A Pastor Who Condemned Rick Perry’s Pray-a-Thon

We often complain that Christians don’t speak out enough against the Religious Right. So when they do it, they deserve credit.

That’s why Rev. Jim Rigby deserves some praise. Before Texas Governor Rick Perry‘s Christapalooza rally over the weekend, Rigby publicly condemned it:

… as a Presbyterian minister and community organizer, it’s part of my job to stand up for my neighbors. The use of the governor’s office to promote one religion in a country with such rich religious diversity is obviously unhealthy politics, but, if one takes the Christian and Jewish scriptures seriously, it is also unhealthy religion…

Whatever Jesus meant by the word “prayer” seems to have been quiet and personal. The disciples had to ask Jesus how to pray, which is a pretty good indication that he wasn’t praying a lot publically. What he did say about prayer carried a warning label: “Don’t rub it in other people’s faces.”

I can’t know what is in Perry’s heart, of course, but I do know the problem isn’t one politician but rather a nation that has embraced an unhealthy political arrogance undergirded by even unhealthier religious one.

The “prayer” that is most needed at this time is for each of us, believer or not, to go into our own heart and find the humility and empathy that is at the core of righteousness, political and spiritual.


More of this, please.

Rigby’s email address is at the bottom of his post. I’m sure he’d appreciate any support you could send his way. (If you’re willing, feel free to leave your messages to him in the comments.)

By the way, while I’m on the subject of the rally, Michael Tracey has a fascinating article about it at Mother Jones. Looks like Mike ran into a leader of the Religious Right while he was there:

Later, in a stadium hallway, I ran into Bryan Fischer, the most visible figure of the American Family Association, which underwrote the prayer fest…

… “The entire political system of the United States was built on the religious foundation that there was a creator, with a capital C,” Fischer went on. “And that creator is the source of all our human rights. You can’t get any more political and religious than that.” Even John Jay, the nation’s first chief justice, thought that a Christian nation should select Christian leaders for elected office, Fischer said.

“But isn’t our current president a Christian?” I asked.

“Claims to be,” Fischer replied. “He shows far more deference to the Muslim faith than he does to the Christian faith.”

“How so?”

“Iftar dinners in the White House.”

“Well, he has Jewish dinners, he has Christian dinners,” I said. “You know, all sorts of interfaith events and acknowledgments.”

“He issued a proclamation for Ramadan this year, and did not issue a proclamation for Easter,” Fischer said, satisfied that he had provided ample evidence for the insinuation that Obama is probably a Muslim. At least they had an Easter egg hunt, I added. Fischer laughed.

Fischer’s ignorance and arrogance are amazing… I think my face is now scrunched up beyond repair after reading that.

(Thanks to Keith for the link!)

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