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.

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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.

  • Paula G V aka Yukimi

    Distracting ones attention as a magician do on their magic tricks has always been one common move for politicians T_T Curiously in my country it has helped the right winged party win the last General Elections to my chagrin without a real stance in so many important areas (which reminds me of Winston Churchill's quote “The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.”)On the side of the ocean we are also very happy you have this president instead of another George Bush, although I have a personal bias against Obama because Hillary Clinton was in favor of universal health care.

  • Paula G V aka Yukimi

    PS: Sorry if I sounded a bit bitter I'm stil getting over the General Elections win of the PP.

  • http://janeyqdoe.com Janey

    And I thought I hated the Australian opposition leader for being too right-wing. I actually had to physically stop myself from screaming while I watched that ad.

  • http://www.ayoungmomsmusings.blogspot.com Melissa @ Permission to Live

    I could not keep from laughing when I saw that ridiculous ad yesterday, it sounds like an SNL skit, I can hardly believe this guy is running for president. On the other hand, Hillary Clinton's recent speech on LGBT rights being humand rights brought tears to my eyes, SO powerful. It's sad to think that her speech would have outraged me just a few short years ago, and I probably would have resonated more with Rick Perry's idiotic ad. :(

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13930917517196516292 Jason Dick

    I absolutely loved this video response that PZ posted on his blog:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbrI3F7p6-o

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10329947206142706470 Peter and Nancy

    So . . . I'm a Christian, and I do NOT want to reinstate "official" prayer in school. Praying is for home, family, and your own place of worship. And I keep waiting for it to dawn on Republicans that if prayer in schools is reinstated, it could be Muslim prayer, or Hindu prayer, and not what they think is the "right" kind of prayer. The Republicans need to get input from normal people, or people not over age 50 or something — and stop shooting themselves in the foot with drivel like this ad.Nancy

  • Anonymous

    @Peter and Nancy, "The Republicans need to get input from normal people, or people not over age 50 or something"I happen to be 57, does this comment mean people over age 50 don't know what they are doing? Interesting comment. That would be similar to me saying, "anyone under age 40, your opinions don't qualify".Perry's ad was definetly aimed at a certain group of people. It was lacking in my opinion, as well.Beverly

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13960636547791857359 taradawes

    @Peter and Nancy – I'm pretty sure age has nothing to do with it, I'm 31 and pretty liberal but my mother who is 68 is as so far left on the liberal scale she makes me look like a Republican.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13285571872065043306 looloolooweez

    At first I was sure that this was some kind of clever parody, but then I remembered that this guy is governor of my state and this is how he actually thinks and acts. He does things like calling for a 3-day prayer binge, begging God for rain to put out massive wildfires tearing across Texas, while simultaneously slashing funding for firefighting by about $27 mil.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15172112981244682382 shadowspring

    Nailed it, Libs! I also used to think the premise of What's The Matter With Kansas was exaggerated; now I think it's spot on. Great post.

  • Anonymous

    Reminds me of my Best friend's grandmother, she will happily vote for any Republican that claims to be a Christian against abortion,PP,or Homosexual rights. Even if that same Republican is against welfare and will throw her of Medicaid/Medicare.

  • Anonymous


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10329947206142706470 Peter and Nancy

    I was thinking of a particular, extreme right, over-50 crowd that doesn't believe in global warming, etc. Not all of those over 50, but the "base" this ad is obviously aimed at. Although I know there must be plenty of 20-somethings who believe the same things, or the GOP would not be seriously considering any of the candidates currently in the running. Help.