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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. SusieKJ

    Barton's comment is something I hear sometimes though I don't think people realize how demeaning it is. He said “And it’s why [Perry’s] comfortable in so many different settings, whether it’s a Catholic or a Hispanic or a black church.”
    He starts with a religion and then follows it by 2 races, as if they are separate religions. There are a lot of Hispanic Catholics, but he says Hispanic church. To be consistent, would one say "German church"? Of course not.

    November 6, 2011 at 10:48 am |
  2. SM

    I don't want to live in a christian police state.

    November 6, 2011 at 10:47 am |
  3. webspy

    According to Perry, , Cain, , Bachmann, , God told them to run so that makes one religious and 2 nut jobs!

    November 6, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • Ralph

      No kidding! Last thing we need is another whack-job on a mission from God. Bush's assignment was apparently to put us in the toilet and flip the lever... I think we can leave God out of this.

      November 6, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • webspy

      But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He's all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can't handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more. Now, you talk about a good bullchit story. Holy Chit!

      November 6, 2011 at 10:55 am |
  4. Susan Pound

    Frankly, I don't care what religion a candidate embraces. My interest is his qualifications to be president. I will not vote for him since I do not feel he has the qualifications. He doesn't understand that he must be a President who happens to be a Christian not a Christian President. Our founding fathers had it right. SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE.

    November 6, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • webspy

      I care if they think there is a magic guy in the clouds peeking at you, and hes all knowing, so need not peek,,, and a billion years before your born he knows were you end up, but wants to watch anyways,,, well that makes little sense!

      And why would God use a dove to communicate he must be Pagan

      November 6, 2011 at 10:52 am |
  5. Jon39

    As a nation, we went through all of this before when we elected GW Bush twice; it was a disaster of epic proportions, that nearly took down this Country. If America is dumb enough to put Perry in office (who is a near-perfect carbon copy of Bush in terms of policy, mindset, and hubris), then we deserve every bit of the economic & political disaster that will most certainly ensue.

    November 6, 2011 at 10:45 am |
  6. cgs

    What a waste of an article, CNN! Nobody cares about the religion of the candidates. It's all about who will make the best president. Sheeesh!

    November 6, 2011 at 10:45 am |
  7. jefflazrn

    If God had made it rain in answer to Perry's prayer for rain I might consider that his faith is in the true God, but since God didn't make it rain I must conclude that Perry is just another false "christian" of the christian political party. Nothing more.

    November 6, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • CanOnTo

      While we're at it, we could also pray to God to rain down money on us, so we can eradicate the debt. God is all powerful; why stop at (just) water?

      November 6, 2011 at 10:56 am |
  8. libfreak48

    What strikes me most about modern Evangelical Christianity is how comfortable they are going to church and sipping their coffee, attending "rock" concerts, and wielding their political power.

    Jesus Christ was never about any of those things.

    November 6, 2011 at 10:44 am |
  9. AvdBerg

    Rick Perry was born in sin (1 Peter 1:23) and unless he repents he will die in his sin (Romans 8:13). He is spiritually blind and does not know what spirit he serves (Luke 9:55). His faith does not stand in Jesus Christ and the church he belongs to (Lake Hills Church) serves after an image of a false god and a false Christ (Matthew 24:24). For a better understanding what it means to be a sinner, we invite you to read the articles ‘What is Sin?’, ‘Victory over Sin’ and ‘Repent’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca.

    The word repent means a lot more than what by nature you have been made to believe. Please study what it means.

    Also, to give people a better understanding of the issues that divide this world we invite you to read the article ‘CNN Belief Blog ~ Sign of the Times’.

    All of the other pages and articles listed on our website explain how this whole world has been deceived as confirmed by the Word of God in Revelation 12:9. The Bible is true in all things and is the discerner of every thought and the intent of the heart (Hebrews 5:12). The truth is that the natural man is unable to understand the Bible as it is spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14). This is why we call all of mankind to repentance.

    November 6, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • Texas Billie

      If you, the writer, are a natural man, then you probably don't understand the Bible either. What a bunch of B.S.

      November 6, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • Dubya

      Nuttiness. If Christians were anything like Jesus, everyone would be Christian. As it stands, they among the most, hateful, selfish, hypocritical, corrupt people on the planet.

      November 6, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • mendacitysux

      Do I get a set of steak knives too? For only four easy payments............

      November 6, 2011 at 10:55 am |
  10. Glades2

    I'm ashamed to say that I usually attend Sunday Catholic Christian Mass in walking shorts and a t-shirt, as do many in our parish, but that doesn't mean it's right. My late sister (she being very active in her parish) once told me, "If you were going to meet the President, would you wear shorts and a t-shirt?", and of course the answer is no (that even applies to our current President – lol), and that should apply to God first and foremost. As for Perry's "new" church, if I were him, I'd return to the old one – Java, rock music and plushy seats are for shopping malls, not a house of God. That doesn't mean it needs to be plain (since even the oldest cathedrals were the most ornate), but the point of plain seating in a church is that the person is there to focus on God, not on their own physical desires – it seems the opposite is true in this man's new church, and that should raise a red flag. At least he's wearing a suit and tie, hopefully, unlike someone I know...

    November 6, 2011 at 10:43 am |
  11. TheHumanCancer

    So, God gave his children, the Humans, one species of millions, the ability to rise above all reason to destroy the planet they live on while simultaneously destroying themselves with all of the diseases they generate through their greed, gluttony and careless (or carefree) disregard for the environment. Even if so many believers are correct in their belief, and there is a God just like the one that the Bible describes, I am happy to be counted 'Out" of its following. Why? Because no Human should be able to contemplate as many imperfections as the God of the Bible has, according to the Bible.

    November 6, 2011 at 10:43 am |
  12. pfft

    I can't wait to hear what Bill Maher has to say about this mental patient.

    November 6, 2011 at 10:43 am |
  13. dsimpkin

    Great.
    Another zealot who thinks he's on a god-driven mission.
    Texas, you can keep your village idiots!

    November 6, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • Texas Billie

      Right On !

      November 6, 2011 at 10:48 am |
  14. Majestic_Lizard

    Missions from God usually involve murdering people to take their land and property. At least that is the precedent in history.

    November 6, 2011 at 10:40 am |
  15. Dobro

    Are you a believer? Do you believe?! God has spoken and he wants you show your faith by voting for Perry and you will be blessed as a bonus if you send in any money to help. * Picturing Chevy Chase as the healer in Fletch Lives *
    Okay so using religion is the approach to political campaigning now. Last I checked America supposed to be a mixing bowl of races and religions. Pushing Christianity or Mormonism may work at mass but how will it work on the masses?

    November 6, 2011 at 10:40 am |
  16. strangways

    Oh Pleeeeeze – We already had 8 years of a Texan politician with a limited worldview, guided by a "higher authority". No thanks. While I appreciate Perry is self made as opposed to having everything handed to him like GWB (including the presidency), we want to move forward, not backward. Can you imagine Perry dealing with Sarkozy, Putin or Merkel? They'd eat him alive. adios, Perry.

    November 6, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • Texas Billie

      The same guy who told me Perry was a "Texas partyboy" suggested that a Federal law should be passed that no Texan ever be permitted to rn for President.

      November 6, 2011 at 10:47 am |
  17. Dubya

    Bush said God told him to run too. First Bush and now this moron? Is God angry with us?

    November 6, 2011 at 10:38 am |
  18. Texas Billie

    Perry is scary. Here in Texas many believe he is a joke. Yesterday I heard the comment, with scorn, that Perry was simply "another Texas partyboy", despite his religious rantings. Whenever a politician tells us that "God is telling me to do" this or that, the man/woman starts to sound like a dictator. It reminds us of the kings of ancient times, with their "God-given right" to rule. These people like Perry should keep it to themselves. Its one thing to announce that you are a Christian, its another to say that God is telling you to run for office. That's like "God is on our side" in a war. Both sides usually believe that. Let's make sure that this man is not elected our next President.

    November 6, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • DeniseBarber

      Perry is flat out crazy.

      November 6, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • Elmo

      The Chineses are far more advanced than we Americans when it comes to Religion. You can be what faith you want but you cannot prostiltize your faith to others. Thats a punishable offense kinda like smoking in a public area in Southern California. You can be a smoker just not around here anymore. We dont want you teaching other people to be like you.

      December 11, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
  19. profjds

    Perry spent a long time praying to his God for rain during the Texas drought. How did that work out?

    November 6, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • Dubya

      He got fire instead. Evidently God doesn't like him very much. Most Texans don't either.

      November 6, 2011 at 10:40 am |
  20. Joe Brown

    No. I reject Perry and his "faith".
    I don't want a "born-again" "man of the people" running this country.
    I'll take my Harvard Law School grad.

    November 6, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • Aaron Burns

      Amen. I'm about done with the US. I am seeking ANY Canadian womans hand in marriage. 36, smart, cultured, gentleman. Please get me out of here, the US is an insane asylum.

      November 6, 2011 at 10:54 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.