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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. alex

    Give me a break. He is using faith to regain what he lost. He is an idiot and people need to see through his hypocrisy.

    November 6, 2011 at 6:40 am |
  2. Guest4Me

    Sorry Rick, once again you need to get your facts and history correct. This country was based on freedom of religion and separation of Church and State. Not based on Christianity as you believe and state.

    If you want to believe in the invisible man, that is your prerogative, just don't shove it down my throat!!

    This is truly a scary man and he thinks he could be president?? He needs more mushrooms...............

    November 6, 2011 at 6:36 am |
  3. Andy Gallaher

    I am so tired of self indulgent, moralizing religion. People who follow dogmatgic religion are weak minded, and like to be told what to do as they are too afraid to think for themselves

    November 6, 2011 at 6:34 am |
  4. jon

    An atheist is just a poor unhappy sot that seeks self-gratification by trying to drag down the happy people around them. It's not enough that they are unfufilled and miserable...they want everyone else to feel the same.

    November 6, 2011 at 6:33 am |
    • Victor81

      Hardly, and that's not the consensus. The fact is, we have a clearer understanding of the risks associated with beliefs and government and choose to focus on that which is mutually known and understood, instead of merely what we've been told. Think religiots make good leaders? Look no further than Iran.

      November 6, 2011 at 6:49 am |
    • Mirosal

      Actually, we are NOT unhappy. Not by a long shot. it amuses us greatly to see "righteous people" like you take it upon yourselves to judge those that are not like you. Your utter hypocrisy makes us laugh all the day long. We are happy because we are not bound by rules and "laws" set forht by invisible sky-fairies. we have no fear of your "god" or your "devil", and your threats of "Atheists are going to hell" just let us know how ignorant you are. You fail to realize that too many Atheist have years upon years of "religious" education. We just got smart enough to regurgitate in time ot enjoy our lives.

      November 6, 2011 at 6:51 am |
    • tallulah13

      So apparently that whole "thou shalt not bear false witness" commandment doesn't apply to christians? Why else would you feel so free to make thing up about people you don't know then say it in a public forum as if it was a fact? Sparky, if there's a hell, we'll see you there.

      November 6, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
  5. MAngeline

    It's truly scary that Perry is running for President. Totally agree with ron4152 these type of zealots are no different from the terrorists who caused 9/11. Their religious beliefs were the "excuse" for their evil deeds. Extremism in religion is bad...no matter whose religion it is. Wasn't going to work in this Presidential campaign, but if Perry is the nominee, looks like I'll be on a corner with an Obama sign again this time around!

    November 6, 2011 at 6:33 am |
  6. Ben Boothe, The Boothe Ranch

    We find it interesting that Rick Perry is using "W's" playbook. Just when he wants to enter an important political race he actively begins to court the religious right. We cannot know or judge what is in his heart, but "W's" political advisors told him that he could win a presidency if he joined and publicly touted a friendship with the evangelical Christians. As Barry Goldwater said: "If the preachers and religious people gain control of the Republican Party we are in trouble. They scare me." Au H20, yes I supported him because he had an integrity…was right on this one. Brother Rick's religion, if it is sincere, would have much more credibility if he kept it personal and private instead of using it as "media" hype. It comes across as rank manipulation. But of course, that is what the political advisers say works. Religious zeal can overcome logic and calm thinking. My dear brother Rick, if you are real, come by the Boothe Ranch sometime, without the media, and lets go out to the prayer garden and spend some time. That, my guess will happen when Hell freezes over.

    November 6, 2011 at 6:32 am |
  7. Doug

    Why do the most disgusting people always say they are so religious ? This man is a liar and an immoral freak.. Why would he even go here..

    November 6, 2011 at 6:31 am |
    • Victor81

      It should be quite clear that he is pandering to, unfortunately, quite a large base here in the US that still believe, listen, and talk to imaginary friends. Hardly the sort capable of leading a modern, civil society.

      November 6, 2011 at 6:56 am |
  8. Franny

    There's one really exceptional teaching in the Bible which many ignore. That is telling us to first seek the knowledge, and so many ignore that command. Who knows. Maybe we are all worshiping Aliens, and one day they'll come back for us? I don't happen to believe we are the only planet with intelligent life, or in our planet's case unintelligent life! We probably have only scratched the surface as far as being civilized!

    November 6, 2011 at 6:30 am |
  9. ccatx

    Sandra, John, Victor, Ron all said it better than I can. Anyone listening to god for direction cannot be trusted to lead with intelligence and to do what is best for our country – our plural, multicultural country with no established religion. We are all given the freedom to believe different things, or nothing at all, about god & the beliefs of christians are not singularly held throughout our population in this country. As it should be.

    November 6, 2011 at 6:29 am |
  10. Matt

    This should prove interesting for the conservatives out there:

    "Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise. I know, I've tried to deal with them."

    - Barry Goldwater

    November 6, 2011 at 6:24 am |
    • Mirosal

      I just had that very picture shared to me on Facebook, and I also shared it.

      November 6, 2011 at 6:28 am |
    • wacokid

      So true about the far right!

      November 6, 2011 at 6:35 am |
    • wacokid

      QFT!

      November 6, 2011 at 6:38 am |
  11. Bernard Webb

    I have noticed that politicians who strike me as especially dumb, ignorant, or uneducated invariably turn out to be strongly religious and "faith driven". Perry is a primo example, but most of today's republicans appear to me to be just like him: dumb and religious. (Bachmann is another dumb religious crank, so is Palin.)

    Is this some kind of coincidence? Does religion make people dumb? Do dumb people naturally become religious? Are there any SMART super-religious people?

    So many questions.

    November 6, 2011 at 6:23 am |
  12. Billy Davis

    So God told him to run for President. I despise these phony religious people. I guess god told him to be a racist, a liar, a thief and to kill innocent people on death row. Funny, how these Evangelical Christoans hates everyone and everything not like them. Fakers.

    November 6, 2011 at 6:23 am |
  13. Bonnie

    It is FALSE religion that kills and turns people away from the truth. The teachings of Jesus Christ found at Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the Bible, promote truth and the unity truth brings, pursuing peace and obedience to the rightful and just ways of our Almighty God. Most so-called "Christians" today are false; they think Jesus Christ is Almighty God, proving that they do not know either one. See John chapter 5 in the Bible, where Jesus tells us he is NOT God.

    November 6, 2011 at 6:23 am |
    • Mirosal

      There is no such thing as a true religion. Every religion since the dawn of man has ultimately been found to be false, and is relegated to the realm of mythology. It's only a matter of time before your "holy" book becomes the stuff of legend.. only because it IS a legend.

      November 6, 2011 at 6:27 am |
  14. Tom

    Religion has NO place in government.

    November 6, 2011 at 6:23 am |
  15. Craig

    Jesus taught us much on how EVIL being one of the super rich is, how much it is AGAINST god. These supposedly 'god-fearing' republicans ignore all Jesus said, they are all *hypocrites*

    Luke 12:15 — “Then he said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.’ ”
    Mark 12:43-44 — “Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.’ ”
    Luke 6:24 — “But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.”
    Matthew 25:34-40 — “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ ”
    Mark 10:21 — “Jesus looked at him and loved him. ‘One thing you lack,’ he said. ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ ”
    Matthew 6:19-21 — “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” [cf. Luke 12:34]
    Luke 14:33 — “In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.”

    November 6, 2011 at 6:21 am |
    • Mirosal

      Not listening to jesus, or "god" is NOT an act of hypocrisy. It is an act of reason, logic and common sense.

      November 6, 2011 at 6:24 am |
    • Bonnie

      Great job, Craig. Here's another warning: James 5:1-6, "Come now you rich men, weep, howling over your miseries that are coming upon you......Something like fire is what you have stored up IN THE LAST DAYS....You have lived in luxury upon the earth and have gone out for sensual pleasure. You have fattened your hearts on the day of slaughter....."See also Matthew 19:24, ".....it is easier for a camel to get through a needle's eye than for a rich man to get into the kingdom of God." -Jesus Christ.

      November 6, 2011 at 6:33 am |
  16. Phil

    Rick Perry is a joke and should be put on trial for blasphemy. Texas is in a state of utter chaos. The judicial system in this state is motored by money and not justice, police forces are unproperly trained in the Criminal Codes Proccedures manual which gives officers their arresting authority, child and family services is dominated by largely inept and corrupt staffs and leaderships, school districts in this state have tattoo chested women working openly in its offices, admin officials call cops on parents to come to school concerned for their kids unprovoked. Simply put Texas is a backward facing unGODLY place and Rick Perry is a lie just as is the devil straight up out of hell.

    November 6, 2011 at 6:19 am |
    • Mirosal

      Phil, blasphemy is not a crime. Which court did you have in mind to try him, or at least idict him?

      November 6, 2011 at 6:22 am |
  17. Sandra

    How can he be on a mission from his "god" when he ignores the "Thou Shalt Not Kill" (all gung ho for executions, even of those who might have been innocent when he had the power to stop them), and "Thou Shalt not bear false witness" (more scurrilous slander and slurs aimed at political rivals, and President Obama), many that are flat out lies. And to quote Susan B Anthony – "I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires."

    November 6, 2011 at 6:18 am |
    • wacokid

      Funny how he completly misses the idea about "thou shall not kill" part of the 10 commandments! Yet, he is a good christian.

      November 6, 2011 at 6:27 am |
    • wacokid

      sorry, meant "considered a good christian"

      November 6, 2011 at 6:29 am |
  18. John

    . . . . right. "My husband and I have always been religious in whatever way voters wanted us to be."

    Perry and wife are just Jim and Tammy Faye Baker all over again. When are religious zealots going to learn that he presidency of the United States is not a pulpit. The people of this nation do not need religious guidance, but political leadership. Take your doctrine, your bibles and your fundamentalist beliefs and go where it's wanted. No one's going to force religion upon me, ever.

    November 6, 2011 at 6:18 am |
    • CS

      LOL! I didn't catch that... that's funny. I mean, really, isn't that pointing out the obvious and telling EVERYONE they are just doing what someone else wants them to do? I seriously hope he does not get the nomination...

      November 6, 2011 at 6:34 am |
  19. Victor81

    Keep in mind when invoking the "values that this country was based upon" card, that slavery and suppression of women were prominent.It should be perfectly clear that this desperate con artist is pandering to the less than intelligent base who still operate with their belief set, instead of their knowledge set. We HAVE to get smarter soon.

    November 6, 2011 at 6:17 am |
  20. ron4152

    When I was a youngster, they locked up people that spoke to god for a mental exam.
    I find it interesting that these religious folks are like the religious folks that brought down the Twin Towers.
    Their bible justified their actions as does Perrys'. Every religion has a bible and they believe that their bible is the "true word" of god. I hope that we still enjoy freedom FROM religion. I have no problem with a belief in a higher authority but religion has cost thousands of lives over the years.

    November 6, 2011 at 6:13 am |
    • Victor81

      Millions even.

      November 6, 2011 at 6:18 am |
    • Martin

      Atheism is no insulation from murder. Mao, Pol pot & Stalin murdered millions of people in the last Century , and there were only 3 of them.

      November 6, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
    • Martin

      Every murderer cites his belief system... But if Christian murderers cite Jesus they will find He disagrees with them.

      Murdering Christians are disobedient Christians..
      Murdering atheists are simply following Darwins theory of the survival of the fittest.

      November 6, 2011 at 9:57 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.