27 July 2011 at 9:41:28 AM
The robocall is an audio version of Perry’s videotaped invitation to attend the rally and observe a “Day of Prayer and Fasting for our Nation’s Challenges” which greets all visitors to “The Response: A Call to Prayer for a National in Crisis”:
This is Governor Rick Perry and I’m inviting you to join your fellow Americans in a day of prayer and fasting on behalf of our nation. As an elected leader, I am all too aware of government’s limitations when it comes to fixin’ things that are spiritual in nature. That’s where prayer comes in, and we need it more than ever. With the economy in trouble, communities in crisis and people adrift in a sea of moral relativism, we need God’s help. That’s why I’m calling on Americans to pray and fast like Jesus did, and as God called the Israelite to do in the Book of Joel. I sincerely hope you will join me in Houston on August the sixth and take your place in Reliant Stadium with praying people asking God’s forgiveness, his wisdom and provision for our state and nation. To learn more, visit TheResponseUSA.com, then makes plans to be part of something even bigger than Texas.
“We began receiving complaints from members of the Houston public starting Wednesday night,” reports Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president. One of the complainants included a woman, 86, who e-mailed FFRF today:
Yesterday I got a lengthy recording by Perry inviting me to his prayer event, mixing politics and religion! I resent this intrusion. I am Jewish, and from all publicity it appears to be a Christian gathering. If they called me, I assume the calls are going through the whole phone book!
“At least one of our local plaintiffs has heard Gov. Perry’s robocall — which adds to his injury," says Galyor. "Here, we have the governor of Texas, identified in his capacity as governor of Texas, reaching into citizens’ private homes and beseeching them to attend an exclusively Christian rally convened explicitly to ‘ask God’s forgiveness,’ to say ‘There is hope for America. It lies in Heaven, and we will find it on our knees,’ and “to come together and call upon Jesus to guide us through unprecedented struggles.”
“This fundamentalist intrusion is an egregious abuse of government authority,” said Dan Barker, FFRF co-president.
The hearing is tomorrow (July 28) in Gray H Miller's courtroom.
Here's the original complaint from FFRF
YOu have to read the whole thing but here's a couple of salient parts.
36. The prayer rally organized by Governor Perry, according to its spokesman, Eric
Bearse, Governor Perry’s former Communications Director, is intended to convey “the love,
grace and warmth of Jesus Christ in that assembly hall, in that arena. And that’s what we want to
convey, that there’s acceptance and that there’s love and that there’s hope if people will seek out
the living Christ.”
37. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States
Constitution prohibits government officials, and persons acting in joint and concerted action with
government officials, from taking actions that establish religion, including actions that endorse or
show preference for religion over non-religion.
Now, I know there are going to be some readers that say, well, heck, can't Governor Perry pray? This isn't about his religious freedom to be able to pray as a private citizen, it's about his using his official office as Governor to tout a particular religion, which is unconstitutional. From the LA Times
Let's imagine how the public would respond if Perry were a Muslim, and an essential part of his exclusionary day of prayer included the claim that Christians and Jews are infidels who, if they are not converted (possibly forcibly) in this life, are guaranteed to suffer eternal damnation in the next.
Or imagine what is an even more unlikely scenario. What if Perry were an atheist who called for a day of secular discussion of solutions to the many challenges we face as a nation, and as a sidelight pushed the notion that the faithful should not play a role in the discussion?
The Constitution's establishment clause was designed to protect freedom of religion by protecting us from one religion, authorized by the state. But the noxious nature of the governor's proposal does not merely hinge on the question of its constitutionality.
It is at best inappropriate for religious zealots to claim a unique mantle of righteousness. But when those empowered by the electorate to govern suggest that governance should be based not only on a religious premise but the premise of one religion in particular, to the exclusion and derision of those whose spiritual inclinations may differ, we must be on guard.
There is a reason theocracies are found at the bottom of the world's economic and opportunity ladder. Successful public policy cannot be based purely on doctrines established before we knew the Earth orbited the sun. The modern world is changing, and only an approach to dealing with real-world problems that recognizes the fluidity of both material and spiritual conditions can change along with it.
We can only hope that Perry's gambit, which many people think is designed to aid him in a quest for the presidency, will backfire. Even the faithful should recognize that truth is not the dominion of a single religion — and that the problems we face as a nation are too important to be left to those who have nothing more to offer than the claim of having God on their side.
P.S. You have to wonder if The Response is getting desperate to get people in. I mean, Rick Perry has said he might not even come, the Response has some real fringey religious nuts associated with it (who thinks the Statue of Liberty is demonic?) Otherwise, why are they resorting to robocalls that blatantly trade on Rick Perry's office as governor?
PP.S -saw this from CBn where Rick Perry said"I can't wait until the 6th of August rolls around and we fill up Reliant Stadium with people who are Christ-loving and realize that our country has gotten off track.
"I can't wait until the 6th of August rolls around and we fill up Reliant Stadium with people who are Christ-loving and realize that our country has gotten off track," Perry said
Sheesh. Why would ANYONE want him to be president?
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