Thousands Gather for Rick Perry’s Prayer Rally

Texas Governor Rick Perry’s much-discussed prayer rally, “The Response,” began this morning, after a truly depressing week in American politics.  The event, held in Houston’s Reliant Stadium, had about 20,000 attendees when the program began at 10 am.  The stadium can hold over 70,000 people, so there were many empty seats.

Rick Perry, who still hasn’t announced whether he’s running for the Republican presidential ticket, has been promoting the event all summer as a solution to America’s many woes.  ”With the economy in trouble, communities in crisis, and people adrift in a sea of moral relativism, we need God’s help,” Perry explained in a video on the event’s website. “That’s why I’m calling on Americans to pray and fast like Jesus did.”

But the alliance of radical Christian pastors who will be speaking at the event have raised significant criticism, even from fellow Christians, who denounce the event as divisive and exclusive.  Several groups will be protesting the event, while a spokesman for a coalition of African-American clergy urged Perry to speak out against the rhetoric of the American Family Association, one of the event’s sponsors.  The AFA has been designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “hate group” because of its homophobic statements.

Right Wing Watch has coverage of “The Response” as it unfolds, as well as ample background on the checkered histories of the event’s speakers.  So far, after words from Luis Cataldo (who is affiliated with the International House of Prayer, an organization which, among other projects, is “is waging a ‘spiritual war’ on the Supreme Court to get abortion outlawed in America”), “Response” attendees have been treated to a prayer to end abortion and a call from James and Shirley Dodson to rescue God from the evil that surrounds America.

We’ll have more thorough analysis of the event tomorrow.  But for now, keep checking Right Wing Watch to see just what people are praying for at this supposedly inclusive, redemptive event.  And if you’re feeling particularly masochistic, you can even watch the live web stream as the event unfolds.

Related Stories:

Atheist Group Sues Rick Perry for Participating in Prayer Event

Extremist Pastor Joins Rick Perry Prayer Event

Texas Governor’s Prayer Summit Intended to Convert Non-Christians

Photo from Gage Skidmore via flickr.


cal shummon
cal Shummon6 years ago

Go for it Rick
Holy Commander Rules;That's the way it is That's the way it always will be
If i Say i Love God and that makes Evil Mad-I AM PLEASED.

kenny s.
Kenny Stidham6 years ago

christians suck and so do you Diane O.

Arthur W.
art W6 years ago

Golly, with such an assortment available, one of them must be the Creator and without whom we will fail as a Nation. Take your pick, starting with Ra and Isis or before and thru the range, including Yahweh, The Great Spirit, and Allah. If the total count of the faithful is the qualifier then guess which might just be the One?

Arthur W.
art W6 years ago

Interestingly enough, son Paul and I are going to see "Jesus Christ Superstar - live stage play, here in Pittsburgh this weekend. Perhaps those political folks who speak to and hear from God about what they should do might see it. I think it is also on film.

Josephine T.
Josephine T6 years ago

@ Lindsey D. - Actually, Gov. Perry unsuccessfully invited 48 other governors. But he did invite all 49 - Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas accepted his invitation.

Lindsey DTSW
.6 years ago

In 2008 a survey was done on American religious affiliation.

According to the survey, in 2008 76% of adults identified as Christian, which is down from 86% in 1990.

"The U. S. population continues to show signs of becoming less religious, with one out of every five Americans failing to indicate a religious identity in 2008. The “Nones” (no stated religious preference, atheist, or agnostic) continue to grow, though at a much slower pace than in the 1990s, from 8.2% in 1990, to 14.1% in 2001, to 15.0% in 2008."

Gallup polls taken over the past decade also show a decline in the number of Americans who say they "believe in God", with the number being 78% in 2008, down from 86% in 2000.

David C.
David Connally6 years ago

Diane O

With due respect, you do not know Perry. You do not know if he is sincere or cynically playing to a base - rather as Bush/Cheney played to anti-gay feelings in some, but not all, states.

You continually harp on the US as 82% Christian. There is a wide range of political beliefs in the US; there must be a similarly wide range of beliefs among Christians. As William (?) pointed out, there are many denominations and some quite contradictory beliefs on social mores. Gays are anathema to some denominations, affirmed in others. The Catholic church teaches that capital punishment is wrong - I doubt the right wing Christian would agree. I believe the Catholic hierarchy also speaks out against cuts in social programs, certainly not a priority for the evangelical right.

I would be delighted to see a Christian president whose mores agreed with mine but it seems that politicians who proclaim themselves to be Christian usually belong to the evangelical branch. They are not the most numerous but politically seem to be the most strident.

Incidentally, didn't Perry create the biggest budget deficit in Texas history, even larger than California's?

Lindsey DTSW
.6 years ago

"...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....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...."

Why would it even be remotely appropriate for the elected Governor of Texas to stage a prayer ralley (to which he unsuccessfully invited all 49 of the other states' governors) at which it is intended that the message be "spread" that the attendees should "seek out the living Christ"?

Why are so many ignoring the fact that an elected Texas official isn't supposed to use his elected position as governor of all to shill for his religion?

Diane O.
Diane O6 years ago

William, with all due respect, you do not know anything about Governor Perry. You don't know him pesonally. It is simply not for you to judge. If you don't like Perry for political reasons that is one thing....but to post that he isn't a Christian is something you could not possibly know.

William Y.
William Y6 years ago

@ Juanita & Nanette, You are missing one point. Perry & his ilk aren't Christians, in the sense of following Christ. If Jesus came back today, they would see him as an anti-Christ. Perry is just the opposite of what Jesus stood for, the poor, downtrodden and sickly, The opposite of what the pseudo-Christians like Perry relish, the wealthy and screw the lower 98%.