Gov. Perry to host prayer, fast in Houston with American Family Association
On the heels of his recent call to prayer for rain amid a statewide drought, Gov. Rick Perry is rallying Texans and governors across the country for more prayer and fasting this August. Perry is hosting an event titled “The Response: A Call to Prayer for a Nation in Crisis,” to be held at Reliant Stadium in Houston. The Texas governor and possible GOP presidential candidate drafted a letter, viewable on the event website, inviting the public to join him in tackling the nation’s economic, security and environment problems through “non-denominational, apolitical, Christian prayer.”
According to Perry:
Right now, America is in crisis: we have been besieged by financial debt, terrorism, and a multitude of natural disasters. As a nation, we must come together and call upon Jesus to guide us through unprecedented struggles, and thank Him for the blessings of freedom we so richly enjoy.
Some problems are beyond our power to solve, and according to the Book of Joel, Chapter 2, this historic hour demands a historic response. Therefore, on August 6, thousands will gather to pray for a historic breakthrough for our country and a renewed sense of moral purpose.
I sincerely hope you’ll join me in Houston on August 6th and take your place in Reliant Stadium with praying people asking God’s forgiveness, wisdom and provision for our state and nation. There is hope for America. It lies in heaven, and we will find it on our knees.
The second chapter of the biblical Book of Joel describes a plague of locusts and insects, personified as an army led by God against the Israelites. The biblical writer calls for national prayer to save the people: “And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed.”
The head of the Republican Governors Association, Perry also wrote directly to governors in 49 other states, asking them to seek spiritual solutions to challenges faced in the community, state and nation by coming to the event. “We simply want to humbly ask our Creator to intervene on behalf of our people and our nation, and ask for His blessing and healing power to transform our lives,” he wrote. Perry also encouraged other governors to issue similar proclamations in their own states.
Texas Democratic Party spokeswoman Kirsten Gray issued the following statement in response to Perry’s announcement:
Governor Perry is the last person who should be talking about what’s right for our country. When campaigning, he claims he will fully fund our schools, protect the elderly and balance the budget, but the deficit state GOP budget broke every one of those promises. A budget is a moral document about our priorities, but it’s obvious the Governor is a shameless opportunist whose real priority is whatever furthers his own career ambitions.
The event is co-hosted by the American Family Association, a conservative Christian organization classified as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its promotion of false, anti-gay propaganda, Mother Jones reported this morning.
AFA’s issues director, Bryan Fischer, has alleged that gays caused the Holocaust — and are planning on doing it again; that gays should be banned from holding public office; that homosexuality should be criminalized; that foreign Muslims should either be exterminated or forced to convert to Christianity; that American Muslims should be deported; that there should be a permanent ban on mosque construction in the United States; and that Muslims should be prohibited from serving in the armed forces.
Other co-hosts include major conservative Christian organizer David Lane, Republican Party lobbyist and former U.S. House Rep. Bob McEwen and Jim Garlow of Renewing American Leadership, who coordinated a rally for California’s Proposition 8, a measure eliminating marriage rights of same-sex couples. Garlow joins David Barton of Texas-based WallBuilders on the ReAL board, an organization created by former House speaker and Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich in an effort to mobilize the evangelical vote.
During a Q&A on the ReAL site, Garlow defines the group’s mission:
Our desire is to re-acknowledge the discussion of God in public discourse. Another goal is to educate people that “American exceptionalism” is not a braggadocios claim of “aren’t we better than anyone else,” as it has nothing to do with some form of ethnic or national superiority.
“American exceptionalism” is the historical recognition that our sacred documents — the Declaration of Independence, along with the US Constitution — are the only, or nearly the only, national founding documents in the world that acknowledge that all authority comes from God, which is given to “We the People” who temporarily loan it to elected officials. Other nations do not have that as a foundational legal principle. This principle is an exception. And it is American. That is the meaning of “American exceptionalism.”
Also helping lead the event is Dave Sliker, who sits on the board of national prayer organization TheCall founded by evangelist Lou Engle. Inciting controversy, TheCall events include an April anti-abortion rally from Houston to Dallas, where 39 women, representing 39 years of legalized abortion planned to walk from, “the second largest abortion facility in the world,” located in Houston, and end in Dallas, “to fast and pray.”
In a video created for the event, a diverse group of residents recite a litany of ailments afflicting the country, including unemployment, injustice, abuse, terrorism, depression and personal fears, such as addiction, preventing parents from fighting and a young girl asking for her “daddy to love her.” In response, they say they will “lift up our cry to Jesus,” through worship.
Registration to the Aug. 6 event is free but required to attend, according to the site. Fasting is optional; registrants can fast one day a week between now and the event or set aside August 1-6 to fast. Daily prayer guides are available for guidance and preparation.
According to data compiled by Adherents.com, 90 percent of Texans identify themselves as Christians.