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November 5th, 2011
10:00 PM ET

Rick Perry’s long faith journey culminates in presidential run

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Editor’s note: This is part of an occasional series of stories looking at the faith of the leading 2012 presidential candidates, including Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich. We also profiled the faith journey of Herman Cain before he suspended his campaign.

Austin, Texas (CNN) – Rick Perry’s new church is not like his old church.

At his new church, several hundred worshippers showed up in jeans on a recent Sunday to listen to high-decibel Christian rock from plush stadium-style seats.

The crowd, mostly under the age of 40, raised their hands to Jesus in between sips of freshly brewed coffee from the java hut in the lobby.

Outside Lake Hills Church – situated on 40 acres about half an hour’s drive from downtown Austin – a dozen sheriff’s deputies managed the Sunday morning traffic rush.

Back in town at Perry’s old church, a graying, neatly dressed crowd of several dozen gathered for services in a stately sanctuary, singing old hymns and reciting communal prayers from hard wooden pews.

There is no java hut at Tarrytown United Methodist Church – and not nearly enough traffic to justify sheriff’s deputies.

Perry’s jump from Tarrytown to Lake Hills mirrors some of the big recent changes in American Christianity: From cities to suburbs, from a formal mainline worship style that relies on liturgy to a more casual evangelical approach that’s all about connecting to Jesus.

The Republican presidential candidate’s 2007 church switch also may mirror something much more personal: The culmination of Perry’s journey from a mainline Protestant upbringing to an evangelical-flavored faith built on close relationships with Baptist preachers and giving public testimony about God.

How Mormonism helped shape Mitt Romney

Politically, his faith evolution creates an opportunity for Perry to connect with the evangelical voters who constitute the Republican Party’s base at a time when some say he’s the only candidate who stands any chance of derailing Mitt Romney’s bid for the GOP nomination, even as he has fallen behind Romney and Herman Cain in the polls.

Perry speaking at an Iowa Faith and Freedom Forum in October.

The Texas governor has made his faith a centerpiece of his presidential campaign in ways both overt and subtle – hardly the first time he has enthusiastically mixed religion and politics.

At a time when Americans have grown accustomed to hearing public officials invoke a kind of generic national religion that’s sensitive to diverse faith traditions and nonbelievers alike, Perry has often gone a big step further, telegraphing a distinctly Christian message.

For instance, when Perry lent his signature to a Texas ballot initiative to constitutionally ban gay marriage – an effort that didn’t even require the governor’s endorsement – he did so on a Sunday from inside an evangelical Christian school.

Opinion: Why Perry needs Palin

And the four-term governor often speaks of a culture war between the nation’s Christians and secular humanists, who he says are trying to stamp religion out of the public square.

“America is going to be guided by some set of values - the question is going to be whose values,” Perry said in a speech at Virginia’s Liberty University in September. “I would suggest … it is those Christian values that this country was based upon.”

Now, as he wages an uphill battle for the Republican nomination, Perry is emphasizing his Christian commitment even more than in the past, trying to line up support from conservative Christian leaders and religious voters nationwide.

Some friends of the governor say he sees his presidential quest as a kind of mission from God.

Rick Perry talks to CNN's John King

“He said he didn’t want to do it, but he felt the Lord was calling him,” says Kelly Shackelford, who recently heard Perry discuss his campaign with religious activists.

“His wife and him were both reluctant,” says Shackelford, an influential conservative activist in Texas. “But as Christians, when you know you’re called to do something, there is no doubt, no hesitation. You just do it.”

“In those days, the churches were full”

Rick Perry grew up in tiny, isolated Paint Creek, an unincorporated farming community on the dusty plains of central Texas.

Paint Creek “was on a farm to market road where they had this Methodist church on one end and a Baptist church on the other and the school in the middle,” Perry’s wife, Anita Perry, told CNN.

For Rick Perry, “life revolved around school, church and – for most boys – the Boy Scouts,” he wrote in his 2008 book, “On My Honor.”

Paint Creek’s Baptists dominated local government and imposed a strict moral code, prohibiting school dances and Halloween carnivals, reasoning that carnival games were tantamount to gambling.

“The school board was nearly all Baptist, and they drew up a dress code every year that was very concerned with hair and short pants and exposing too much skin,” says Wallar Overton, a childhood friend and Perry’s neighbor in Paint Creek.

Overton’s parents, who were Methodists, once held a prom in their house to get around the school’s ban on dancing.

Wallar Overton, Perry’s childhood neighbor from Paint Creek, Texas, says Baptists dominated local government and imposed a strict moral code.

Bud Adkins, the current pastor at the community’s Baptist church, calls such bans “pretty characteristic. That’s how everyone in the area grew up.”

“A lot of parents just felt that dances were where bad things took place,” Adkins says. “Drinking and fighting and carousing and things you shouldn’t be doing.”

Perry said his family was active in both churches when he grew up in Paint Creek in the 1950s and ‘60s.

Perry’s campaign declined interview requests, but his religious friends say his early exposure to both Methodists and Baptists initiated him into the two main branches of American Protestantism – mainline and evangelical.

Mainline Methodists tend to stress good works, while evangelical Baptists focus on personal relationships with God.

“It’s a mix of looking out and looking in,” says David Barton, a Texas-based evangelical activist who has been close to the governor for 20 years. “And it’s why [Perry’s] comfortable in so many different settings, whether it’s a Catholic or a Hispanic or a black church.”

When Perry was growing up in Paint Creek, there was a Methodist and a Baptist church. Only the Baptist congregation survives.

Perry has spoken in scores of Texas churches since becoming governor in 2000, including visits to black churches for Juneteenth, the annual holiday commemorating the arrival of news that President Lincoln's had ended slavery.

Perry’s ties to Texas’ black and Hispanic communities are largely built around faith-related issues such as abortion and gay marriage, on which polls show minorities tend to be more conservative than whites.

Though Perry attended the occasional Baptist revival in Paint Creek and appears to identify as an evangelical today, Overton says the governor was raised squarely in the Methodist church, attending Methodist services and Sunday school, taught by Overton’s mother, every week.

“Baptists taught doctrine,” Overton says. “My mom taught Christianity. ... Her God was a loving God.”

Years later, when Gov. Perry actively supported the death penalty and cuts in government programs for the poor - positions that clashed with the more progressive stances of the United Methodist Church - some fellow Methodists speculated that Paint Creek’s cultural conservatism shaped the governor more than his church did.

“This was a pretty good Bible Belt when we grew up,” says Adkins, who is a few years older than Perry and grew up in Rochester, about 30 miles away. “In those days, the churches were full and the parents were really conservative.”

Going evangelical

When Perry landed back in Paint Creek in the late 1970s, after college at Texas A&M and a four-year stint as an Air Force pilot, its small-town ways helped provoke an identity crisis for the future governor.

Then 27, Perry had been around the world flying huge C-130 cargo planes for the military. But in 1977, he found himself back on the family farm helping his dad.

After a lifetime of structure – Boy Scouts, the Corps of Cadets (a Texas A&M program similar to ROTC), the Air Force – Perry was adrift, struggling to find a path in the face of a wide-open future.

“I was lost, spiritually and emotionally, and I didn’t know how to fix it,” he told Liberty University students in his September appearance there.

Anita Perry, who was dating Perry at the time, said he “came home and all of a sudden he kind of had this world of independence.”

“He went to farm with his dad, who had been farming successfully for many, many years,” she says. “He didn’t really need Rick to come in and tell him how to do the farming.”

For someone who had served as an aircraft commander, the move home felt like a demotion.

“I came back into my old room. I swear to God I know mother cleaned it, but it looked exactly like it did the day I left,” Perry said at a May fundraising event for a Christian prayer rally he helped organize.

“It had my football number on the door, and it had the all-star football game program still stuck on the bulletin board,” he said. “It was an eerie moment for me to move back home.”

Perry says that he found resolution, while still 27, by turning to God.

“My faith journey is not the story of someone who turned to God because I wanted to,” he told students at Liberty, in what has become a mainstay of his speeches to Christian audiences. “It was because I had nowhere else to turn.

“I spent many a night pondering my purpose, talking to God, wondering what to do with this one life among the billions that were on the planet. What I learned as I wrestled with God is that I didn’t have to have all the answers, that they would be revealed to me in due time and that I needed to trust him.”

At other public appearances, Perry has said his soul-searching ended when he realized “I’d been called to the ministry.”

But that turned out to be a call to enter politics. “I’ve just always been really stunned by how big a pulpit I was going to have,” he said at the May fundraiser. “I truly believe with all my heart that God has put me in this place at this time to do his will.”

While being “born again” is considered an important milestone for many evangelicals, Perry isn’t known to describe his experience in 1977 Paint Creek in such terms.

As his wife puts it, “He’d already found Jesus because he had been baptized.”

“I don’t know really how to classify it,” she says of her husband’s experience. “I wasn’t in on that with him. … But I think he found the answer he needed.”

Church with the Bushes

Despite the evangelical overtones of Perry’s life-changing encounter with God, he and his wife joined a Methodist church when they landed in Austin in the mid-1980s, continuing his mainline childhood tradition.

Perry had been elected a state representative as a Democrat from a rural West Texas district in 1985. He was following in the political footsteps of his father, who was a county commissioner at the time.

In 1990, after switching to the Republican Party, Perry was elected agricultural commissioner, his first statewide office. Later, one of the capital’s other prominent families – the Bushes – joined the Perrys at Austin’s Tarrytown United Methodist Church.

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The Tarrytown United Methodist Church in Austin, where the Perrys attended until 2007.

George W. Bush was elected Texas governor in 1994, and he, Laura and their two daughters began attending Tarrytown.

By that time, Tarrytown had gained a reputation as a conservative alternative to Austin’s First United Methodist Church, which is right next door to the state Capitol and boasted high-profile Democratic attendees like Ann Richards, the governor of Texas from 1990 to 1994.

During the 1990s, the Perrys and Bushes were among the worshippers who made a tradition of distributing Holy Communion during Tarrytown’s Christmas Eve services. The Perrys also helped lead confirmation classes as their two children prepared to be confirmed in the church.

Perry was elected lieutenant governor of Texas in 1998, inheriting the governor’s office two years later when Bush left Austin for the White House.

Jim Mayfield, senior pastor at Tarrytown from 1988 to 2006, says the Perrys generally kept a low profile at the church.

“We weren’t close, but it was very cordial,” he says. “They attended worship, and that’s about all they did.”

Perry and then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush attended the same Methodist church in Austin.

At the same time, Perry was forming close relationships with evangelical pastors across the state.

“I’ve known the governor in a personal way for 20 years, since he was agricultural commissioner,” says Ed Young, a prominent Baptist preacher based in Houston. “I see God’s hand leading him and working in his life.

“He has grown in his faith,” says Young, who regularly talks and visits with Perry. “During crises, we look in every direction, and more and more the governor has looked up. Not in some pious God-told-me way, but in humility.”

In 2007, when the Perrys moved to a rented house in West Austin during a governor’s mansion renovation, Young encouraged them to check out an evangelical-style church a protégé had started nearby.

That congregation, Lake Hills, has been Perry’s church home ever since.

For some of Perry’s evangelical friends and supporters, his jump from a mainline to an evangelical church was a sign of spiritual growth.

“Lake Hills is a very strong church, and I’ve seen him get stronger in his faith,” says Shackelford, the conservative Texas activist. “Methodist churches are all over the spectrum. One could be really strong and conservative and the next one could be liberal.”

Anita Perry, meanwhile, says she misses her old church, Tarrytown.

“I miss those traditional hymns,” she told CNN during a recent campaign visit to Bob Jones University, a fundamentalist Christian school in South Carolina.

“The contemporary music [at Lake Hills], you know I hear it and I hear the beat. I hear the words, but I don’t know the words,” she says. “I didn’t grow up in that church; I grew in a traditional church.

“So that transformation for me was hard,” she says. “But I’m truly able to bring something back from the message [at Lake Hills] when I walk out of there.”

Pastors and presidential politics

In late 2004 as Election Day approached, polls showed the country about evenly divided between Perry’s political ally, President Bush, and Democratic challenger John Kerry.

Perry was worried. He headed to a dry creek bed somewhere outside Austin and called his friend James Robison, a Dallas-based televangelist.

“I’m out here in the middle of nowhere, a place so remote I'm surprised I get a cell signal,” Perry said, according to Robison. “I’m sitting down by myself, and I want to pray about the direction of the country.”

Robison had been friends with Presidents Reagan and Bush and had fielded many calls from Gov. Perry. The Baptist preacher said he was moved to learn his state’s chief executive was spending a day alone in the wilderness, praying.

For Robison, the call was “strictly spiritual.” But it could also be seen as evidence of Perry’s effortless fusion of faith and politics.

Perry, center, at a memorial for the crew of the space shuttle Columbia in Lufkin, Texas, in 2003.

In Austin, Perry’s political fans and foes alike say that fusion is best reflected in his track record on abortion.

Since taking office in 2000, Perry has signed laws mandating parental consent for minor girls who want an abortion, slashing state funds for Planned Parenthood and requiring a woman seeking an abortion to first view a sonogram of her fetus. (A federal judge recently issued an injunction effectively blocking that law’s enforcement.)

Supporters say the record testifies to Perry’s faith-based commitment to life.

“He has passed 20-odd pieces of pro-life legislation,” Shackelford says. “He was vilified by the media for it, and he didn’t stand his ground [just] because it was a good policy position. It really all emanated from his faith.”

Critics say the governor has overstepped, compromising women’s basic health care in the name of ideology.

They note that state funding for Planned Parenthood was barred from going to abortions even before he cut it. And they say the sonogram law Perry signed requires doctors to read biased information to women seeking abortions.

“As governor of Texas, Rick Perry has pursued a single-minded agenda: Take away women's health care, destroy Planned Parenthood, and block women's access to safe abortion care,” the Planned Parenthood Action fund wrote in a recent petition drive.

More recently, Perry has become an outspoken advocate for religion in the public square and a vocal opponent of those who don’t believe in God.

“The life of the secular humanist has a depressing end,” Perry writes in “On My Honor.”

“All their possessions will be left behind, and the only thing that will matter is what God thinks of their life in the face of eternity.”

Elsewhere in the book, which tracks what Perry calls a secular war against the Boy Scouts, he characterizes evolution as an inherently atheistic idea.

“Even if one goes along with the atheists’ argument that life evolved from previous forms,” Perry writes, “where did the previous forms come from?”

Many scientists and believers would no doubt disagree with the governor. Polls show that tens of millions of Americans back evolution and also believe in God.

Perhaps Perry’s most audacious religious gesture as governor came in August, when he organized a prayer rally in the stadium where the NFL’s Houston Texans play. The event came a few months after Perry had proclaimed three days of prayer for rain in Texas amid the state’s long drought.

Robison, who helped launch the Christian Right in 1980 when he organized a meeting between then-candidate Reagan and pastors in Houston, says he approached Perry with the idea for the rally late last year to confront what Robison said was a national moral crisis.

“I simply said that we don’t seem to call for prayer anymore, and I referenced the biblical book of Joel, when he calls a solemn assembly after locusts had stripped the crops,” Robison says. “I said to the governor, ‘No one’s called a solemn assembly.’

“I was surprised when he called one,” Robison says. “There just are not many leaders who do that.”

The August prayer event, called “The Response,” was financed by the conservative evangelical American Family Association and was intended to acknowledge that, in Perry’s words, “America is in crisis.”

Perry at The Response prayer rally in Houston.

"We have been besieged by financial debt, terrorism and a multitude of natural disasters," Perry said in the run-up to the rally, which organizers said drew 30,000 people.

Billed as a “day of prayer and fasting,” it also involved dozens of conservative Christian leaders whose support is coveted by most of the Republican White House hopefuls.

But Perry's aides insisted The Response had nothing to do with presidential ambitious.

Aides say that calls for Perry to consider a White House run came only after other big-name Republicans, like Mike Huckabee, Mitch Daniels and Haley Barbour, announced they would not run. And that happened after Response planning was already well under way.

Skeptics argue that Perry, the longest-serving governor in Texas history, had to be at least pondering a White House run since late last year.

Either way, the prayer event created a major political opportunity for Perry. Intense media coverage allowed him to broadcast his Christian commitment to a national audience just one week before formally launching his presidential campaign.

Perry’s Christian messaging could be especially important because Romney, the perceived Republican frontrunner, is a Mormon. Many evangelicals don’t consider Mormons to be Christian, and flaunting his faith could be a way for Perry to distinguish himself.

Last month, a Baptist pastor who introduced Perry at a major conservative gathering stirred controversy by calling Mormonism a cult. Perry has said he disagrees.

Hours with the faithful

In the months since The Response, Perry’s courtship of national Christian leaders has intensified. With Romney locking up support from much of the Republican establishment, Perry is working overtime to shore up his party’s socially conservative base.

Just a few weeks after the Houston prayer rally, roughly 200 religious leaders from across the country, mostly evangelicals, descended on a San Antonio-area ranch for the chance to meet Perry and his wife.

Over the course of a Friday afternoon and a Saturday morning, Rick and Anita Perry talked up the governor’s record and took questions from the audience. James Dobson, founder of the evangelical group Focus on the Family, served as moderator.

Robison, one of the attendees, said the Perrys talked to them for six or seven hours.

“People who were there were stunned,” Robison said. “I’ve spent time with lots of candidates, and I’ve never seen one take that much time.”

Another attendee, Christian activist David Lane, said one audience member asked Anita Perry what people would be most surprised to learn about her husband.

“He’s more spiritual than you probably think,” Texas’ first lady responded, according to Lane. “He reads the Bible every day.”

For the Texas-based pastors and activists in attendance, that was hardly news. But to scores of others who were just getting to know Perry, it was reassuring information.

“As governor, people are not asking you, ‘Tell me when you came to the Lord,’” says Shackelford, who has known Perry for more than a decade. “The people you hang out with every day already know.

“But now he’s running for president,” Shackelford says, “and all of a sudden there are these Christian leaders meeting him for the first time, and they want to know: How did you come to know the Lord? What was your journey?”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Leaders • Politics • Rick Perry

soundoff (3,096 Responses)
  1. Kathy

    This is exactly what we do not need in the Whitehouse... and we don't want evangelical religion period, running things.
    Perry being a Bush wannabe is more than enough reason not to vote for him.

    November 6, 2011 at 2:28 am |
    • Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged

      We don't need Bishop Romney either – or any Bishop for that matter – in the White House.

      November 6, 2011 at 2:47 am |
    • emaho

      A big AMEN to that, sister.

      November 6, 2011 at 7:19 am |
    • Jesus

      Aside from his evangelical appeal, Perry is in the pockets of big business interests (mostly oil). He is exactly what we don't need on several levels.

      November 6, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • Salty Bob

      Oh my stars we need to gather one and all believers in the need to set this country free of religion and all its insanity, lies, and least I forget crimes. A non-beliver as president is what we need. I’m not saying you can’t worship your god or gods. I’m not saying that you cant celebrate its birth, but what I am saying is you cant use the US government to further your agenda and make this country into some kind of religious state that’s not what this country was founded on but escaped from God and King. Religion had its time it was called the dark ages.
      As for Rick Perry the man is not to be trusted nor anyone who says god spoke to him, better Idea would be to seek mental help from licensed professionals.

      December 11, 2011 at 11:49 am |
  2. KevinB

    CNN's religion department is a joke.

    November 6, 2011 at 2:20 am |
    • head count

      you are the audience.

      November 6, 2011 at 2:23 am |
    • Mirosal

      You said "religion" and "joke" in the same sentence .. just get rid of the word "department" in the middle of that and it makes perfect sense. Does Faux News .. oops I meant Fox News have blogs like this site does?

      November 6, 2011 at 2:25 am |
    • Arick

      Religion is a joke, so it is fitting.

      November 6, 2011 at 2:25 am |
    • Henry Miller

      That's because religion is a joke, and not a particularly funny one at that.

      November 6, 2011 at 8:11 am |
    • Jesus

      God spoke to me and told me not to vote for Rick Perry.

      November 7, 2011 at 11:54 am |
  3. Jason

    Join the Revolution!!!!!
    Ron Paul 2012!

    November 6, 2011 at 2:19 am |
    • Joe

      From a life long Democrat, I will be voting for Ron Paul in 2012!!

      November 6, 2011 at 9:36 am |
  4. s kel

    Perry is a meth smoking demon.

    November 6, 2011 at 1:48 am |
    • Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged

      No, he's just a speech-challenged college flunkie from Texas. Sound familiar?

      November 6, 2011 at 2:48 am |
    • Jesus

      READ NY LIPS....NO NEW TEXANS!

      November 7, 2011 at 11:55 am |
  5. Reality

    Is Gilgoff working for the Perry camp?

    Anyway, putting this whole Republican – Christian love fest to rest with a prayer:

    The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen

    November 6, 2011 at 1:06 am |
    • Martin

      Your thesis seems to make sense, but a dead Jesus could not be hailed as Messiah. If Jesus claimed to be Messiah, yet remained dead, the explosive growth of the Christian church in the first century cannot be explained. Early Christians were propelled in their witness that Jesus DID appear after His Crucifixtion.

      Anyway, it doesn't matter.. Jesus is alive today, and if YOU will humble yourself, repent of your sins, He will reveal Himself to YOU:

      Rev 3:20 (Jesus speaking "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me."

      November 6, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
    • Zeke2112

      Martin, do you still really think that a supreme being plays hide and seek with its lowly creations because it "loves" them? If it loves its creations, why the hide and seek? Why the mind games?

      Your love for a being who demands love and worship before it will help you is disturbing.

      November 7, 2011 at 10:34 am |
  6. kimsland

    Hallelujah believers I have the answer.
    You have a mental disorder that thankfully was not there at birth, there is still hope for you, just push aside these strange feelings of religion they are killing you (and me with laughter)
    Good luck fools, there is much burning of the bible and churches to do, but we'll get there, I can feel it.

    November 6, 2011 at 12:28 am |
    • CP in FL

      Amen sister!

      November 7, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
  7. hippypoet

    I could preach about how there is a separation of church and state but i would like to believe that goes without saying...instead i shall present an argument that preaches only provible truth – please give facts a chance to speak before you make you choice of which to belief without understanding...

    The man called jesus has nothing to do with god besides when he spoke about the dude... his message was one of love and compassion... nothing to worship there just a good man with a good message – then when he claims to know things about the afterlife and so called kingdom of heaven all come from eastern beliefs dating from 500 to 600 years before jesus was said to have lived. Zoroasterianism and Buddhism. He combined eastern philosophy and Jewish mysticism to create an image of a caring god who loved you, no matter your faults... this god didn't exist in Jewish belief before this point. He was a vengeful, angry, and jelous god who by force upheld his laws upon man. Just a point of view formed by the history of beliefs and how they evolved over time...From the Jewish god stems war and hatred with stronge racism...all great godly things. The whole of history around the Jewish god is a history of the evolvtion of warfare and military tactics.

    Just some things to think about before you base your life on a message of peace upheld by war and hate, racism and superiority!

    November 6, 2011 at 12:08 am |
    • kimsland

      Yes thanks, I read that a long time ago.
      Plus the December 25th is also been around as a special date LONG before jesus was born.
      Strange hey.
      Pretty sure, hmm yes, that this religious stuff is nonsense.

      November 6, 2011 at 12:13 am |
    • hippypoet

      i am sorry, this post appears to be almost against jew, that is not my intent! I shall swap Jewish god for Abraham's god. again, very sorry.

      November 6, 2011 at 12:13 am |
    • Father O'blivion

      HP, please tell me that these Rebulican candidates are just a joke, and that at election time the Candid Camera will come out and catch me off guard while I am puking in a trach container on the street.....

      November 6, 2011 at 12:17 am |
    • hippypoet

      kim, no offense but you stain my post when you post something on it. It is i believe a result of your arrogance and plain outright angry stnace against believers in general i think. My i offer a piece of advice – say something of value now and again and you might find that others may wish to discuss it with you.

      November 6, 2011 at 12:17 am |
    • kimsland

      hippypoet, no offence but your idea of trying to help these mentally challenged religious fools by educating their mind will NEVER work.

      Religious people are a joke, and the sooner they realize this the better for all.

      November 6, 2011 at 12:24 am |
    • Father O'blivion

      HP, you KNOW I love ya bro, but if you said that to Kimmy you are out of line. She can say whatever she dam well feels like saying, just like you and me. Maybe that was a trolll...and if so, my apologies.

      November 6, 2011 at 12:27 am |
    • kimsland

      No troll, just sometimes I like saying the clear truth, its cleansing Ha

      November 6, 2011 at 12:30 am |
    • Father O'blivion

      I think this is not really Hippy Poet.

      But this IS really me and let me just say this, you Republican Neanderthals can blow me. Bless ya then.

      November 6, 2011 at 12:32 am |
    • kimsland

      No its hippypoet alright.
      He's told me off before, but I still feel the the 'NEW' age of battling these religious fools is by laughing them out of this world.
      He's got his ideas, I have mine. Same cause though.

      November 6, 2011 at 12:34 am |
    • hippypoet

      i agree, i just enjoy the happenstance of a proper factual debate with whoever with knowledge of said topics. So my point by posting facts in an attempt to show truth in the mist of the religious fog is out of the message of jesus – its inspired me to spread the message of truth and justice to all mankind. 🙂 I seek out and study those with messages for not one but all...people of study and wisdom, they often show signs of having a willingness to seek the truth no matter the danger to oneself. That is above all other qualities I think the most highly valuible and honorable Human trait.

      November 6, 2011 at 12:35 am |
    • hippypoet

      and so far every post under this original post has been mine. 🙂 no worries. love ya for your freedom to speak kim, no hate.

      November 6, 2011 at 12:37 am |
    • Father O'blivion

      Hmmmmm....Ok, well I am just a dork and I like you both very much. Carry on and nighty night.

      November 6, 2011 at 12:40 am |
    • hippypoet

      you know kim, fighting with u online gets me hot... u wanna cyber?

      November 6, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  8. kimsland

    I'm over my outburst (wipes a tear from eye)
    Next article please, what is it this time? The sky is falling?
    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

    November 5, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
    • Father O'blivion

      Breath Kimmy, breath.

      The republicans have become living cartoons. Strange and creepy I know, but we must keep our wits about us and focus on what is best for the country. And it certainaly isn't......ins't.....

      Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

      Dam it.

      November 6, 2011 at 12:12 am |
    • head count

      ha haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

      November 6, 2011 at 2:24 am |
  9. kimsland

    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

    I just couldn't hold it in. THEY BELIEVE IN WHAT? Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

    November 5, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • kimsland

      Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

      THESE CHRISTIAN RELIGIOUS ARTICLES ARE RIDICULOUSLY FUNNY.

      Please can they at least put a red nose on? I want even babies to point and laugh too
      Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

      November 5, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
  10. kimsland

    Religious believers are a laugh, they are living jokes.
    Right there was this man see, and he walked on water and performed miracles, did I mention he said he was the son of god?
    ? You're joking right? Seriously that is just so far whacked up crazy, I can't help but laugh at these twits.
    To all religious believers (including the other religion with the Prophet Allah) come on, this is just ludicrous, and you want these people in politics? They are SICK, and they need mental help, plus they are funny to watch as well.
    I mean look at any picture with a religious freak, its funny.

    November 5, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
  11. Alien Orifice

    REDRUM....REDRUM

    November 5, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
  12. Abinadi

    A wonderful story. I will be voting for Romney, but if Romney weren't running I would feel comfortable with a man like Perry. I love hearing stories about how people found God.

    November 5, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      You are what is killing America. Thanks a bunch.

      November 5, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Oh, Abinadi. Where was God when they found him? Was he playing hide and seek? The little rascal. Do you know that you are a total dweeb or is this new information for you?

      November 5, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • Jesus

      Romney? He is a match for Perry. Both are seriously DELUSIONAL. Romney, being a true Mormon, believes that in the 1800s Jeebus came back and walked in the USA not too far away from Branson, Missouri. How anyone could vote for these dolts is a mystery to me. Frankly, I think that behind closed doors both of these candidates would confess that their supposed religious beliefs are for the masses and not held as their true beliefs.

      November 6, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • Zeke2112

      All these people who have found god, and no one has taken a picture?

      I love hearing stories about people living a lifelong delusion.

      November 7, 2011 at 10:35 am |
  13. kimsland

    'situated on 40 acres about half an hour’s drive from downtown Austin'?

    Those poor people!
    By the way, this is a perfect setting for a child abuse cult, yes I agree the government should have the police in attendance.
    Sick twisted religious freaks, hello the holly bible and spirit of jesus is just plain BS

    November 5, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
    • kimsland

      Wait, isn't Rick Perry already a child abuser? Pretty sure I heard he tries to corrupt young minds.
      Rick Perry is sick, very sick, someone put him in hospital or a mental inst!tution, he's damaged goods.

      November 5, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Yeah but he is fun when he is drunk and doing pressers....

      November 5, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
  14. Alien Orifice

    Oh, and gives a flyin' fuk about his faith journey? Please! SEPERATION OF CHURCH AND STATE CNN. Jesus Christ.

    November 5, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • Jesus

      I never thought that we'd be battling Church intrusion of their religious dogma and beliefs into our government in 2011. Talk to any Vet who has been to the middle east about the mentality of the denizens there and then try to imagine how much of their limited culture and intelligence existed 2,000 years ago. Evangelicals worship the belief system of an era marked by (when viewed with respect to today's knowledge) gross ignorance, stupidity, and cruelty. Amazing that most Americans can't see that!

      November 6, 2011 at 11:42 am |
  15. Alien Orifice

    Forgive me if I am wrong, but shouldn't the President of the United States be intelligent and articulate?
    We already had 8 years of Dubya and you people are seriously supporting Rick Perry?????

    And now Rick Perry, the one-time GOP darling now plummeting in the polls, is thinking about quitting the debates. Why? Because, well, he’s just too darn busy, his campaign manager says.

    Too busy doing what? Well, sucking up to Donald Trump, looking for President Obama’s birth certificate, demanding Obama publish his college and law school grades (and the scores of any Cosmo quiz he has ever taken), and trying to explain how a flat tax that still would allow people to pay taxes according to the current (lumpy) IRS laws is a flat tax.

    Of course, the real reason Perry might skip debates: He stinks at them.

    Look, Americans might be able to overlook a lot of, uh, quirks, in someone who wants to be president. Voters might even be willing to elect someone who believes evolution is hogwash. But presidential candidates must be able to think on their feet. Or in their boots.

    Perry is saying this: The debates are just too danged difficult. And, after his previous debate flops, he is sweating the Nov. 15 debate on foreign policy - all those tricky names of foreign leaders and countries.

    Some are also raising a valid question: If Perry gets the GOP nomination, will he be too busy (translation: terrified) to debate the president?

    Rick Perry is a complete moron. Like alll the other GOP candidates.

    November 5, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
    • dave7inVA

      Yes; Barak Obama is articulate but not intelligent or so it would seem with his performance since in office. Unfortunately, the articulate has fooled people.

      November 7, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
  16. News Flash

    We've already been there, done that, with the nut job from Texas. He hasn't got a chance. And besides, if the Almighty wanted to help the US, why would we have to tell him what to do ? Stick you religion up your a$$, and go away.

    November 5, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
    • Jesus

      Best bumper sticker!

      READ MY LIPS...NO MORE TEXANS!

      After "W". Texas ought not to be sending candidates for a Presidential office for the next 100 years.

      November 6, 2011 at 11:45 am |
  17. Florida girl

    well done ...even though many Christians think CNN is anti-Christ – this was well done.
    I already had a crush on Perry and hope America has the good sense to make him POTUS.

    November 5, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
    • Stan

      Working on becoming his favorite intern?

      November 5, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • jonathan

      Are you so sure about Rick Perry?
      Can you trust a man who called for a prayer meeting , then comes out afterwards and announces his candadancy ..Isn't that typical political sleaze you're inching up to...and you're so eager to swallow it up...Don't you think it's wrong to take Christianity and use it for political gain? and with such crass? To bring all these people together in prayer to use them...Christians ought to be praying all the time..and I mean coming together to pray continously to pray. shouldn't we put away all our pleasures and continue to seek God with our whole hearts..sincerly rather thanp[lay the game of politics and to do it so openly as if no one would notice..the incredible hypocrisy blatent right out in the open ..yes we do need to pray and the very fact that this happened right before our eyes and most Christians cannot even see the evil..indicates that we need to be there every DAY!!! How long did we fast that day? 4 hours ?

      November 5, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • Stan

      Keep seeking if you want. No god has been found yet.

      November 5, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Oh yeah, the fact that you think Rick Perry is dreamy is a great reason to vote for him. Maybe he can get Justin Bieber for VP. What are you? Twelve?

      November 5, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Exaclty, you having a cruch on a retard is a great reason to vote for him.

      November 5, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
    • Jesus

      Florida Girl, you've hit the nail on the head with your "CRUSH" on Perry. He is a very handsome man. Homely men can't get elected to national office. You have to go back to the pre-TV era to find a bald homely Presidential candidate from a major party. We are living in the era of looks and sound bites. Meaningful decision making and logoical thinking amongst our electorate takes a back seat to a 10 second sound bite. So sad. That's why we wound up with "W" and why this dolt (Perry) has a shot at the Presidency.

      November 6, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • carrie

      OMG , if America has any sense they will not elect this guy!

      November 6, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  18. Tina Marie

    Perry is a REAL man's man! Republicans, please reconsider Perry! He will unite the party as the nominee...

    November 5, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
    • Stan

      He's gay.

      November 5, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Unite the party, divide the nation even further. You truly must hate America.

      November 5, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • ShawnZZ

      Rick Perry is an evil religious fanatic whose entire worldview revolves around oppression and ignorance. He's the Taliban, America style and so are you. We prefer freedom, thank you.

      November 6, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • Jesus

      I am a real man's man. I hunt, fish, and served in combat. I wouldn't vote for this con artist, if somebody held a gun to my head. Perry is just another smiley face backed by big oil and billionaires. It's a race between Romney and Perry as to which one will lie to as many voting groups as possible to get votes.

      November 6, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  19. Mr Chihuahua

    Rick Perry sucks lol!

    November 5, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
  20. Paul

    God Bless Rick Perry, he is a great man! May the Lord whisk him into the White House as Commander and Chief of the US of A!

    November 5, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
    • Stan

      Here's the sarcasm tag you forgot.

      /s

      November 5, 2011 at 11:05 pm |
    • tallulah13

      The lord has one vote, just like the rest of us. Unless he's a ballot-box stuffing cheater.

      November 6, 2011 at 2:32 am |
    • Mirosal

      Tallulah, I would LOVE to know, just where (state/precinct) is "god" registered to vote? lol ... sorry young lady, I couldn't resist that one 😉

      November 6, 2011 at 2:40 am |
    • ShawnZZ

      We're not interested in your backwards, oppressive theocratic state. This is a secular democratic republic and keep your idiotic religion out of our lives, our government and our laws and move to Afghanistan where that is the culture.

      November 6, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • Zeke2112

      May his holy Pastaness whisk Rick Perry with eggs and flour and boil him in marinara for all eternity.

      November 7, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • Jesus

      God spoke to me and told me that Rick Perry was evil and should never be elected.

      November 7, 2011 at 11:59 am |
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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.