3 August 2011 at 3:16:54 PM
Clergy and Community Leaders Express Concerns over Governor's Official Call for Prayer
Date: August 2, 2011
More than 50 Houston-area clergy and community leaders say they are troubled by Govenor Rick Perry's official use of his office to call for Americans to participate in The Response, a day of prayer and fasting and a prayer rally at Houston's Reliant Stadium August 6. On August 2, they released the statement below, followed by their signatures:
One of Houston's greatest strengths is its religious diversity. As part of the Anti-Defamation League's Coalition for Mutual Respect, we are keenly sensitive to the fact that Houstonians may pray differently or not pray at all. We cherish the fact that we can pray freely in our own way, because our founding fathers wisely envisioned and provided for a nation grounded in the principle of separation of church and state. This freedom from government imposed religion allows all religions to flourish in our democratic society. It is with this thought in mind that we express our concern that Governor Rick Perry has called for a full day of exclusionary prayer on August 6, 2011. This religious event is not open to all faiths, as its statement of beliefs does not represent religious diversity.
Governor Perry has a constitutional duty to treat all Texans equally regardless of race, religion or ethnicity. His official involvement with the Response at minimum violates the spirit of that duty. By his actions, Governor Perry is expressing an official message of endorsement of one faith over all others; thereby sending an official message of religious exclusion and preference to all Texans who do not share that faith. We believe our religious freedom is threatened when a government official promotes religion, especially one religion over all others. We urge our elected leaders, who have the privilege of representing us, to practice their own religion as they choose without seeking to impose their beliefs on others or using their official offices to divide citizens along religious lines. They should be role models for all Americans, and can be by honoring and respecting our constitutional freedoms.
Rabbi Annie Belford
The Rev. Dr. Guinn Blackwell-Eagleson, United Campus Ministry
Michael Y. Chou
Rev. Mike Cole
Dr. William J. Cork, Pastor, Seventh-Day Adventist Church
Rev. Dr. James S. Currie, Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Pasadena
Rev. Helen P. DeLeon, Pastor in the Presbytery of New Covenant
Rev. Michael Diaz,Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church
Rabbi Gideon Estes, Congregation Or Ami
Rev. Dr. Nora Fitch
The Rev. Martha Frances, Retired Episcopal Priest
Rev. Bradley Fuerst, Houston Lutheran Campus Minister
Rabbi Dan Gordon
Rev. Lura N. Groen, Pastor, Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church
Rabbi Steve Gross
Rabbi Daniel Horwitz, J.B. Greenfield Chapel of Congregation Beth Yeshurun
The Reverend Lisa Hunt, Rector, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church
Shaikh Omar Inshanally, Head Clergy, Islamic Society of Greater Houston
Rev. Wayne Ivey, Taylor Lake Christian Church
Dr. Sulekh C. Jain, Past President, Jain Society of Houston
Rabbi Samuel E. Karff, Rabbi Emeritus, Congregation Beth Israel
Dr. Basheer Khumawala, Islamic Society of Greater Houston
Rev. Kristen Klein-Cechettini,Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church
Dr. Stephen L. Klineberg, Rice University
Rev. Janice Ladd,Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church
Rev. William A. Lawson, Pastor Emeritus, Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church
Rev. Karin Liebster, Associate Pastor, Christ the King Lutheran Church
Rabbi David Lyon, Senior Rabbi, Congregation Beth Israel
Rabbi Mark J. Miller, President, Houston Rabbinical Association
Rabbi Steven Morgen
Rev. Dr. Robert G. Moore, Senior Pastor, Christ the King Lutheran Church
Rev. Dr. Laurey H. Murphy
R. Marcus Otterstad, Senior Pastor, House of Prayer Lutheran Church
Rev. John Howard Reed
Bishop Michael Rinehart, TX-LA Gulf Coast Synod, ELCA
The Rev. David A. Roschke, Senior Pastor, Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church,
Rabbi David Rosen
Rev. Samuel Schaal, Bay Area Unitarian Universalist Church
Rabbi Deborah Schloss
Rabbi Jack Segal
Dr. Aziz Siddiqi, President, Islamic Society of Greater Houston
J. Michael Solar
F. Herb Stallknecht, Retired United Methodist Pastor
Rabbi Seth Stander
Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Stein, Pastor, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Rabbi Joshua S. Taub, D.D.
Pastor Ernie Turney, Senior Pastor, Bering Memorial United Methodist Church
Rabbi Roy Walter, Rabbi Emeritus, Congregation Emanu El
Pastor John Willmann
The Reverend Belinda C. Windham, D.Min. Pastor, New Hope Presbyterian Church
Dr. Susan McPhail Wittjen, Former Moderator, New Covenant Presbytery
Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss, Senior Rabbi, Congregation Emanu El
Rev. Rich Wolf, New Hope Lutheran Church
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