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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. GLPI

    Gotta respect a candidate who respects his Faith..
    Rick- Rock on!

    November 6, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • Patrick Williams

      Not "respects" but "uses" his faith to get the votes of the faithful, that is all...he is a politician.

      November 6, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • hmanity01

      I'll respect one more that keeps it to him/herself, and focuses on the job at hand.

      November 6, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • The heart of a Man

      When one cares not to be Biblically correct and when everything is about being 'politically correct', Rick's faith is in the right place. I respect Rick for that!

      November 6, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Shells

      Exactly!! I live in Texas and haven't always agreed with everything Gov. Perry did, but I will absolutely vote for him. A leader who humbly seeks God's wisdom is far better than a man who tries to lead on his own power and ideas or a man who's belief is in a false doctrine.

      November 6, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  2. James Duncan

    Buchmen was told by GOD to run
    Newt was told by GOD to run, even had affairs for the love of his country.
    Perry was tod by GOD to run.
    I'm a christian. I will not vote for none of them

    November 6, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
  3. Patrick Williams

    For the record, I am a Christian (used to be Evangelical for over 20+ years but am Eastern Orthodox now).

    The GOP does not represent God (nor does the Democratic party). We cannot afford to have a Self-righteous person in office who believes God talks directly to him and tells him to do things – What if "God" tells him to attack Iran and China? What about that? Scary when a person justifies their actions because, "God told me to....."

    November 6, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
  4. Religious sects

    God gave me the mission to vote against Perry ... how wierd is that?!

    November 6, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
  5. Patrick

    Ron Paul just won the Illinois straw poll, has won more than any other candidate. And all I see is an article on the front page of CNN about Rick Perrys "faith journey." What is that?

    November 6, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
  6. Michael Q

    There is no god as portrayed by any organized religious group in this world. Sorry folks, to me it's just a big fairy tale tainted toward whatever an individual or group wishes it to be to justify their own goals. I will vote only for those individuals who base their beliefs on what is good for the greater benefit of mankind without the fear of being stricken down because I don't follow some religious teaching.

    As for Perry, this phoney religious nut job is just another example of using a religion to justify their own power grab whatever it may be. As with the 911 terrorists, Perry would act against those whose religion doesn't match his beliefs. And, the wars just continue to help those who support the military complex to prove 'might is right'. Also, Perry is just another example why the educating of our youth in open education would rid us of these isolated religious freaks.

    November 6, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • Anonymous

      You do realize atheists are a minority, right? There are far more people of faith–all kinds, not just Christian–than there are atheists in the world. Every single President of the United States has been a man of some kind of faith. So....I don't really get where you're coming from with your remarks.

      November 6, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  7. James C

    Newsflash: God in u-turn shocker! Decides to endorse devil for president!

    deja vue anyone?

    November 6, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
  8. Patrick Williams

    If God called him to lead the country – why doesn't God let the rest of us know?

    Why is God telling him to be President but God is telling me that he would be a horrible President? Maybe because it is NOT God's voice in your head BUT YOUR OWN THOUGHTS!

    Come on, Rick – I we supposed to even take your serious with nutty talk like that! Stay in Texas – America does not need more wars and bloodshed.

    November 6, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
  9. Jez

    OMG! Perry is just like the Blues Brothers! They too were on a Mission from God!

    November 6, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  10. Dubya

    If a man and a woman marry in Texas and move to California, are they still first cousins?

    November 6, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  11. hmanity01

    Remove religion from politics. I'm a fiscal conservative, an A&M grad, and a military officer. Reading this article makes me sick. As an atheist I can't vote for Perry now that I think he thinks god wants him to be president. Romney as a Mormon is the only candidate that is keeping his religious beliefs to himself.

    November 6, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • kd

      Romney's keeping it to himself but, being raised around Mormons, he sees himself the same way Perry does. Sorry if that disappoints you, but that is a fact.

      November 6, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • kd

      I meant to say, that I was raised around Mormons but am not one myself. But I had a unique experience in seeing how their faith is intertwined with their politics, work, family – everything. It's very unique and not at all unlike what Perry feels and thinks.

      November 6, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • Jez

      Romney tries to keep religion out of it because his "religion" is a liability. Polygamist, racist roots with magic underpants.

      November 6, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • fsmgroupie

      romney doesn't want all americans to know that he wears the magical mormon underwear

      November 6, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • hmanity01

      I think Romney keeps it out because he realy belives it's all BS. But this country isn't ready for an atheist president. I was raised in a Catholic household....just as crazy as any other

      November 6, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Anonymous

      Gov. Perry never said God wanted him to be president. He said he felt God call him to run for president. There's a difference.

      November 6, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  12. S.A.

    Rarely have I heard such pious, selfrighteous bull**** as this man spouts (or should I say, his minders spout on his behalf). You would probaly do as much good by voting for Harold Camping, at least that nutcase knows when the world will end.......oh wait...

    November 6, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  13. bluemax77

    Holy crap..!! Not another psycho Texan in the White House who talks to God...!! Why are we always the stupid country with clowns like this in government for the world to laugh at – talk about an embarrassment...!

    November 6, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
  14. Laura

    Puleeeeeeeaaaaaase...leave all that stuff at home or in church and see the great big country outside of the Texas boonies.

    November 6, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
  15. Patrick Williams

    I am Independent – if Rick perry gets the GOP nomination, I will support Obama and recommend all the other Independents to do the same.

    We cannot afford another George Bush clone in the office! We will be in World War 3 (WWIII) and many people would die – not very Christian, is it?

    November 6, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • truthfl1

      I am Independent, you are not. Your post reveals you voted for and will again vote for Obama no matter what. If this article
      had the name changed from Perry to Obama, you would vote for Obama.
      You don't fool anyone.

      November 6, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Patrick Williams

      Get out of here...I used to be republican for over 20 years and my wife STILL is Republican. Don't tell me what I am or am not. If Mitt Romney does not get the nomination, I WILL support Obama. I am an independent and would consider supporting Mitt Romney only form the GOP. All the rest are to hard to the right.

      November 6, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • Patrick Williams

      You are totally wrong. I would not vote for ANYONE (Obama included) that I thought would plunge the world into war because they believe God speaks to them and they have a "gun-slinging", Texas mentality.

      Who are you? go away. Vote for Crazy Rick Perry if you want but don't complain when your children are sent off to fight another 10 year war for NOTHING.

      November 6, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Anonymous

      I have lived in Texas for 26 years. Rick Perry and George Bush were two completely different governors. Didn't agree with a lot of things both men did but am mostly satisfied. You are a fool if you think the world didn't change after 9/11. If Gore had been president back then, there's no telling how many 9/11 type incidents we would have had since then.

      November 6, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Patrick Williams

      Anynomous – I am no fool nor am I afraid to put my real and full name up. I served in the Air Force for 21 years. A fool? Hardly – I am just tired of extreme hard-liners from plunging our country into war – it is not right.

      If you are a Christian and you love war, then you are the foolish one, not me. If we are supposed to "love our neighbor" than war is the farthest from that and the exact opposite of that commandment.

      November 6, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  16. Dubya

    In most civilized countries, people who hear voices are rightly considered crazy.

    In the Republican party they run for President.

    November 6, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • Chad

      "Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility we all have to have as human beings, that we’re sinful and we’re flawed and we make mistakes, and that we achieve salvation through the grace of God" – Barack Hussein Obama

      "I remember how I felt [when I heard] the promise of the scriptures in Isaiah, where God says to Isaiah "Fear not for I will redeem thee. Call me by thy name. Thou art mine." William Jefferson Clinton

      Sorry to interrupt your inaccurate train of thought though...

      November 6, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • Criminy

      They believe they hear God. They believe all have sinned... yet they do not worry about their own sin, they ridicule other peoples' sins and those people... and attempt to deny those people their freedoms.

      November 6, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • Religious sects

      LOL Chad ... lol
      Good point Dubya & accurate too!

      November 6, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
  17. Rick

    I think Rick Perry has took Bill Maher advice about the Mushrooms..

    November 6, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  18. rick perrytwit ... slack jawed bible thumper

    Rick Perry loves the baby jesus but he loves to boink his cousins even more. Yeeehawwww !!

    November 6, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • fsmgroupie

      thanks best laugh all day

      November 6, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Anonymous

      If you can look yourself in the mirror after a comment like that and still think you're funny....you are a very sick, sad little person.

      November 6, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  19. liberalyahoo2323

    George Bush Incarnate.

    November 6, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
  20. RichardSRussell

    Weren't Torquemada and Osama bin Laden ALSO on a mission from God?

    November 6, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
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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.