days down to 10...and billed both as money savers for Texans. Teachers now can be furloughed without pay at any time for 6 days a year.

      His next goal is to remove the student/teacher classroom caps.

      Perry is the anti-education governor and if he runs for President (he'll never win, but he could run) you'll get more information about his record. You won't like it.

      June 7, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
  15. Stocko

    He reminds me of the politician from "The Dead Zone" by Stephen King. Don't remember the character's name.

    June 7, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
  16. Richxx

    How sad, that in this day we still have so many that not only worship a false God, but they try to force others to join them.

    June 7, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
    • paul

      so sad indeed that people like you would rather worship the ant-Christ!

      June 7, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
    • I Don't Get It

      So odd that people feel the need to 'worship' anyone or anything... appreciate, admire, respect, fine; but 'worship' - huh?

      June 7, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • Alex in NJ

      hilarious how the left is so quick to preach tolerance yet so intolerant of the religious. i happen to be an atheist yet i almost feel bad because i am one of the few atheist who isn't so far up on their high horse they can barely shout their arrogant and demeaning insults at people who choose faith.

      June 7, 2011 at 11:39 pm |
    • suttonmom

      Paul, we don't worship an anti-christ. We just don't blindly worship.

      June 7, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
    • AtheistGuy

      I worship money. All I care about and all I'll ever care about. Screw people.

      June 7, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
    • billlyh

      NOBODY'S BEING FORCED.

      June 7, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
    • rachel

      To Paul: We would rather not worship anything. The anti-christ? Really, you actually believe that drek? How sad, and what a weak response.

      June 7, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
    • rachel

      Bravo.

      June 7, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
  17. Gary

    Glenda – please climb back in the hole you came from. No one is scared of you or your stupid comments.

    June 7, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
  18. Your Neighbor

    Yuck.

    June 7, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
  19. Elise

    This kind of ridiculous bs makes me ashamed to live in Texas. And here I thought the years of embarrassment were over with the Bush era. I mean, what could be more clearly a religious-right-nutjob political stunt than this event? Of course, what should we have expected when we (as a state, not me personally) re-elected our modern day Tricky Dicky?

    June 7, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
  20. PallasAthene

    Two hands working can do more than a thousand hands clasped in prayer.

    June 7, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
    • Woody

      Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day.
      Teach a man to fish, he'll eat for a lifetime.
      Give a man religion, he'll die praying for a fish.

      June 7, 2011 at 11:57 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.