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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. severinus

    "...faith related issues such as abortion and gay marriage." When I was growing up, "faith related issues" were things like transubstantiation v.s consubstantiation, how God could be both omnipotent and good, the mystery of the holy trinity etc. Abortion and Gay marriage are not faith related issues – they are civil rights.

    November 6, 2011 at 8:24 am |
    • kimsland

      When I was growing up the 'heavens' meant the stars in the universe.
      For some reason religious people have twisted up their minds

      November 6, 2011 at 8:26 am |
    • Mirosal

      ok bible thumpers .. let's hear your views on those 2 things .. it's legal to get an abortion, and being gay is not a crime ... those are our laws .. deal with it or leave the country ... maybe you'll get "raptured" lol

      November 6, 2011 at 8:27 am |
  2. GOP Hate America

    another christian inbreed cramming his fairy tales down every ones throat. mp one asks u to "save" us. go back to texas you coward you dont even want to do another simple campaign debate.

    November 6, 2011 at 8:21 am |
    • dt

      I have come to the realization that the only clear difference between a Muslim jihadi and a Christian jihadi is that one wears a turban.

      November 6, 2011 at 8:29 am |
  3. Ghst1

    Originally I thought that Obama might not get re-elected. After looking at the clowns the GOP are putting forth, I'm hoping he'll get another term. I have no part affiliation – I just want someone INTELLIGENT in the oval office.

    November 6, 2011 at 8:21 am |
    • blake

      You will either get one of the GOP candidates or a Marxist. I will take any one of the GOP candidates (even those that don't fit your definition of intelligence) over a Marxist, hellbent on fundamentally changing America, any day of the week.

      November 6, 2011 at 8:31 am |
  4. kimsland

    When this Ricky guy DOESN'T become president, will that mean god does make mistakes?
    Religious people are hypocrites

    November 6, 2011 at 8:20 am |
  5. JackB

    There is no god, there is no mission. Perry is delusional like all the other believers.

    November 6, 2011 at 8:20 am |
    • Veritas

      And you can imperically prove there is no God, how?

      November 6, 2011 at 8:22 am |
    • kimsland

      Well Veritas, you see god was just made up for the weak and sick minded, seriously it was just meant as a joke.
      I hope you got it now.

      November 6, 2011 at 8:25 am |
    • j

      You can prove there is? How?

      November 6, 2011 at 8:26 am |
    • Rick

      Veritas: How does one prove a negatve?

      November 6, 2011 at 8:27 am |
  6. ak

    There is no god. Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy....and God. Religion is the biggest scam in the history of mankind...and the thought that is plays such a prominent role in the selection of world leaders makes me sick to my stomach. The 'certainty' that is professed by believers across all faiths is itself the ultimate hipocracy. Christians are appalled at the laughable prospect of Jihadist Muslims dying into martyrdom, surrounded by a host of virgins. Yet, they find no absurdity in the idea that a non-believer, who fails to profess his/her faith in Jesus Christ and ask for the forgiveness of sins, but lives a good life (goodness for goodness sake, if you will) will burn in hell because of his/her failed acknowlegement of his/her 'Creator.' I'll bring the marshmallows.

    November 6, 2011 at 8:19 am |
  7. John

    If Rick Perry has Saran Palin help him It will be like the movie Dumb and dumber. Rick Perry Is worse than the last Texas President ,America doesn't need another dumb President from Texas. And It should matter your faith In God that your personal Like It doesn't have anything to do with Politics. You don't have to be a Christian to be President. This Guy Rick Perry shouldn't even Be GOV Of Texas let along President. The way this guy Is he should have a Cult ,Instead of running for President.

    November 6, 2011 at 8:19 am |
  8. kimsland

    Since believers think god is going to blow up the world (every few years stated since I was a little kid)
    You'd think he could just make this guy president by blinking his yes?
    That's strange, he must be useless and pathetic.
    I think god had incest with jesus, because he was fcked up too.
    What say you preacher man, why are these 'lords' pathetic?

    November 6, 2011 at 8:18 am |
  9. bennycat

    Osama bin Laden also believed he was on a mission from God. People who think they know what God wants for other people are the most dangerous people in the world.

    November 6, 2011 at 8:18 am |
    • Bob from Pittsburgh

      These people don't see it that way unfortunately.. but there are as many reiligious fanatics here in the uSA as they are in the midle east..

      November 6, 2011 at 8:20 am |
  10. Religious sects

    Anyone who believes they're on a mission from a God is simply to delusional to be President of the US.

    November 6, 2011 at 8:16 am |
    • Bob from Pittsburgh

      way to go genious..!!!! After Regan, two Bushes, and Now you tell us...

      November 6, 2011 at 8:19 am |
    • Religious sects

      thank you ... we need more "geniouses" that know better than to vote for one of these delusional clowns ... that's the point you seem to have not understood lol

      November 6, 2011 at 8:22 am |
  11. bookgirl

    How dare any political candidate try to shove his or her religion down the people's throat? This help sum up everything that is wrong with the republican party. Separation of church and state is a primary underpinning of our way of life. I could never vote for a republican because they reject this major concept.

    November 6, 2011 at 8:15 am |
    • Douglas

      Excuse the expression, but God help us if this chowderhead gets elected president. I think we learned our lesson with that Texas Jackwagon Bush governing from the pulpit for eight long years.

      November 6, 2011 at 8:20 am |
  12. revolting peasant

    It would be great if all the Christians could get together and define those Christian values they keep making reference to, both for themselves and the rest of us who see the hypocracy in their holyier-than-thou love-thy-neighbor BS.

    November 6, 2011 at 8:15 am |
  13. Rich

    ANY faith that costs you money is a scam...They used to tell the slaves to work hard and the man up above will reward ya.Now they say give till it hurts and you will go to the head of the line in heaven..

    November 6, 2011 at 8:14 am |
    • Mirosal

      uh ... yeah ... that's called an indulgence, and Martin Luther pointed that out in 1517.almost 500 years later and you're just NOW getting it??

      November 6, 2011 at 8:22 am |
  14. Monica Smith

    One very scary candidate cloaked in a disingenuous religious facade. When are people going to see through his tattered veil of hypocrisy. Come on, this country needs real leaders now more than ever.

    November 6, 2011 at 8:14 am |
  15. funktologist

    Rick Perry? I remember him!!!!

    November 6, 2011 at 8:12 am |
  16. jessie bain

    Christian? Rick Perry? Maybe but if God is talking to these candidates and telling them all that this is their time, BEWARE!!! Assuming that there really is a God out there somewhere, if He can't find anyone better that these jerks and weirdos to talk to, then I fear were in DEEP DEEP trouble!!!

    November 6, 2011 at 8:11 am |
    • Monica Smith

      You hit the nail right on the head!

      November 6, 2011 at 8:14 am |
    • BethTX

      Whack-a-loon alert! Beware of anyone who claims God talks to him. By the way, why is it when God speaks to someone it's always about money and power and the seizing thereof? Doesn't God ever just stop to chat about the Knicks or how Lindsay Lohan has let herself go lately?

      November 6, 2011 at 8:22 am |
  17. MoonPan

    Well whatever. Keep in mind his statements about illegal aliens invading your country. He said he will USE YOUR MONEY to educate them ALL! They just need to sneak in and get on welfare and food stamps first (You'll pay for that too along with their free medical), once they do that, PERRY WILL GIVE THEM A $100.000 4+ year bachelor degree AT YOUR EXPENSE! This is out of his own mouth! Plan on PAYING FOR YOUR KIDS TO GO TO COLLEGE OUT OF YOUR OWN POCKET! No free school for citizens unless your a lazy minority. Fork over the cash WHITEE! The illegals are free, as PERRY says, ITS NOT THEIR FAULT!

    And his other statement on illegals I read last week. "I just don't see us deporting 14+ million illegal aliens" SO DONT PLAN ON THEM GOING HOME! With Perry president he will continue to TAKE YOUR MONEY and give to the those who BROKE INTO YOUR COUNTRY TO RA PE IT for their own benefit! As much damage Obama had done to this country I would rather see Obama stay in office than this illegal alien loving treasonous communist!

    Someone needs to remind politicians that THEY ARE SWORN TO PROTECT THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THE UNITED STATES! That's their first and foremost PRIORITY! Every time I walk into Walmart or HEB I have to slap myself to remind me I'm in the U.S. NOT JUAREZ MEXICO! Its pathetic to say the least!

    Of course Perry doesn't have to LIVE WITH THE 3rd WORLD PARASITES DOES HE! WELL I DO!

    November 6, 2011 at 8:11 am |
    • Bob from Pittsburgh

      Thank you Mother Teresa..

      But remember most of the parasites living on welfare are old white and from the south..

      November 6, 2011 at 8:13 am |
    • MoonPan

      Backman is on the side of the American People. She understands what the word. SOVEREIGNTY MEANS! Like she said "Their parents came here illegally and had children knowing perfectly well they would be deported if they were caught" She also said WE ARE NOT GOING TO REWARD LAW BREAKERS! PERRY, ROMNEY and OBAMA WILL AND DO REWARD LAW BREAKERS! WITH YOUR MONEY!

      Well its not our problem what happens to them, they rolled the dice and LOST! Like most law breakers. Ever heard the phrase "CRIME DOESN'T PAY" Will Perry seems to THINK IT DOES and will use YOUR MONEY to pay them with!

      So the reality is if your a Mexican "CRIME DOES PAY IN THE UNITED STATES!" Just get across the border and keep your nose clean and you can rob the idiot Americans SENSELESS and laugh in their faces all the way the BANK!

      CAIN said he will truly protect the border too. Obama, Perry, Romney are NOT what this country needs unless you WANT OPEN BORDERS and you like living with 3rd world peasants in your neighborhoods speaking 3rd world foreign languages. Let PERRY, ROMNEY and OBAMA come over here and shop at my stores in my neighborhood and see how they like feeling like A STRANGER IN THEIR OWN DAM COUNTRY!

      November 6, 2011 at 8:21 am |
    • BethTX

      Well said, Moon. Those of us whose tax money goes to feed, house, and clothe illegals don't want Perry and his bleeding heart.

      November 6, 2011 at 8:23 am |
  18. Da King

    Most responders to this seem to want to express their fear of a God they do not know. Go to a nondenominational Christian church this morning and get to know Him. He loves you.

    November 6, 2011 at 8:10 am |
    • kimsland

      If god shows up I'd hit him out.
      Eternal damnation! I'll kick him to the curb.
      Fools

      November 6, 2011 at 8:12 am |
    • Bob from Pittsburgh

      remember God loves you..!! everybody else thinks you are a moron..!!

      November 6, 2011 at 8:17 am |
    • Mirosal

      Atheists fear no god or devil, for we know that within ALL of us lies the power to kill off any god .. simply don't believe, and they fade into myth. You'll readily admit that "gods" like Zeus, Apollo, Isis, Ra, Thor, Odin et. al. are not real.. there is no difference between those "gods" and yours. in time yours will be where it belongs now, with all the others in the realm of mythology. If those others weren't real, why would yours be?

      November 6, 2011 at 8:18 am |
    • kimsland

      Da King is a moron, agreed Bob from Pittsburgh

      November 6, 2011 at 8:23 am |
    • Tracy Lewis

      If there is a god, he is wholly indifferent to anything that happens on this planet. Watching and reading about these candidates who talk about their faith does nothing but scare me. Religion is ridiculous.

      November 6, 2011 at 8:26 am |
  19. Rick

    Perry is the real guy for president..He looks serious than all other candidates (Obama Included). Nothing happens without faith and God...

    November 6, 2011 at 8:09 am |
    • Bob from Pittsburgh

      I remember another guy on a mision from God, and after three wars and a crumbling economy I am wondering if God wants to punish us again..!!!

      November 6, 2011 at 8:15 am |
  20. Tom

    Here we go, the resurrection of another Texas persidential candidate who will lead this country down the righteous path of God. Please, enough of these Texans already. To quote Kate, "Go away Rick Perry and your kind, leave the union and all of you can migrate to Texas." Yes, secede from our union, because you Texas politicians sure as hell are wreaking havoc for the rest of us.

    November 6, 2011 at 8:09 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.