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.


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. Edsyl Vespers

    If you want the American Christian Taliban to come knocking on your door, vote for Rick Perry.

    November 6, 2011 at 9:37 am |
  2. JerseyGeorge

    His faith gave him the guidance to execute the innocent, deprive children of health insurance, pal around with intolerant evangelicals, spend time at his N*****HEAD retreat, profiteering, secede from the Union, so on and so forth. As Gandhi once said: "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ".

    November 6, 2011 at 9:36 am |
  3. GJGVT

    There is no way I could possibly vote for someone who believes they are being called to be the most powerful man on earth by God. This is old testament stuff folks, what's next? Fire and brimstone? Will he have Vegas burned for being sin city? Insanity

    November 6, 2011 at 9:36 am |
  4. Liz the First

    " it is those Christian values that this country was based upon." This statement shows how unfit he is for the presidency. this is not a 'Christian' nation. our laws are based on Greek and Roman laws and our Founding Fathers understood the danger of mixing church and state. how tolerant of the dozens of other belief systems that thrive in this diverse contry would Perry be? my guess is, not at all.

    November 6, 2011 at 9:36 am |
  5. saywho

    There is way too much so-called 'religion' in my life now. I don't want another radical hack telling me how to live. I believe in a supreme being but definitely not the one Perry is pushing.

    November 6, 2011 at 9:35 am |
  6. Dan Crawford

    Mr. Perry's long journey of faith in the absolute grace in money and power, in confident trust in oligarchs, and prayer to the Rand god is an inspiration to everyone who finds the Good News of Jesus Christ the opiate of the weak, the immigrant, the poor, and the morality of the unfit. Thanks for sharing this new approach to faith.

    November 6, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • JR

      Rick Perry has fake plastic hair and claims belief in a sky fairy that doesn't exist.

      Dan, stop hitting on Sue Ellen. She's dead and moldy already too.

      November 6, 2011 at 9:37 am |
  7. JC

    Blessed are the multinational corporations for they shall inherit the Earth.

    November 6, 2011 at 9:34 am |
  8. blotto

    Absolute pandering to the most ignorant amog us.

    November 6, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • Sean

      absolutely right. It is laughable that in the modern era, individuals still pander this ancient fallacy.

      November 6, 2011 at 9:37 am |
    • kevin

      this is an embarrassment. CNN should be ashamed of themselves. Just imagine if the headline read, "Rick Perry: A Mission from Poseidon"

      November 6, 2011 at 9:38 am |
  9. mjschriner

    Sounds like Bush but with a stiff neck

    November 6, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • JR

      And fantastic plastic immovable hair that doesn't move in the wind. His hair is better than his political positions that way.

      November 6, 2011 at 9:39 am |
  10. EZG427

    Prayer for the Day: Jesus, please protect me from some of your followers. Amen.

    November 6, 2011 at 9:32 am |
  11. JW

    Hmmm, he reads the bible everyday, but doesn't think about the meaning of things. Like why God would tell people to kill others, including women and children, in the Old Testament, and then in the New Testament, Christ would advocate nonviolence and love for your enemies. He doesn't contemplate these things because the religious leaders don't want this sort of discussion. They prefer to just skim the surface–provides for more followers and power and wealth.

    November 6, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • JR

      Don't make them face the truth. They can't handle the truth. Better to let them watch TV.

      November 6, 2011 at 9:41 am |
  12. Andy

    Religion + Politics = WAR WAR WAR

    November 6, 2011 at 9:31 am |
  13. SNAPPA

    It's no wonder this country is in such bad shape, these are the people that would lead us? Poor America, when bush was in the White House we saw how bad some moron could make this country. Now we have bush clone two, We don't need cult believers running this nation a congress that has nothing better to do with it's time than to reaffirm a "motto" for a country that has "seperation of church and state" for that motto to be "In god we trust"? Really, is this some sick joke? In god we trust? Did we trust him on 9/11? Did we trust him when Katrina came ashore? Did we trust him when Columbia or Challengers blew up? It makes me sick to think in this day and age we have idiots like perry or bush who obvioulsy have mental issue try to lead this nation. We're all DOOMED!!!

    November 6, 2011 at 9:30 am |
  14. mark

    this sick stuff makes the biggest article on CNN? truly disgusting. "a mission from god"? this guy needs a psych ward, not a key to the white house.

    November 6, 2011 at 9:29 am |
  15. stephen zeber

    perry is no christain !! his action speak very well of who he really is !!! A false christain !!!

    November 6, 2011 at 9:29 am |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by stephen zeber is the No True Scotsman fallacy.


      November 6, 2011 at 9:43 am |
  16. kimsland

    Strangely I do want to see him lose.
    Although his suicide will be a bit sad.

    This poor man has some big issues.
    Although he could be a clown instead
    He's already a pathetic laughing stock.

    November 6, 2011 at 9:28 am |
  17. m

    God does not send an idiot or totally drunk person to progress humanity

    November 6, 2011 at 9:26 am |
    • Rohn

      Noah was a drunk.

      November 6, 2011 at 9:29 am |
    • Janet

      because god doesn't exist.

      November 6, 2011 at 9:44 am |
    • SciGuy

      God is in the heavens, he does whatever he pleases. He rules over the inhabitants of this earth and none can stay his hand. Fools say No God! No God! But he who sits in the heavens laughs at them, and their judgment is coming.

      November 6, 2011 at 10:04 am |
  18. scubadude

    I can only imagine the anti-religious bigots comments about this article. I am not even going to waste my time in reading all the hate and bigotry.

    November 6, 2011 at 9:26 am |
    • kimsland

      Agreed, god is not real

      November 6, 2011 at 9:29 am |
    • sybaris

      As opposed to the pro-religious bigots?

      November 6, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • Cedar rapids

      but you will waste your time, and ours, by posting I see

      November 6, 2011 at 9:40 am |
    • Janet

      Great response, Cedar. You beat me to it.

      November 6, 2011 at 9:44 am |
    • raggedhand

      Closing your mind is a normal, taking-the-easy-road response.

      Countering arguments you don't agree with in a sane, rational, courteous manner is difficult. Thinking is hard work.

      November 6, 2011 at 9:48 am |
  19. madboots

    Ask the terrorists how theocracy is working out for them. The uneducated masses blindly supporting their "religious" leader. Perry would do wonders for us...

    November 6, 2011 at 9:24 am |
  20. JennyTX

    Didn't Jesus tell his followers to care for the sick and the poor? Then why do so many Christians oppose universal health care??

    November 6, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • SciGuy

      Jesus's followers don't need the govt to force their obedience to him, and the many non-followers of Jesus certainly don't want a govt forcing others' religious beliefs on them. Further, Jesus condemned stealing, and you can't have universal health care without stealing from some to give to others.

      November 6, 2011 at 9:37 am |
    • ZarGoth

      Well put.....

      November 6, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • Sid

      Jesus also said that the laws of the OT still apply. It's Sunday. So get out your knife and kill and burn that goat already like the bible says, or god will be displeased and he'll smite us with storms.

      November 6, 2011 at 9:46 am |
    • SciGuy

      Sid, read Hebrews. Now that Jesus has been sacrificed for his people's sins, the old sacrifices are done. Those OT sacrifices all looked forward to God's perfect sacrifice.

      Btw, the Sabbath was the seventh day, not the first.

      November 6, 2011 at 9:59 am |
    • raggedhand

      Jesus said to give to "And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marvelled at him." (Mark 12:17), which means that a tax to pay for universal health care would be totally in-line with traditional Christian values.

      So yes, a good Christian would want the poor and the suffering to be taken care of and would want a social means to do that.

      Gov. Perry, to my mind, is not a good Christian in the traditional sense and this article points it out several times. A "personal relationship with G0d" is inherently narcissistic. It brings the focus of religion to yourself and G0d is reduced to a friend who is only concerned with your welfare. That's why there is now in some evangelical Christian churches the promotion of "wealth" theology (the rich are rich because G0d loves them...not because the Devil favors them) and coffee bars for thirsty worshipers and bowling alleys for entertainment and the idea of charity, self-sacrifice and submitting your own wants and ego to the betterment of others less fortunate takes a backseat.

      November 6, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • SciGuy

      Posted this in wrong spot initially. No, raggedy, a tax that in any way transfers wealth is completely at odds with the Scripture. Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's doesn't address what IS Caesar's. But Thou shalt not steal is profoundly clear and applies no less to govts than to individuals. A good Christian will do what he can to alleviate other's suffering, but would never approve of stealing from some to give to others.

      November 6, 2011 at 10:15 am |
    • Hypatia

      Thanks SciGuy, now we know what kind of Xian you are-the fake kind.

      November 6, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • SciGuy

      Hypatia, your comment might gain some traction if you specify what it is in my position that conveys fakeness.

      November 6, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75
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.