Rick Perry’s Latest Ad

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Commentary to follow, but first, the transcript: 

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian, but you don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.

As President, I’ll end Obama’s war on religion. And I’ll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage.

Faith made America strong. It can make her strong again.

I’m Rick Perry and I approve this message.

Rick Perry is talking to his base here. He’s talking to people like my parents, who view being gay as a sin and see the removal of official prayers from the public school as the beginning of the end for this country. I remember when I saw issues like this as the number one thing to vote on. What mattered was what a candidate thought of abortion and gay marriage, and nothing else.
The thing is, he’s only talking to his base. To those who don’t see anything wrong with having gays in the military or with not having official school prayer (no one is stopping kids from praying in school, it just can’t be teacher led or endorsed by the school), this ad makes no sense at all.
See, I could list a lot of things that are wrong with our country, and allowing gays in the military and removing official prayer from the schools wouldn’t appear on that list at all. Our country isn’t suffering from a lack of faith – it’s suffering from a lack of social and economic justice. I’d like to think that most Americans agree with me.

In the book What’s the Matter with Kansas, the author argues that Republicans have used social issues like abortion and gay marriage to con voters into voting against their very own economic best interests. He looks specifically at what has happened to Kansas as outsourcing and deregulation and other things born straight out of Republicans’ free market agenda have stripped people of their jobs and livelihoods even as they have continued to vote for Republicans because of the issues of abortion and gay marriage.

When I read the book, I thought it had some hyperbole. I’m starting to think not, though. When issues like gay rights and school prayer trump basic economic concerns, there’s a problem. Of course, someone like Perry might say they’re related – that we’re in this economic mess because we turned away from God and are facing his judgment. In this twisted way of viewing the world, the best way to fix our economy is to ban abortion and ban homosexuality. Only then can we achieve economic prosperity.
To add one point to the very upside down nature of how Perry sees the world, note that allowing everyone in the military regardless of their personal life and not having official prayers in school is suddenly a “war on religion.” Um…since when is not being able to establish your religion as the rule of the land (through prayers and discriminating against those your religion holds to be leading sinful lives) a “war on religion?” I find this very often with the whole “Christians are discriminated against” thing. Ask how, and what you get is things like this. “Christians not being able to establish their views as the official view” is seen as “Christians being discriminated against.” Except, in the real world, that’s not how it works.
And as a side note: We’re blaming the lack of official school prayer on Obama now? Talk about rewriting history: it was the Supreme Court in 1962 and 1963 that banned official school prayers, Obama has nothing to do about it.

Personally, I prefer a president who lives in the world of reality, where things like equal rights and social justice still matter.

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.


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