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Ahead of presidential bid, Rick Perry and evangelical leaders court each other
Texas Gov. Rick Perry leads a prayer event August 6 in Houston. Thousands prayed for God to save "a nation in crisis."
August 12th, 2011
07:37 AM ET

Ahead of presidential bid, Rick Perry and evangelical leaders court each other

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) – Evangelical pastor Jim Garlow has met Texas Gov. Rick Perry only once, but the politician left quite an impression.

Garlow, who is based in California, where he helped lead the campaign to ban same-sex marriage in the state, was attending a big prayer rally that Perry sponsored last weekend in Houston when he and his wife were invited backstage with the governor.

“My wife has stage 4 cancer, and Perry ended up talking with her quite a bit and praying for her and her healing,” Garlow said. “We spent a fair amount of time backstage.”

Though Garlow notes that the meeting was personal, not political, he is hardly the only conservative evangelical leader who has begun forming a relationship with Perry in recent days.

As the Texas governor has mulled a bid for the presidency over the last few months – a source familiar with his plans says he will formally announce his candidacy on Saturday – Perry and his circle have reached out to Christian activists who will be influential in the GOP primaries.

At the same time, many of those conservative leaders - underwhelmed by the Republican presidential field so far - have contacted Perry and those close to him to inquire about his commitment to causes like opposition to  abortion and same-sex marriage.

The flurry of meetings and phone calls portends a primary campaign that is likely to rely heavily on evangelical support, presenting a serious challenge to socially conservative candidates like Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann and creating the possibility of two-person race between Perry, a Christian Right darling, and the more establishment Mitt Romney.

“There’s been a significant attempt by him and his staff to reach out to conservative Christian leaders and it’s now going to a new level,” says Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Council, a conservative Christian advocacy group, talking about Perry's outreach.

“Perry is not making the same mistake that McCain made,” Staver said. “McCain wanted Christian conservative votes but didn’t want to get too close to Christian conservative leaders.”

Kelly Shackelford, a Texas-based evangelical activist who has been close to Perry for 20 years, says he has fielded roughly 100 phone calls in recent weeks from Christian activists across the country who are eager to learn more about Perry.

“People are calling and asking, ‘Is this guy really a social conservative and a fiscal conservative?’ and it’s easy to say yes because I’ve seen it,” said Shackelford, who runs a conservative legal advocacy group called the Liberty Institute. “As far as proving himself, he’s been the most solid conservative I’ve seen anywhere in the country.”

Shackelford says Perry has signed more anti-abortion legislation than any governor in the country, including a recent measure that requires women seeking an abortion in Texas to view a picture of the embryo or fetus and hear a description of its development before having the procedure.

Perry is also a supporter of a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

Many of the activists checking in with Shackelford are concerned that Pawlenty and Bachmann, the other Republican candidates popular among conservative evangelicals, aren’t generating enough support and have limited appeal outside the evangelical subculture.

“They want a candidate who is not only socially and fiscally conservative, but who could actually raise money,” says Shackelford. “Perry can bridge the establishment and grass roots sides of the party and that’s really hard to find.”

Perry, who has presided over a state that has seen strong job growth amid the economic downturn, is considered popular among business groups.

“Rick Perry has the potential to energize tea party and social conservatives, as well as attract endorsements and contributions from GOP donors and elected officials,” said Ralph Reed, who leads the Faith and Freedom Coalition.

“Not unlike another Texas governor, George W. Bush, he can bridge the establishment wing of the party and the conservative grass roots,” said Reed, the former executive director of the Christian Coalition. “That’s quite a combination, and my sense is he will reshuffle this race in a significant way.”

Romney, the current establishment favorite, is unpopular among many conservative Christian activists because of his onetime support for abortion rights and because of a health care law he signed as governor of Massachusetts that mandates coverage.

And Romney, a Mormon, faces obstacles in connecting with evangelical voters along religious lines, as Perry, Pawlenty and Bachmann appear to be doing.

A CNN/ORC International Poll released Thursday showed 15% of Republican and independent voters who lean toward the GOP picked Perry as their choice for the Republican nomination.

That put Perry, still not officially a candidate, just 2 percentage points behind Romney, considered the front-runner in the nominating process. Romney's advantage over Perry is within the survey's sampling error.

Much of the evangelical organizing around Perry grew out of last weekend’s Houston prayer rally, called The Response, which Perry began organizing last year.

The event, cosponsored by conservative evangelical groups, was aimed at bringing God's help to a "nation in crisis,” and drew thousands of worshippers.

“I got involved in The Response three or four months ago and at that time, the Perry for president push was not the issue," said Garlow, who is supporting Newt Gingrich for president but has been disappointed in the response to the former House Speaker's campaign so far. "It became that way primarily after Huckabee pulled his name out of the race.”

Indeed, many conservative activists began calling on Perry to run only after former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee announced in May that he would not seek the White House.

“I was astounded at the pressure on him to run," Garlow said. "You felt it building and we were trying to plan this prayer event and we’re saying, ‘How do we keep this out of politics because this is about Christ?' ”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Politics • Rick Perry

soundoff (573 Responses)
  1. EatRunDive

    Perry is a sham. Texas has lower unemployment than the rest of the nation because of our oil and gas business. His major job-creating accomplishment was getting a California fast food establishment to open in Texas.

    August 12, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • J.W

      Yeah plus there are budget problems too

      August 12, 2011 at 10:34 am |
  2. Civiloutside

    Your post appears to as-sume that everyone is a single-issue voter, and that their single issue is abortion (or possibly that if they are *not* single-issue, pro-life voters, then they are immoral). Real life is actually a bit more complicated than that, as I'm sure you know.

    I, for one, consider myself relatively pro-choice (which is not the same as pro-abortion – I have never encouraged anyone to get one, and I can only imagine the very rarest of circu-mstances in which I would – it just means I think there are valid reasons for it to remain legal). But I would consider voting for a pro-life candidate if their other policies made better sense than those of a pro-choice opponent. I don't see that being a possibility with a Perry or a Bachman, but it might be with a Romney.

    August 12, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • Civiloutside

      Meant to be a reply to Reality's post about the "immoral majority."

      August 12, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • Frogist

      @Civiloutside: I would have a really hard time choosing a pro-life candidate. The sheer number of attacks on women's health programs to circ-umvent abortion being legal makes me think a pro-life candidate will take it the extra mile and do their best to throw out Roe v Wade. I can't support that in the current climate. If that makes me a single issue voter, then I'll be that. The only way I could vote for a pro-life candidate is if I get the sense from him/her that they are not fanatical about it to the point that they will continue to dismantle the rights of women or access to needed healthcare.

      August 12, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
  3. Aaron

    Another hypocritical religious fanatic. Trailer parks across the country will rise up in joy.

    August 12, 2011 at 10:09 am |
  4. Lacking Evidence since 14 Billion BCE

    How's that praying for rain thing going? I hear people are going to have to start drinking sewage soon.

    August 12, 2011 at 9:59 am |
    • Atheist

      ha.

      August 12, 2011 at 10:09 am |
    • J.W

      There was rain in the north part of Texas yesterday.

      August 12, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • Frogist

      @JW: So Gov Perry's prayers have finally been answered! I guess those darn Somalis didn't pray hard enough. Die, you heathen children!

      August 12, 2011 at 11:16 am |
  5. clwyd

    We don't need some religious nut from Texas who said that his state should secede from the union being president. Look at the last jerk we had from Texas and the father before him!

    August 12, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • Janine from TX

      Exactly! Many of us from Texas can see through Perry and for those who don't, you will. Just make sure it isn't too late.

      August 12, 2011 at 10:00 am |
  6. Chas in Iowa

    Ric Perry is a coward!
    He sits back and waits until it is to late to partisipate in any debate or be interviewed by the press prior to the Iowa cacus. The reason for this? He doesn't have to open his mouth or start revealing his wacko views until he gets a bunch of free pubicity. His popularity will be short lived once folks get a little information from the guy and look at his history.

    August 12, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • Frogist

      @Chas in Iowa: I was wondering that myself. Why didn't he throw his hat in and participate in the Iowa debates especially if Iowa is so crucial for a candidate? Does he not think he needs to be there?

      August 12, 2011 at 10:11 am |
  7. nagrom

    Keeping religion out of politics is what this great country was built on and what the extreme righteous radicals are trying to destroy. Don't want big government but want government to step on human rights and pass laws outlawing those rights. To them not everyone is created equal if they don't think or act the way they do. The rich conservatives will throw their money and support behind Perry because he is a demonizer to the poor and middle class. I just hope that there are enough middle class people left in this country to see the evil that is being created with the evangelicals and fundamentalists to vote against these terrorists.

    August 12, 2011 at 9:54 am |
    • Frogist

      @nagrom: I'm genuinely confused why some people vote for politicians who want to destroy the safety net that they themselves use. I can't understand why anyone on Medicare or unemployment would vote for one of these people who want to remove their access to those programs. Is it really as simple as they don't understand? Or is there something else going on? Also it's always "No big gov't" except when it comes to infringing on a woman's right to choose and what gay men do.

      August 12, 2011 at 10:08 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Frogist

      Good morning -CK...

      I certainly don't have all the answers to the complexities of which you have brought up here.

      And, I can say with some relative certainty that a lot of what is happening is that the poor, the often less than intelligent, etc... don't really think these things through quite as thoroughly as a lot of us do. (yes... generalizing a bit here). And with that said, the radical 'right' through their constant push and message that the left is evil... of the devil, etc... end times propaganda, it becomes a game of 'hey' don't pay attention to the social programs over here that we will all most likely depend on one day, but... look over 'here' at we are out to 'save souls' !!!!!!!!!!!!!! You know... gays are destroying society, pro-choicers are 'baby murderers', etc... etc...

      In essence, their agenda is about what God 'wants' and is expected of a 'good christian,' and with facing a choice about social programs that we all pay into that are there for us vs. doing God' work and 'saving souls'... what are most of the 'sheeple' going to choose...?

      And let's not forget people of extreme wealth, that will often 'tend' toward the radical right or GOP. I would venture to guess that a lot of them aren't so much interested in the 'saving souls' aspect, but in 'saving money' aspect, as the GOP has demonstrably stated through Grover Norquist, that they 'absolutely will 'not' raise taxes on the wealthy, regardless what S & P has said what our country needs to do to help us get our AAA credit rating back... which is..."raise taxes on the wealthy."

      So, of course the uber wealthy are going to fight to keep their multi-millions and billions and at times, literally end up paying little to -0- tax because of the loop-holes.

      I'm quite sure that is 'some' of what is going on, and maybe a bit simplistic but... there ya' go.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 12, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • Frogist

      @Peace2All: I have no doubt that some of that is going on regards the rich wanting to stay as rich as possible and the religious who wouldn't have any qualms doing what's in their worst interest for the sake of their God. They are doing what makes sense to them as desp-icable as that is. But there are people who do not fit into either of those categories who seem to have their eyes closed. I'm sure some of it is tradition where people will vote Repub religiously no matter what. But what gets me are the older voters who depend on Social Security or Medicare, the "middle class" people who are getting downsized or losing their homes or paying fantastic amounts for healthcare or whose children's schools are being closed, or the younger people who won't be able to afford college because their student loans are in danger and have been preyed upon by credit card companies and are swimming in debt. How do those people reconcile voting for candidates who are telling them we are going to make this a gov't that will not help you when you need help the most? All of them can't just be falling for the "reds under the beds" argument, can they?

      August 12, 2011 at 11:02 am |
    • Civiloutside

      There are a lot of factors at work. One is that people slashing things like Medicare and Social Security often try to include cut-offs so that current seniors don't lose benefits, but rather the next generation if seniors starts seeing theirs reduces. This has the effect of peeling off the segment of voters willing to vote their own self interest at the expense of others (though it also, legitimately, can claim the purpose is that the current beneficiaries don't have the chance to prepare, while later generations do). Also, believe it or not, I have heard low-income people argue that they don't want to increase taxes on the rich because they hope to be rich themselves someday and don't want to have to pay higher taxes if/when that happens.

      August 12, 2011 at 11:45 am |
  8. Veritas

    No please, not another religious ignorant dummy in the WH. We already tried that with GWB.

    August 12, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Veritas

      You should not insult other people. People like you are more appropriate for jail, than for WH.

      August 12, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Rainer Braendlein

      Hey -Rainer...

      You Said to @Veritas: " You should not insult other people. People like you are more appropriate for jail, than for WH. "

      Hmmm.... So, on the one hand you are telling -Veritas what he 'shouldn't do... which is basically engaging in his right to free speech... and... then telling him because he engaged in his right to 'free speech' that he should (basically) go to 'jail'

      Does that kind of thinking 'ring a bell' for you about your countries past, oh... say in the 1930's and 40's...?

      Given that you have called for "nuking" the Muslim's with "devotion" as they are (satanic hosts)...

      What's up with all of your nonsense...?

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 12, 2011 at 10:04 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Peace2All

      Veritas used the word "dummy". Isn't that word insulting like jerk or so?

      I am a German and live in Germany. I have no feeling how abusive words are.

      August 12, 2011 at 10:09 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Peace2All

      No, I implied the assault of an aggressive Muslim army. I only would cast nukes on aggressive Muslim soldiers, if they would attack a guiltless country.

      In other words: A guiltless country, which is attacked by an aggressive Muslim army, has the right to defend itself by any means.

      August 12, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • Frogist

      @Rainier: I'm not sure but defense "by any means" doesn't sound like "defense" esp when you're talking about nuking people.

      August 12, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Rainer Braendlein

      You Said: " Veritas used the word "dummy". Isn't that word insulting like jerk or so? "

      I think that you probably know the answer to this already, but they are not the same, and... yes they can both be used as insults. However, that's not the point, which you seem to have missed or are dodging.

      In our country, we can basically say what we want ... we have 'free speech.' Yes, there are a few rules around that but in general, again, we can say what we want.

      Your equating him for making an 'insult is = to he should be in 'jail' is absolutely 'ludicrous.'

      You Said: " I am a German and live in Germany. I have no feeling how abusive words are. "

      Ahh... again, I think that you do. And as long as you are not inciting people to harm others or making direct threats to harm others etc... being 'abusive' with 'words' is generally not a crime that is worthy of jail.

      I know it was in your country... back in the 30's and 40's... and for not even saying things, but for just being 'different' and not of the 'master race.' A lot more than jail happened to segments of society, yes...?

      You Said: " No, I implied the assault of an aggressive Muslim army. I only would cast nukes on aggressive Muslim soldiers, if they would attack a guiltless country.

      In other words: A guiltless country, which is attacked by an aggressive Muslim army, has the right to defend itself by any means. "

      Oh, but -Rainer... that is not exactly true is it...? Do I need to have to go back and find your postings on a couple of those other articles, where you directly call for "nuking" muslims with "devotion" as they are (satanic hosts)...? Yes, you did mention, should they attack, however, this had "Holy War" written all over it... especially "nuking them with 'devotion.'"

      So, we have been attacked, as have other countries... should we– the U.S–... "nuke" the satanic muslim's...?

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 12, 2011 at 10:45 am |
  9. Rainer Braendlein

    In a way I appreciate Gov. Rick Perry's prayer. He tries to promote Christianity, which is the religion with the highest credibility.

    I suppose, public prayers of governors belong to the American way of life. I consider that. In Germany public prayers of politicans are not usual. Every nation has it's own habits.

    I am an adherent of seperation of state and church, although I very appreciate personal faith of a governor. Everybody is welcome in the House of God: High people and low people. Their faith makes them brothers.

    Their is no commandment: "A governor shall not pray publically!" Not at all. There is merely a danger, when state and church are mixed. Imagine a church council, which is attended even by ordinary church members, not solely by bishops. Assumed, one of the ordinary church members is a secular governor and raises his voice, people would start immediately to listen very carefully, what he says. This is all correct as long as other participants of the council are allowed to contradict the governor during the council, because during the council all participants are brothers in the eyes of God. A church council must be led by the Holy Spirit, that means that during the council no single participant has a right to impose his single personal opinion. A church council should work like a parliament.

    As soon as Gov. Perry prays publically, he de facto behaves like a bishop or ecclesiastical leader. With intention or not he pushes forward his spiritual influence by the secular office, he holds. This should be taken in account.

    I would suggest: Why doesn't any Methodist bishop pray publically for the prosperity of America? Isn't that the task of a bishop?

    August 12, 2011 at 9:37 am |
    • joe

      "...which is the religion with the highest credibility."

      lol

      August 12, 2011 at 9:59 am |
    • Martin T

      You are certainly worth a good laugh each day, thank you....

      August 12, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Given that on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 being the most credible, I would rate the most credible religion as 1, I don't think the t/itle of "Most Credible Religion" is anything to be proud of. But then, I don't think religion is anything to be proud of and look forward to the day when religion is correctly viewed as nothing but a longer lasting strain of astrology (religion's predecessor on the tribal belief evolutionary tree).

      August 12, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
  10. Frogist

    It is very disconcerting this swarming of evangelicals to seek out politicians to promote and vice versa. I thought this sort of thing was frowned upon. Churches aren't supposed to endorse politicians and politics are not supposed to be determined by religion. I guess, I just never knew how blatantly or often that line was crossed. Or maybe it just seems more wrong now that I'm specifically looking at it. It also seems very wrong that someone wouldn't vote for Romney just because he's mormon. Doesn't that seem a little bigotted to anyone?
    Also did anyone watch the circus from Iowa last night? I only caught a few bits of it. Twitter reporting of it was hilarious! And Politifact was live fact-checking as the debate went on. Most posters couldn't decide who won. But they were hovering around the crazy ones: Santorum, Bachmann, Cain and Gingrich.

    August 12, 2011 at 9:37 am |
    • J.W

      I saw the part with Bachman and Pawlenty arguing. And Newt getting mad at Chris Wallace. It was pretty funny. I like how Wallace was getting them to fight.

      August 12, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • Frogist

      @JW: Yeah Chris Wallace was definitely playing them off each other. They asked some pretty pointed questions. I didn't really want to watch it because I knew it would be just a freakshow with a lot of hissing and biting. I caught the end where they were all trying to out-extreme each other on the social issues front. Except for poor Huntsman who to me stood out because he didn't play that game. He even stood up for civil unions for gay people and complimented Boehner's "compromise" debt ceiling plan that the tea party people didn't like.

      August 12, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
  11. FBMarky

    What? Jesus didn't have phones, tweets and blackberrys. Why can't they run their campaign like it was the year 33 AD? That's where they want to take America, that's how they should run. Just saying, you can't claim the Bible rules all, then use technology that isn't biblical to server your god's needs. Pick a stance and get on it.

    August 12, 2011 at 9:32 am |
  12. Faith

    Mr. Rick Perry for the President of USA! America shall live and not die!

    August 12, 2011 at 9:12 am |
    • Martin T

      Yeah, Rick Perry for President! And I'm running for Pope! Let's see how both work out, shall we?

      August 12, 2011 at 11:08 am |
  13. Reality

    To level the playing field, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rick_Perry

    Some excerpts:

    "Perry graduated in 1972 with a degree in animal science. According to Perry's university transcript, he earned 20 B's, 27 C's, and 9 D's. A's and F's were rare."

    Upon graduation, he was commissioned in the United States Air Force, completed pilot training and flew C-130 tactical airlift in the United States, the Middle East, and Europe until 1977. He left the Air Force with the rank of captain, returned to Texas and went into business farming cotton with his father.

    =========================================================================================

    August 12, 2011 at 9:08 am |
  14. John from Brooklyn

    You are, in fact, judged by the company you keep. So, if Rick Perry prides himself in associating with religious fanatics who believe in government activism in religious expression and the restriction of civil liberties in some twisted application of the Christian eqiuvalent to Sharia law.....then, America, you have been warned.

    August 12, 2011 at 8:54 am |
    • Frogist

      @John from Brooklyn: He also associates quite proudly with hate groups who funded his Response. Many of the speakers were anti-Catholic, anti-gay, pro-end times. Disturbing bunch.

      August 12, 2011 at 9:42 am |
  15. Gary Susie

    What we don't need is another loudmouth braggard from Texas for President.

    August 12, 2011 at 8:51 am |
    • Big George in Big D

      Yes, we do!!! Go Perry!!! Kick the crap out of the empty-suited, arrogant Nobama!!!

      August 12, 2011 at 9:16 am |
    • Martin T

      Yeah Big George, you wait for that one... While you are waiting, I have some "investments" you might find interesting... Just send me your money and I'll pray for you to get rich.. how's that?

      August 12, 2011 at 11:10 am |
  16. Michael tampa

    God help us if the Reverend Dr. Rick Perry ever became president. SERMONS from the whitehouse??? What idiot wants to be preached to from the whitehouse.
    Separation of church and STate!!!!

    August 12, 2011 at 8:48 am |
  17. Atheist

    From the article "How do we keep this out of politics because this is about Christ?'"

    At least someone's saying it. But them being against abortion and gay marriage is bringing religion into politics when they sign legislation against it. I could never vote someone into office that is this devout in their religion. I hope he doesn't actually run.

    August 12, 2011 at 8:25 am |
    • CW

      @ Atheist,

      I'm glad that your in the minority....We DO need a christian man to run for the highest office in the land. We need someone who will help get us back to the christian morals that founded this country...NOT the chaos that all the Libe.rals and non-believers want.

      August 12, 2011 at 9:57 am |
    • Atheist

      We don't want chaos, I don't know where you got that from. And despite what you believe, morals can and do exist without a god.
      Also, I'm a conservative. Screw people who use the system and get paid for doing nothing.

      August 12, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    • Frogist

      @CW: I guess you won't be voting Bachmann then.

      August 12, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • J.W

      CW do you think the conservatives are more Christ-like than liberals? Explain how that is.

      August 12, 2011 at 10:54 am |
  18. DrewL

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4tWZNxnABk

    Yeah, the guy who said, "Adios MoFo," on TV, is the darling of the Christian right. He's certainly not the darling of anyone interested in education, judging by his college transcripts: 1 F, 9 Ds and 27 Cs. Is it any wonder he threw Texas schoolchildren under the bus by CUTTING education funding in the current state budget? This guy makes GWB look like Albert Einstein. Ugh.

    August 12, 2011 at 8:15 am |
    • Reality

      To level the playing field, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rick_Perry

      Some excerpts:

      "Perry graduated in 1972 with a degree in animal science. According to Perry's university transcript, he earned 20 B's, 27 C's, and 9 D's. A's and F's were rare."

      Upon graduation, he was commissioned in the United States Air Force, completed pilot training and flew C-130 tactical airlift in the United States, the Middle East, and Europe until 1977. He left the Air Force with the rank of captain, returned to Texas and went into business farming cotton with his father."

      August 12, 2011 at 9:08 am |
    • Big George in Big D

      Your point?

      August 12, 2011 at 9:18 am |
    • Reality

      BG,

      DrewL's or mine? My point was made so that a complete picture of Mr. Perry's background is reviewed before making your conclusions about him.

      August 12, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
  19. Mark L.

    Spelling Lessons of the Day –

    1. How Do You Spell DOOM for the U.S.A.? R.E.P.U.B.L.I.C.A.N.
    2. How Do You Spell ANARCHY in the U.S.A.? T.E.A. P.A.R.T.Y.
    3. How Do You Spell GREAT DEPRESSION in the U.S.A.? H.E.R.B.E.R.T. H.O.O.V.E.R. – R.E.P.U.B.L.I.C.A.N.

    August 12, 2011 at 8:12 am |
    • Reality

      How do you spell the names of three of the great USA presidents?

      LINCOLN. – Republican

      EISENHOWER – Republican

      REAGAN – Republican

      August 12, 2011 at 8:23 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Reality
      You would seriously count Reagan as one of teh greatest presidents?
      He was quite literally losing his mind during his second term!
      Makes his testimony at the Iran Contra hearings believable at least.
      You don't recall authorizing the sale of arms, Mr. President? Of course not. You were in the early stages of senility.
      The American economy is now suffering the fallout of decades of 'trickle-down economics', where the rich/poor disparity is unparalelled.
      His war on drugs is a massive failure, resulting only in a twelvefold increase of incarcerations for possession since 1980. Thanks to him, prisons are now privatized, making huge profits from jailing the economically disadvantaged.
      He was a great president for rich, white men – but not so much for anyone else.
      The right wing is trying very hard to paint him as a saint and a saviour.
      St. Reagan of Gipper – Patron of Afternoon Naps and Plausible Deniability.

      August 12, 2011 at 8:53 am |
    • razmataz

      How do you spell idiot? M.a.r.k. L.!

      August 12, 2011 at 8:54 am |
    • Bob in LA

      REALITY- not one of the men you mentioned would have been associated with today's Republican party. Each and everyone had values far more liberal than what is considered acceptable today to be Republican. Even the most staunch conservative of the recent past- Barry Goldwater- had values far more left leaning than any of the men you mentioned. And for the record- taxes were far higher under Eisenhower and Regan than now because they had advisers that understood the country needed money to run. Find me a Republican with that kind of backbone in 2011

      August 12, 2011 at 9:38 am |
    • nagrom

      Two out of three weren't too bad. How do you spell George Washington? Reagan and trickle down economics was anti union and anti middle class somehow just didn't help the country.

      August 12, 2011 at 9:48 am |
    • Reality

      Remembering Ronald Reagan:

      ""Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem".

      "General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall ! "]

      August 12, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
  20. Reality

    Why the Christian Right no longer matters in presidential elections:

    Once again, all the conservative votes in the country "ain't" going to help a "pro-life" presidential candidate, i.e Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, Ron Paul or Rick Santorum, in 2012 as the "Immoral Majority" rules the country and will be doing so for awhile. The "Immoral Majority" you ask?

    The fastest growing USA voting bloc: In 2008, the 70+ million "Roe vs. Wade mothers and fathers" of aborted womb-babies" whose ranks grow by two million per year i.e. 78+ million "IM" voters in 2012.

    2008 Presidential popular vote results:

    69,456,897 for pro-abortion BO, 59,934,814 for "pro-life" JM.

    And all because many women fail to take the Pill once a day or men fail to use a condom even though in most cases these men have them in their pockets. (maybe they should be called the "Stupid Majority"?)

    (The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions ( one million/yr) and S-TDs (19 million/yr) in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or condoms properly and/or use other safer birth control methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.)

    August 12, 2011 at 8:05 am |
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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.