Rick Perry: Satan is Responsible for the Idea of Church/State Separation

During a conference call with evangelical Christians earlier this week, one-time Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry told listeners that separation of church and state isn’t just a bad idea — it’s an idea that we can blame on Satan:

This separation of church and state, which has been driven by the secularists to remove those people of faith from the public arena… there is nothing farther from the truth. When you think about our Founding Fathers, they created this country, our Constitution, the foundation of America upon Judeo-Christian values, biblical values and this narrative that has been going on, particularly since the ’60s, that somehow or another there’s this steel wall, this iron curtain or whatever you want to call it between the church and people of faith and this separation of church and state is just false on its face.

We have a biblical responsibility to be involved in the public arena proclaiming God’s truth. You know, are we going to get up and say ‘you are going to vote for X’? No, but we’re going to talk about Christian values. When you think about the issue of life and protecting life, it’s so important that we as Christians put legislation into place, that we elect men and women that defend life. The idea that we should be sent to the sidelines I would suggest to you is very driven by those who are not truthful, Satan runs across the world with his doubt and with his untruths and what have you and one of the untruths out there is driven — is that people of faith should not be involved in the public arena.

There are two major problems with that statement. One, Satan isn’t real. Two, people of faith have always been welcome to participate in the public arena. What they can’t do is legislate their religious beliefs; when the Constitution and the Bible are in conflict, the Constitution must win. If you can’t handle that, then you belong in a church and not public office.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Ggsillars

    This looks like a case of the separation of brain and mouth.  Not that there’s much of a brain in any case.

  • Tainda

    Ok, let’s humor them for awhile and say this country was formed on judeo-christian values.  That doesn’t mean it should stay that way!  There are WAY too many people in this country that aren’t christian.  Why can’t they see that?  Selfish, so selfish.

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

    Well, he is partially correct.  It is a little know fact that Thomas Jefferson’s full name was Samuel Anthony Thomas Andrew Nathaniel Jefferson.  Hence why all the towels at Monticello have S.A.T.A.N sewn into them.    

    Higgs Bosons

  • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Felyx Leiter

    “…this narrative that has been going on, particularly since the ’60s, that somehow or another there’s this steel wall, this iron curtain or whatever you want to call it…”

    So Satan is a hippie.  I KNEW it.  That equal-rights-and-opportunity bastard!

  • Dwayne_Windham

     Can we just get Rick tossed out of office and hired to be a comic for SNL already? He can certainly reprise one of my favorite characters…


  • Lemonwax

    “… iron curtain …”

    I see what you did there, Rick.

  • Baal

    Also notice how Rick’s repeating a thought extinguishing meme of the xtians – having a thought leading to doubt?  SATAN – phew got turned around (saved!) before going down that mental pathway.  This is entirely the opposite of following ideas, testing them and then discarding the bs or harmful ones.

  • http://www.laughinginpurgatory.com/ Andrew Hall

    Satan is a very busy guy: internet porn, drugs, and the separation of church and state. What’s  his next project?

  • MargueriteF

    Could it be…. SATAN???

    No, Rick, actually, it couldn’t be. Shut up before you embarrass yourself. Oh, wait…

  • dcl3500

    Had a friend of mine send me a link to this story yesterday, as I told her, judging by the comments on the source site, there may be hope for Texas yet, a lot of progressive forward thinkers posting comments denouncing this example of one Texan’s thinking.

  • dcl3500

    No, but as soon as he gets kicked out, you can bet Fox will snatch him up for a new talking head ala Huckabee-esque move.

  • jdm8

     The colonies were established as theocratic or monarchic entities, but they seem to miss that both points largely went away by the time the constitution was drafted.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/MapDark-Dark/100002553650170 MapDark Dark

    Gay marriage of course! Don’t you follow the news ? :P

  • Tainda

    I suppose they see what they want to see

  • Ryan

    I am particularly fond of his use of the term “Judeo-Christian”, which was actually designed in the 20th century as propaganda to demonstrate how inclusive we all were, cause we were cool with Jewish folks, too. I’m pretty sure the founding fathers(especially the ones who were Christian) didn’t care one lick about Judaism.

  • DKeane123

    Satan isn’t real?  How come Rick Perry and I are always the last to know…

  • BenofSoCal

    Satan is responsible for Rick Perry!

  • Willy Occam

     Yes, how very clever of Governor Goodhair. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=560051551 Kimberly Frazier Baker

    And don’t forget abortion for incest and rape victims (you know, if they could actually get pregnant).

  • Grizzz

    Mitt Romney and his wife Ann.

  • http://www.facebook.com/abb3w Arthur Byrne

    Not to mention that one of the biggest fans of separation between Church and State was James Madison, who was one of the most influential of the Founding Fathers on the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. Adding emphasis…

    Notwithstanding the general progress made within the two last centuries in favour of this branch of liberty, and the full establishment of it in some parts of our country, there remains in others a strong bias towards the old error, that without some sort of alliance or coalition between Government and Religion neither can be duly supported. Such, indeed, is the tendency to such a coalition, and such its corrupting influence on both the parties, that the danger cannot be too carefully guarded against. And in a Government of opinion like ours, the only effectual guard must be found in the soundness and stability of the general opinion on the subject. Every new and successful example, therefore, of a perfect separation between the ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance; and I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion and Government will both exist in greater purity the less they are mixed together.

  • A3Kr0n

    If there’s an  iron curtain separating church and state, how did this crazy-assed wing nut become governor?

  • SMH

    Good grief, just when I think I’m in the clear for being proud to be born in Texas; Our illustrious asshole of a Governor feels the need to open his mouth.

  • Ajackofalltrades78

    We as people of faith must live our beliefs. A person who believes in a faith but cannot practice it is not allowed to be a person of faith. You yourself have just said, in your own words, that people of faith are not allowed into government. This is a representative democracy, all people are allowed to vote their beliefs and opinions for what they believe is best for their country. If we may vote for anything good for our country as we the people see it EXCEPT for anything Christian or faith based, then there is indeed no freedom of religion or freedom or politics to run our “democracy.”
    Are we really welcome in the public arena?

  • Ajackofalltrades78

    No, but he wants other people to be hippies.

  • Brian

    Country founded on Judeo-Christian/biblical principals. Ok, no, no it wasn’t. It was founded on Greek principals, we’re a Republic.

    When I think of America, I think of the phrase “All men (people) are created equal.” The idea that there should be nothing standing between you and happiness. Not your race, gender, lifestyle, beliefs, or anything should bar you from living your life to the fullest.

    The bible implies slavery is acceptable, women are inferior to men, and that all non-Christians should be killed/are going to Hell.

    Yeah. Sounds really American to me.

  • Blondin


  • http://www.facebook.com/jared.mckittrick Jared McKittrick

    This is why I want to get the hell out of Texas.

  • B Rettc123

    I don’t understand how people can misinterpret something with such a clear dichotomy. Church has 0 (read zero) authority or rightful place in national legislature. Sure our founding fathers had Protestant roots.. But prior to that the vision of the country was a place free of persecution, especially over religion. By including religion in our legislation, we create a hierarchal system where the religion with the most in the house/ senate and in national population has lordship over other religions and apparently how people read and interpret things like the constitution.

  • http://twitter.com/butterflyfish_ Heidi McClure

    Hey look, it’s Rick Perry.  I wonder if he still has that Brokeback Mountain jacket he wore in his presidential ad.

  • tokuiten

    As a Texan, I will say that Rick Perry is a steaming pile of shit, and I’m deeply ashamed that this subhuman is our governor. I’ve ever voted for it, and I never will.

  • Edmond

    You, as a person of faith, are welcome in government.  You may practice your faith in the way that suits you.  You may vote your conscience, you may pursue whatever legislation appeals to you.

    But be careful that you are not trying to turn the laws of your religion, into laws that EVERYONE must follow, whether or not they are members of your religion.  We WILL fight that.

    If you religion says that, as a member, you are required to do “this” or “that”, keep in mind that those are VOLUNTARY rules which you CHOOSE to obey.  It is completely inappropriate to try to make those rules MANDATORY for all citizens.

    It’s very important to make sure that the government, which serves ALL citizens, stays religion-NEUTRAL.  The laws of our country must function equally for everyone, no matter what religion they follow.  Our laws must have good reasons behind them, and those reasons cannot be religiously motivated.  These laws must be fairly applied whether a person is a Christian, or a Jew, or a Muslim, or a Hindu, or an atheist, or whatever.

    These precepts do not keep religious people out of the public arena.  Instead, they keep religious rules away from non-religious people, or away from people of other religions.

    Your religion is a personal thing to you.  You make your own decision to follow it or not.  Each of us needs that freedom.  Take care that you are not seeking to put the weight of the government behind your beliefs.  They don’t need it.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

    Ha, ha, that was my first thought when I saw the title of this post!


  • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

    You beat me to the Church Lady, LOL.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

    Satan runs across the world with his doubt and with his untruths

    You know, if Satan is running around creating havoc, why doesn’t their all-powerful deity stop him? Either their god is powerless to get rid of Satan, or else it wants him to spread evil. I don’t think either possibility portrays their deity in a good light. Why are serious Christians so fond of invoking Satan when doing so simply highlights their god’s impotence or indifference?

  • nakedanthropologist

    Yes, you are.  But I think you may be missing the point that others are trying to make.  People of all faiths are welcome to the American political arena – and that’s just grand.  However, a person of a certain faith cannot put their religion into laws – i.e. make it the religion of the state.  For example, let us look at the issue of gay marriage.  There is no reputable scientific or social research that indicates that gay marriage has a negative impact on individuals or society in and of itself.  The argument against gay marriage in the US in an entirely religious one (ex: “Marriage is between a man and woman – as outlined in the bible”).  When you try to force other people to live their lives according to your religious beliefs, and especially when the behaviors of those people are demonstrably non-harmful to others (like gay marriage) that’s when you are trying (either directly or indirectly) to violate the separation of church and state.  And that is why other people will fight (politically) your agenda and criticize you harshly.  It’s not that other people really care if you’re a Christian and don’t like gay marriage – fine, don’t marry someone of the same biological sex as you.  You have the right to live according to your beliefs – but so does every other American citizen.  That is what the separation of church and state means – freedom of religion for everybody. 

    One last note: if a biblical value (such as “Thou shalt not kill”) is shown to be helpful and in accordance with the public good, then sure try to legislate – there are very clear and demonstrable benefits with such an edict.  Other examples of religiously motivated legislation (such as gay marriage bans, interracial marriage bans, anti-abortionism, and so on) do not show benefit, historically or contemporarilly.  As a society, we must be critical of all possible legislation – irregardless of source. 

  • Vision_From_Afar

     Washington actually sent a very nice letter to a Jewish congregation telling them they would get equal treatment under the new US government, just like everyone else.
    I’d argue that the “Judeo-Christian” phrase is more born out of the ingrained pro-Israel stance America has had since WWII.

  • Jordan Sugarman

    Today I learned: Thomas Jefferson was the physical embodiment of Satan. Thanks for the history lesson, Rick!

  • watchemoket

    Love it! Didn’t see that coming.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mankysteve Stephen Rowley

    The stupidity its burns.  Church state separation is there protect the religious as much as it to protect the non religious.

  • Somegamerkid

    Religious people ARE allowed in government. Perry just thinks that they aren’t. However, you may not create laws regarding religion. For example, you may not pass a law that people must go to Church every Sunday, because some people aren’t Christian.

  • atheist

    ummmm theres incest in the bible and all that – Should read the one about the city destryoed by meteors by god to kill the sinners, that familly he saved the dad impregnates his 2 daughters (This is the guy that was the only one deemed worthy enough to save too…..) Bible bullshit FTW!!! 

  • Pepe

     Haha. I actually googled, just to be sure.

  • Glasofruix

    Because the timeless, all powerful, all knowing god who has a precise plan for everyone gave you free will silly…

    (kind of funny, papa smurf knows everything you’ve done and everything you’ll ever do, but you are free to chose your own path, do i smell the musky scent of contradiction?)

  • http://northierthanthou.com/ northierthanthou

    If there is a Satan, I have no doubt that he can spread untruths through Rick Perry as readily as any non-believer.

    …which is understating the problem.

  • Gopherman4

    The biggest problem here is that the separation of church and state has been established since the founding of our nation, by the founding fathers.  This idiot seems to be under the impression that it’s a new concept.

  • spook

    “There are two major problems with that statement. One, Satan isn’t real. ”

    Just because the NHL is in lockout doesn’t mean that Miroslav Satan is any less real.

  • Patera

    Sound the founding fathers were Satanists?

  • Troels Jakobsen

    Unfortunately, I think the mouth is relating exactly what the brain is thinking.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sandy-Kokch/100000074576649 Sandy Kokch

    If there were ever a case FOR keeping “people of faith” out of politics, then Rick Perry would be exhibit A. Bachmann would be exhibit B. Santorum is exhibit C….and that list goes on and on and on.

  • Willy Occam

     I’m with you, tokuiten.  I can’t believe this yahoo has been elected to THREE terms!  That doesn’t say much for the citizenry of this state. 

    There are a lot of great things about Texas, but the regressive politics and religious zealotry are not among them.

  • Naomi Nye

    Isn’t it about time for our lieutenant governor to take over? 

    Rick’s gone off the cliff. naomi in texas

  • Quine

    Rick is not sufficiently ‘edjamacated  to know the difference between being “out in public” and the legal concept of the “public arena” as it applies to expression by those in government. The “wall of separation” was recognized by the  1947 New Jersey Bus Case, long before the actions of the 1960s.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tim-Matter/100001768578432 Tim Matter

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t it Christians killing other Christians for being the wrong kind of Christians in Europe that the founding fathers had in mind when they decided to keep church and state separate? ” The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe with blood for centuries.”  James Midison

  • andrea altana

    The fight between the Empire(State) and the Church lasted centuries here in Europe. The separation  of this two powers was a great achievement that allowed the switch to the modern era and the so called “american revolution” was of paramount importance in this long long process. What the hell is going on in US? After contributing to the modern civilization seems like you want to come back to the middle age….

  • googjoob

    “Give Caesar what is Caesar’s and give god what is god’s” and I would add “give Satan what is Satan’s”

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PWUAB6VWGQWUV4GQTMTPBBU33Q JessicaR

    I’m gettin real tired of trying to explain Texas politics and religion to our exchange student. I swear I’m moving to Maine before we host another one.

  • pagansister

     Jeeze!  I have been wondering just WHO was responsible for the separation of church and state!  Only took me 60 plus years and Rick Perry to answer that question!!   Of course is Satan—who the heck else would it be?  I mean really!  :o)

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/DJRVGKGG36KNLNMZAVT4EXOF3M Ed-words

    Perry ‘kinda’ looks like Satan would look when taking human form.