Extremist Pastor Joins Rick Perry Prayer Event

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is joining a strange alliance of leaders for The Response, a prayer summit which will be held in a Houston stadium in August.  According to the event’s website, “People of all ages, races, backgrounds and Christian denominations will be in attendance to proclaim Jesus as Savior and pray for America.”  But the most high-profile sponsors are radical Christian pastors, and the American Family Association, which is the host organization, has been described as a “hate group.”  The newest addition to the list of sponsors, via Salon, is the Rev. C. Peter Wagner, whose brand of evangelical Christianity is notoriously hostile to other faiths.

Perry, although he did not organize or sponsor the summit, is described as one of the “initiators.” He also invited the other 49 governors to attend (luckily, only the uber-conservative Sam Brownback of Kansas has RSVP’ed yes).  In a short video on the event’s website, he admits to politicians’ limitations in “fixing things that are spiritual in nature,” and asks his viewers to join him at The Response, to pray and ask for God’s forgiveness.  He is abundantly clear, however, that he is speaking about a Christian God, and that this will be a Christian event.

Rev. Wagner, who is connected to a kind of evangelicalism called the New Apostolic Reformation, recently commented upon the natural disasters in Japan, saying that had more Japanese turned to Christianity, perhaps the crisis could have been averted.

“I believe that God has a Kingdom destiny for Japan,” Wagner wrote, “but the enemy has built seemingly impenetrable strongholds to prevent it from manifesting. God did not cause the natural disasters; satan and his forces did. They came to steal, kill and destroy. However, this time God did not choose to use His sovereign powers to prevent them from wounding Japan.”

And Wagner is just one of the recent arrivals.  Among the other sponsors of The Response are Mike Bickle, the founder of the International House of Prayer (IHOP), who condemned Oprah’s “spirit of deception” and denounced her as a “harlot,” and Doug Stringer, who blamed America’s failure to embrace God for the September 11th attacks.

Rick Perry is currently being hailed as one of the new favorites of the Christian Right.  Back in May, Religion Dispatches’ Sarah Pozner analyzed his conservative Christian credentials, from signing a gay marriage ban into law at a Christian school in Fort Worth, to supporting (and benefiting from) the Texas Restoration Project, a group designed to increase conservative pastors’ involvement in politics, and dubbed them “impeccable.”  However, as late as June, Perry wasn’t being seen as a serious contender.  That’s quickly changing, in part because conservative Christian leaders seem reluctant to support Michele Bachmann, whether because she’s a woman or because she’s so unpredictable.

So Perry’s alliance with these conservative pastors for The Response isn’t just disturbing because the governor of a state should not endorse an exclusively Christian event to pray for the country’s future.  Since these pastors are often intimately involved in the choice of a Republican candidate, it may also be a herald of things to come.  According to a recent AP news story, a Perry presidential campaign may not be as unlikely as we thought last month.  And if he becomes a serious contender for the Republican ticket, these radical pastors will be right behind him.

Photo from Gage Skidmore via flickr.


Roy V.
Roy Vanderleelie5 years ago

So now Satan has created all these problems and disasters in the world. They sound like politicians, blaming the other parties for their screw ups. Religions are the cause of all the problems. Get rid of them and things will be fine but that will never happen, the churches make too much money from the fools that follow them.

Mary Vaughn
Mary Vaughn5 years ago

This may be slightly off subject but it seems that people like Rick Perry are against paying taxes even when they are owed. There were some pharisees trying to trick Jesus by asking him should they pay Taxes to Caesar? Jesus asked one of them to show him a coin. They did. Then he said "you fools" "why do you try to trick me, whose picture is on that coin? Ceasar's they answered . " Render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar's and unto God which is God's.

Mary Vaughn
Mary Vaughn5 years ago

Among all of these Christian Protestant Groups they have Baptist, Southern Baptist, Missionary Baptist and several others. Then the Pentecostal break out into several different groups, Holiness and so on and so on. Each of them claiming that the other is just a little misguided and that their teachings alone are the only real way to heaven. Most of them instead of teaching love and forgiveness preach HELL FIRE AND BRIMSTONE. These people are saying that seniors and little children should be left to die and starve to death if it means they might have to pay a little more in taxes. They preach hatred for anyone who doesn't live according to their rules.

Mary Vaughn
Mary Vaughn5 years ago

In most of the Christian churches women cannot even serve as Deacons. Women in Christianity are almost always to take care of the home and bear children. I realize there are a few breakaways such as Joyce Meyer's but for the most part women in any position of power are frowned upon. This is why I do not understand how Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin can cling so tightly to their Religious views while blatantly breaking them. I do think that Perry has already alienated many of the ordinary Catholics that I know.

Past Member
Past Member 5 years ago

u Godless wonders need to let us pray are country is crashing at high speed. I pray God open your eyes to see this country needs to return to our roots, hard work, honest words, repentence, worship of God rather than self.

Norma V.
Norma Villarreal5 years ago

Separation of church and state? Scary Perry welcomes Christians to Texas. Lord have mercy on us all.

JW H.5 years ago

Tom - thanks
This is not a separation issue as much as the chicken littles want it to be.

Monica - you are a liar - or sadly misinformed - this is not their mission
Where was the talk from the left of the intolerance of Jeremiah Wright?

William Y.
William Y5 years ago

@ Tom Y. It does prevent the state from endorsing a particular religion over another.

Tom Y.
Tom Y5 years ago

This is specifically about calling on Jesus Christ, known to answer prayer. Why dilute the event with religions of dead works and prayer without power? As to "separation of church and state," it's meant to keep the state from controlling the church as an avenue of its power; it doesn't require that people of faith check their consciences at the workplace door, or prevent leaders from convening to pray. I applaud Rick Perry for choosing to so publicly make a leap of faith. Let us see how Jesus Christ answers him.

Robin McElfresh
Robin M5 years ago

Actually, a counter demonstration is being planned. Also, a group of progressive religious leaders (including Christian) in the Houston area wrote and signed a letter indicating how appalling this was from not only the separation of church and state standpoint, but the pointed omission of any other religion.