Texas Governor Rick Perry, in his attempts to solve all of the problems of our age, is hosting a prayer summit in August, to which he has invited the country’s other 49 governors. “The Response,” a day of “non-denominational Christian prayer and fasting” is intended to deal with “financial debt, terrorism, and a multitude of natural disasters,” as well as the “youth’s” moral decline.
According to the official site, “There is hope for America. It lies in heaven, and we will find it on our knees.”
Tim Murphy at Mother Jones has been covering the more problematic aspects of this already disturbing event, which clearly blurs the boundaries between church and state. Last week, Murphy pointed out that the event is being funded by the American Family Association, a conservative Christian group which was classified as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its “incessant promotion of false, anti-gay propaganda.”
And now, to make matters worse, a spokesman for “The Response” told the American Family Association that they actually hope the event will help non-Christians into the fold. Via Mother Jones, spokesman Eric Bearse said,
“A lot of people want to criticize what we’re doing, as if we’re somehow being exclusive of other faiths. But anyone who comes to this solemn assembly regardless of their faith tradition or background, will feel 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. And that’s the message we want to spread on August 6th.”
Luckily, only one governor – Sam Brownback of Kansas – has said he’ll attend. So clearly, leaders understand why it would be incredibly inappropriate for any politician to support an event that so blatantly pushes Christianity on its attendees. As Rev. C. Welton Gabby, a Baptist minister and the president of the DC-based Interfaith Alliance said, “I think the people of Texas elected him to be the governor of the state, not the pastor of the state.”
Photo from C. Jill Scott's Flickr photostream.