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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. dixie

    Most Americans don't like mormons? Speak for yourself. The latest poll showed 80% of Americans don't care if the candidate is a mormon, even though 52% believed they were Christian. By their works you shall know them, and most mormons seem to be decent people with Christian values, whether you call them "Christian" or not.

    November 6, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • dixie

      sorry, I posted in the wrong place. I was replying to Dave further down who keeps reminding us that he will never vote for a mormon, and made the statement "remember americans don't like mormons whether they are dems or republicans.

      November 6, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • Colin

      Who cares. Let's be honest – the belief that an infitely old, all-knowing sky-god, powerful enough to create the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, will cause people to survive their own phsical deaths and live happily ever after in heaven, if they follow some random laws laid down in Bronze Age Palestine = Judaism.

      Judaism + a belief that the same god impregnated a virgin with himself to give birth to himself, so he could sacrifice himself to himself to negate a rule he himself made = Christianity.

      Christianity + a belief that aliens from other planets mated with humans who will one day be gods, that Jesus and Satan were brothers, that the Israelis colonized America and that magic underwear will protect you = mormonism.

      I sometimes wonder if we really are advancing as a species or just layering our silly superst.itions.

      November 6, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • Chris Goldfinger

      Does it really matter? Digging up tablets from God in the backyard, vs rising from the dead? Which is crazier? Seems like a tossup to me.

      November 6, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  2. LittleLordHoseaComethUntoU2Say

    Ricky... if you're a Christian and good to go ...then please exit the planet now.

    November 6, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
  3. Chris Goldfinger

    here's the real Rick Perry deal:
    http://www.npr.org/2011/08/24/139781021/the-evangelicals-engaged-in-spiritual-warfare

    November 6, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • TheBeautyofFall

      Wow...I read some of that...OMG! Prophets and Apostles support him? The GOP should make him step down just so he doe not embarass his country.

      the most patriot thing he could do is stop running right now and leave the scene! Scary!

      November 6, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • LittleLordHoseaComethUntoU2Say

      Cheers, I didn't know he was an End-timer, this guys has gotta go.

      November 6, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
  4. DW Wood

    What ever happened to separation of church and state? Seems religion plays a large roll if your a republican. Do Americans really want their leaders making decisions based on faith as opposed to the facts at hand in any given situation?

    November 6, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  5. Chris Goldfinger

    Just another fake Christian nutball. Why so much press for this nonsense. In this country it's not only freedom of religion, but freedom FROM religion. This story missed completely the real story, which is that Perry believes that all functions of government should be religious based. He belongs to a sub-cult of other nutters who think this also. This was detailed on NPR in September.

    November 6, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
  6. CeeCee

    "Rick Perry's Mission from God"? The Blues Brothers are somewhere cringing!!!

    November 6, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
  7. Jesus

    Vengance is mine and mine only. Stop children, look up and see what's coming down.

    November 6, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  8. bahminj

    Oh PLeeze I live in Texas and this guy is a bum! The same money that pushed Bush into the governorship are the same bunch that placed Perry in the governors mansion.
    Our government is no longer for the people! Perry cut or undermined every bill for the jobless, pre-school programs, teacher hires and never sought to overturn a death penalty for inmates who declared their innocence to death's door. A Christian ..I don"t think so..actions speak louder than words!

    November 6, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  9. Colin

    10 Signs You Are a Fundamentalist Christian.

    1. You honestly believe, despite everything we have been taught by cosmology, astronomy, geology, biology, history, paleontology and archeology, that the World began about 6,000 years ago with one man, one woman and a magic talking snake. You have no evidence to support you, but your unmatched ability to ignore inconvenient facts and bury your head allows you to maintain this silly mythology into the 21st Century.

    2. You think that, despite Jesus getting it wrong, despite the apostles getting it wrong and despite every single time it was said to be “about to happen” over the last 2,000 years being wrong, the Second Coming is imminent. You fail to see that believing that the “end is neigh” is generally recognized by psychologists as a basic human reaction to one perceiving themselves as a failure in life.

    3. You accept the “leap of faith” as a valid basis for believing in god in the absence of evidence, but fail to see that this makes you a pantheist, because you have to accept that the same leap can be made to any god with equal validity.

    4. You consider simple thoughts like lust and mast.urbation a sin, but have no issue with the disgusting, degenerate way your Bible treats women and $ex and, even today, admire people like Michele Bachmann who consider women second class citizens to men.

    5. You likely deny global warming for no other reason than it makes you uncomfortable and hold science to the impossibly high standard of having to explain every conceivable mystery about the natural World before you will accept it, but some moron rolling around a floor speaking in tongues is enough to convince you he is channeling a spirit.

    6. You will regularly be ripped off and cheated by charismatic “preachers” who are obviously crooks to everybody but you. Ted Haggard, Jimmy Swaggard, Eddie Long, and the other dozen or so who have ripped you off are not enough to convince you that you are a mindless sheep that is regularly being fleeced.

    7. You spout off about the importance of charity and generosity as Biblical principles, but likely support movements like the tea party that promote the evisceration of social policies.

    8. You fail to see that, given your personality, the only reason you are not a fundamentalist Jew, Hindu or Muslim is an accident of where you were born. Had you been born in Iran, you would be one of those bearded half-wits that burns American flags.

    9. You will defend the Bible, an Iron Age collection of Middle Eastern mythology, despite it being indisputable wrong and literally infested with outdated morality, contradictions and barbaric cruelty.

    10. You believe that anybody who does not accept your silly faith will burn in hell. You don’t have to kill, you don’t have to rob, hell, you don’t even have to litter. All you have to do is reject a belief in the Christian god and he will inflict a punishment upon you an infinite times worse than the death penalty….and he loves you. You see no contradiction in using the same sky-fairy as both the carrot and the stick.

    November 6, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • Jesus

      The Ying and Yang my child.
      The positive and the negative.

      The cause and effect my child.

      Crime and punishment. This is what life is all about. You struggle when you are conceived, you struggle when you where being born and after birth the real struggling starts. This is what life is about. To make you strong and feel pain, joy, happiness, dispair. I am preparing you for heaven. Just believe in me, my child. Peace be upon you.

      November 6, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
    • Michael

      If you wrote that, you should be nominated for both a Nobel and a Pulitzer.

      November 6, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • humble proofreader

      Michael - Yes, Colin did... and Yes, he should!

      Colin: I know that you will use this piece again, so please accept my small corrections:

      In #2. neigh = nigh
      In #6. Swaggard = Swaggart
      In #9. indisputable = indisputably

      Long live Colin!

      November 6, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • Colin

      Humble proofreader – thanks mate. It's funny how you can read over the top of the same typo 1000 times.

      Michael, thanks for the compliment.

      November 6, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • asrael

      And I would add a least a few more names to #6: Terry Jones, Harold Camping, Fred Phelps...

      November 6, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  10. laj

    And here is the irony of it all. This guy is such a hypocrite and if people believe they are going to vote for him because of his principles they better do more research on what he has done in Texas. Just read the article in Rolling Stone and it will show what kind of principles he has. This guy is basically for sale for the highest bidder and will see his mother for the right price.

    November 6, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  11. bahminj

    Oh PLeeze I live in Texas and this guy is a bum! The same money that pushed Bush into the governorship are the same bunch that placed Perry in the governors mansion.
    Our government is no longer for the people! Perry cut or undermined every bill for the jobless, pre-school programs, teacher hires and never sought to overturn a death penalty for inmates who declared their innocence to death's door. A Christian ..I don"t think so..actions speak louder than words! A punk politicians yes..for his words are not aligned with his actions!

    November 6, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
  12. TrishBenning

    The pros know how to make money and they're not sharing. But, we know too, and WE ARE SHARING!

    Google the term "Simple Stock Cash" and click on the Top ranked non-ad site! Go to the Penny Stock section to find out what the rich do not want you to know. This will take you to another level of money making!

    November 6, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
  13. JJ

    LMAO! Another religious fool who thinks an imaginary deity wants him to sit in the Oval Office? HAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHA!

    November 6, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
  14. TheBeautyofFall

    For me, it is either between Mitt Romney (Moderate-Republican) or Barak Obama. If the GOP puts forward anyone else, I will support Obama's re-election.

    I believe 100% in God but I believe He is love – not the mean, nasty, intolerant, war-loving god the GOP seems to worship.

    November 6, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • Reflection

      The attributes which one assigns to one's god tells so much about the person.

      November 6, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  15. Michael

    I have no problem with anyone's personally held religious beliefs, indeed I will defend the right of all to hold what ever religious convictions they care to as long as they don't involve human sacrifice, other illegal activity and over the top things like that. However, I am not at all interested in having anyones - or any group of people's - religious beliefs form the basis of a political movement in my country. That I will resist with evey fiber of my being.

    November 6, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  16. Andy

    I'm confused. I thought Fred Phelps was the chosen one.

    November 6, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  17. dave

    I just hope the mormon doesn't win–Tell you how much i hope not–I'm going to vote for the first time and vote for the black guy if romney is the nom–Thats how much i hate mormons

    November 6, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • joe

      That's not very christian of you. What are you afraid of? The mormons I know are very good people.

      November 6, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
  18. Jesus

    In the begining there was nothing and then I created light. I created the earth and heaven's and then mankind of my own image. I then rested on the seventh day (Sunday).

    Stop children, look up and see what's coming down !

    November 6, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • Bob

      Oh shut up and F*%k off. We nailed you to a cross last time and we'll do it again.

      November 6, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • Jesus

      Oh my !

      November 6, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • Michael

      Considering all the pieces of it the Catholics have been selling for the past few hundred years, that must have been a humongous cross.

      November 6, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  19. TheBeautyofFall

    A person could have the meanest personality and be self-absorbed but if he says, "I am conservative, pro-life and an evangelical Christian" then they get their vote – what kind of nonsense is that?

    November 6, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • dave

      Not even die hard born again christians are buying that anymore

      November 6, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • TheBeautyofFall

      Good, Dave, I hope what you wrote is really true! that would be good because they ALL become deeply religious unitl they get elected and then...poof...not as big of a deal anymore....sounds like people are getting used by them!

      November 6, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
  20. Doc

    I have a newsflash for Rick Perry. God doesn't vote. As much as I would love it, Rick Perry has about as much of a chance of being the republican nominee as I do. As least he leaves with a bottle of maple syrup as a nice parting gift.

    November 6, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • dave

      Perry still has a great chance–remember americans don't like mormons wether they are dems or republicans

      November 6, 2011 at 3:46 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.