What's So Scary About Rick Perry?

Douglas MacKinnon writes at Investor’s Business Daily:

Beyond the usual suspects in the far-left media, many in the GOP establishment such as Karl Rove, are doing all they can to derail the Perry campaign. Again, why?

Erick Erickson, in an excellent horse race summation in Red State, nails the answer:

“So you have these guys … trying to settle every score they can with Perry and his consultant, Dave Carney. … Because so much of the consultant class will be shut out of the White House should Rick Perry win, their livelihoods depend on Rick Perry losing either now or in November.

And frankly, for a few in the GOP consultant class, they’ll gladly see Perry lose in November just to ensure they are not shut out of a Republican White House. For all the talk of Perry being an establishment guy, the establishment hates his guts as much as the left does . . .”

No, no, no.  This is not the right way to go.  When conservative writers adopt a populist stance and inveigh against the “GOP establishment,” this reeks of a kind of class warfare that should have no place here.  Conservatives should not demonize those who have been successful and gained influence and experience.  Casting doubt on the motives of anyone who opposes Perry, suggesting that they oppose him only because of their professional aspirations, is also cheap rhetoric.  Is that also why Perry supporters support him, because they want a job?  Speculating on motives gets us nowhere.  The truth is, our motives are often mixed.  Many fiscal conservatives have misgivings regarding Perry not because they want jobs in a Romney administration, or not only for that reason, but because they (also?) believe Romney is far better equipped to manage the current financial crisis and guide the country back toward economic health.

Let’s see if we can get to the heart of the matter.  I realize this is going to upset some of my fellow conservatives who read this blog.  But my job here is to speak honestly.  So I’ll be honest with you.  Perry scares me.  He embarrasses me.  He makes me uneasy.

If there’s one thing I have done frequently in my writings on political matters, it’s defending against caricatures.  I’ve rejected the caricature of the Tea Party, rejected the caricature of Sarah Palin, and rejected the caricature of conservative Christians from Christine O’Donnell to Michele Bachmann.  I’m not about to caricature Rick Perry.  He’s no “dominionist,” i.e., someone who believes that Christians should rule (and take by violence, if necessary) all the power centers of society and impose an Old Testament or theocratic law.  That’s rubbish.  And yes, he considers climate change and evolution overhyped and oversold — but so do most Americans.  Those beliefs are not unreasonable in themselves; what matters is the way in which you came to them.

So what concerns me so much about Rick Perry?  He’s a strong proponent of limited government — which I favor.  He’s strongly opposed to abortion — and I am too.  So what’s the problem?  The truth is, I have a hard time defining what I find so unsettling about him.  I’ll try to flesh it out in a series of posts on this blog in the weeks and months to come.  But here are a couple quick thoughts:

1.  Even for a Christian and a conservative like myself, Rick Perry’s brand of god-and-country politics goes too far.  To be sure, he’s no theocrat.  But there is a subtle blurring of the lines between the church and the state amongst Perry and his devotees that could end up greatly damaging the church.  Political leaders cannot be religious leaders.  I do not mean that he cannot pray in public; but Perry managed to position himself as a kind of political, cultural and pseudo-religious savior all at once, someone who would restore small government, a respect for law and life, and a commitment to fundamental Judeo-Christian values and truths.

When church and state grow intertwined, the state always wins, and the church is distorted.  This is because the state appeals to the flesh, appeals to our natural inclinations toward power, fortune and fame.  The church asks you to put these inclinations aside.  When the two enmesh, and the state becomes the means for the church’s ends, then eventually you find religious leaders so thoroughly imbricated in the pursuit of power, fortune and fame that they cannot find their way out.  Another way of putting this is: When the church and state are enmeshed, the church cannot gain the distance it needs to speak prophetically over against the state and the culture it sanctions.  Thus the earlier generation of the Religious Right, when it lost its way, essentially became incapable of criticizing the GOP.  This is not healthy for the church, and it’s not healthy for the state, which always needs a prophetic critique.

I hope my fellow Christians will think long and hard on these things before they support Rick Perry.  There’s a sense of mounting pseudo-messianic expectation around Perry.  He’s happy to accept the religious adulation of conservative Christians, for political purposes.  It’s worrisome.

2.  The world is a complicated place, and Perry sees things too much in black and white.  To be sure, I believe in truth and falsehood, right and wrong.  I never felt that Bush was in the wrong when he called some things good and some things evil.  But how those truths are understood and how those goods are enacted are very complex things.  I’ve seen no evidence so far that Perry understands the world in all its numerous layers of complexity.

This is not to say that he’s unintelligent or foolish.  He is a very accomplished governor.  Fools don’t get that far.  It’s more of a mindset.  Voting for Rick Perry feels like a vote for battling the opposition; it’s putting a bruiser in the ring, someone who will take the fight to the Democrats and then cut loose like a bull in the beltway China shop, breaking up the old Washington order.  And I too feel like we need dramatic change.  But we need exactly the right kinds of changes, in exactly the right order and the right timing and the right modulation.  We are at a delicate moment in our history.  If we mismanage the transformations that we so desperately need right now, we are going to suffer for years, even decades.  I’m not sure that Rick Perry is the right person to manage this tremendously precarious moment in our national history.

A vote for Perry feels destructive — in the best sense, destructive of those things that seem to conservatives like they are the enemies of the state.  A vote for Romney, to me, feels constructive.  I’m open to having my mind changed on this, but Romney communicates the optimism and hope of Reagan, whereas Perry feels like a battleship in the culture war.

I also don’t think that Perry could win.  This is not going to be a cakewalk.  Electability is important.  As the public gets to know Perry better, I firmly believe they’re going to like him less.  And if he did win, would we spend 4-8 years making apologies and explanations for a President who says the Fed chairman is guilty of “treason”?  A guy whose swagger turns off half the country, and half the world?

3.  Finally, this is just an impression, a personal sense, but I feel a kind of falseness to Rick Perry.  There is a kind of performance he presents in order to win the support of the religious right.  And another performance to win the backing of the Tea Party.  This doesn’t mean that he doesn’t believe the things he says he believes.  He almost surely does.  But I think Rick Perry believes, first and foremost, in Rick Perry.  I hate to say this, but in many ways he feels like the mirror image of Barack Obama — a conservative, Texas farmer version of Obama, as far to the Right as Obama is to the Left, as anti-intellectual as Obama is fawningly pro-intellectual, but ultimately shifting and performing in order to advance himself.  There is a kind of arrogance and self-interest in Rick Perry that I think people on both sides of the aisle should be able to recognize.

I realize many people say the same thing about Romney.  But I haven’t seen Romney perform his religious beliefs in the way Perry has performed his.  Maybe Romney has changed his views on a point or two, in part because of political expedience.  But the whole of Perry feels rather like an act.  Friends who know Romney (and know him well) say that he is, through and through, a man of great integrity.  Friends who know Perry (and know him well) say that he is not.  The word “slimy” comes up repeatedly.

Again, I’m just beginning to observe Rick Perry.  As a matter of intellectual integrity, I should keep an open mind.  And I will.  And I’ll write about this more as I sort through my feelings.  But right now I’m not liking what I’m seeing.  Sorry.

About Timothy Dalrymple

Timothy Dalrymple was raised in non-denominational evangelical congregations in California. The son and grandson of ministers, as a young boy he spent far too many hours each night staring at the ceiling and pondering the afterlife.
 
In all his work he seeks a better understanding of why people do, and do not, come to faith, and researches and teaches in religion and science, faith and reason, theology and philosophy, the origins of atheism, Christology, and the religious transformations of suffering

  • http://www.defendingobama.blogspot.com Greg Metzger

    This is an important piece. I have been struck by what you talk about at the beginning–”Casting doubt on the motives of anyone who opposes Perry, suggesting that they oppose him only because of their professional aspirations, is also cheap rhetoric. Is that also why Perry supporters support him, because they want a job? Speculating on motives gets us nowhere.” Yes, Perry is going to be hated by the secular elite because of his religion, but that does not mean that as Christians we should defend and support his religio-political agenda. And even though I disagree with what you say about Obama, I can see what you are getting at.

  • Tim Schultz

    Tim, I’ve never had a strong negative reaction to anything you’ve written…but there’s a first time for everything, right? I agree with your concern about political messianism, and I really like your caution about impugning motives. But…and maybe I need to re-read this a couple of times…isn’t your third point a Flaming Impugning of Motives? Perhaps your sources on the men’s private character are really good (I’ve heard similar things about Romney, but nothing either way about Perry). But man oh man…they better be *really* good for you to write something this pungent.

  • PubliusPen

    I think you may need new friends. Please, keep an open mind. Spend more time getting to know Rick Perry. He is the real deal.

  • Eric Silverman

    Tim,

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while and I respect your opinion a lot. Yet, I don’t think any of these objections really holds (at least not more than against most of the major alternatives).

    Concerning objection 1: I don’t see any evidence that Perry will blur the church-state line any farther than previous Republican presidents (and perhaps, less than Bush Jr.). And just as I’m willing to grant Romney some ‘grace’ for fitting into the Mass. liberal culture I’m willing to grant Perry permission to be ‘from Texas’ and more overt in his religious pronouncements. Also, I reject the premise that swing voters will dislike Perry’s kind of religiosity (especially the key swing voters in the mountain states and mid-west…those are the one’s that will really decide this election).

    Concerning Objection 2: I really wish that you would cite more evidence that Perry is a simiplistic thinker (in fact, I would have liked more hard evidence for each of your anti-Perry claims). I think many people would have made the same claim about Reagan. And frankly, I think many candidates pretend to be very nuanced thinkers but still lead in very ‘black and white’ ways. Obama like’s to make nuanced statements, but at the end of the day he leads in a non-nuanced way.

    Concerning Objection 3: I think most candidates have a degree of ‘falseness’ to them. And frankly, I think Romney is FAR more false than Perry. Perry is actually running on positions similar to those he held as Texas Governor, Romney is not.

    Finally, I think Perry can make at least TWO important arguments better than Romney:

    1) That he can fix the economy: Texas has done very well compared to the rest of the country during the past few years. And while Romney claims to have all sorts of sophisticated economic expertise, his record in Mass. was rather lackluster.

    2) That he will ‘fix’ Obamacare. Romney’s record on RomneyCare will make him unattractive to many who dislike the president’s major ‘achievement’. Perry can draw real distinctions with Obama on this issue. Romney’s record looks too much like Obama’s on this issue.

    I’m still withholding judgement on Perry, but I was dissatisfied with Romney and Perry seems to have some strengths. But we will wait and see if he is ‘a real contender’ or just the latest ‘flash in the pan’

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Thanks for these thoughts, Eric. It’s important to differ every now and then! :-)

      I just responded to some similar comments from Andy Williams, and now unfortunately I have to hit the sack. But good comments and I appreciate them.

      -Tim

  • DD

    As someone who voted for Obama (and fully expects to again), I feel extremely uncomfortable with Perry, for the same reasons you do.

    Romney, well… Romney is a through-and-through politician and comes off like a bit fake sometimes, but I also think he’s at core a moderate (a good thing) and competent. If Obama lost to Romney I’d have plenty of complaints, but I wouldn’t fret too much for the overall health and future of the country. If Perry were to run against Obama and win, I’d be very, very worried.

    Part of me wants the Republicans to nominate Perry, because I doubt he could win. But I want a good election contest. If the Republicans want a good contest too, they should nominate Romney or Huntsman. Huntsman is a long shot at this point, but he could appeal to independents and maybe win some disaffected dems too.

  • Ron Bonzetti

    I’ve lived in TX during Perry’s entire governorship. Oddly, I know almost nothing about him. I have a few far-left democrat neighbors who see conspiracies in everything he does and say snarky things about him, but I don’t trust their judgment on political, moral, spiritual, or idiological matters. Not surprisingly, they see nothing scandalous in the behavior of Pelosi, Reid, or Obama. Frankly, I take that fact that I know almost nothing about him as a positive sign. He’s an administrator and problem-solver, not a zealot. He isn’t leading crusades, he’s managing the affairs of the state of TX. He’s nothing like Obama in terms of his blatant narcissism. I don’t know if he would be a good President, but I know he couldn’t be worse than Obama. Also, Alex Jones’s army of idiots and the Ron Paul zealots hate him. So I guess he’s got at least two things going for him.

    • Colin Bradley

      Yes he is Much worse than Obama by first thinking that the World was created 6000 years ago !
      That is enough for me !!!
      But to you Southern Confederates that is not an issue.
      He thinks Health care is a Ponzi Scheme.
      You know nothing about him and yet you’ll probably vote for him…do you live in the Swamps ?..
      Idiot !!!

      • Timothy Dalrymple

        Colin, I had to delete one of your comments for obscenity. I’d encourage you to try to think beyond the stereotypes (“Southern Confederates”). I sometimes fall prey to stereotypes myself, as you’ll find if you follow this blog, but I try not to, and I generally discourage it. I think you’ll find that most of the readers and commenters here are quite thoughtful. They may have strong opinions, but they typically have strong reasons for them as well.

        Thanks,
        Tim

  • Andy Williams

    Hi Tim,

    I enjoy your writings very much and was interested to read this piece, but, this piece lacks substance and is quite unfair to Perry or even to the argument against Perry. It seems a bit lacking in effort to throw out all these harsh accusations without sighting much evidence – I think the one piece of evidence that you employed was actually edited to make him look worse: “almost treacherous or treasonous” I believe is the exact quote.

    You’re saying a) he dangerously mixes church and state; b) he’s simplistic in perspective of the world; and c) that he’s fake (siting “friends” is your evidence???).

    These are very serious charges. He has a long, long political record and there should be a pattern of evidence to support these claims if you’re right, and if there is, we’d all be better for learning the evidence. But, what you’ve provided is nothing but personal opinion that ignores his record, which is also what many people did with Obama – he felt right, so why look too hard at his record. Whether fair and thorough examination helps or hurts Perry I don’t much care, but I hope a gut reaction against his style, accent and appearance don’t prevent us from examining his record to judge the merits of his candidacy. You said it well…use of caricature is not fair…and this feels a lot like caricature.

    Sincerely,

    Andy (registered independent – voted Obama in 08 and likely GOP in 2012)

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      I understand your points and your concerns, Andy. They’re entirely fair. Sometimes there are pragmatic reasons why it’s just not possible for me to spend hours assembling the evidence for the case, and — this is a blog, after all, not a column in the WSJ — sometimes I think it’s all right just to share personal opinions and impressions.

      That said, I did promise to spell these things out more fully in time. Point #1 has abundant evidence, although I didn’t have the time to lay it all out in this post, which was really more introductory. Point #2 comes from a long series of things he’s said that, to me, bespeak a less sophisticated view of the world than a George W. Bush had (I never bought that Bush was simple-minded, and I wanted to pick a fellow Texan, just to show that this is not about regional prejudice). Point #3, as advertised, is just a personal impression that comports with some impressions of others who’ve observed him and interacted with him much more than I have. I don’t find it helpful to impugn the motives of people who are for or against particular policies, but assessing the motives and genuineness of a candidate seems like fair game to me.

      I may be right, I may be wrong, but this is where I’m at right now in assessing Perry. And I can also say this: I’m not alone. I know a fair number of savvy conservative Christians who are really concerned Perry might win the primary. For what it’s worth.
      -Tim

  • Sally

    I think your characterization of Perry as a conservative Obama is spot on. He always appears to be putting on a show, grandstanding. He seems to just be promoting himself and I am surpised that conservatives who are so tired of Obama’s charades do not recognize the same in Perry.

  • http://middletree.blogspot.com James Williams

    I’m also a Texan who’s very conservative, and I don’t trust Perry. He’s a snake. He’s Eddie Haskell. He says what the person in front of him wants to hear, as long as that person can benefit him in some way.

    I know that a common complaint about conservatives is they cater to big business. I understand why this is a ridiculous accusation in most cases, because I understand the wisdom of the government getting out of the way of business.

    That said, Perry is all about helping whatever businesses tell him to, and it comes across to me as a lack of integrity of the highest order.

    The HPV vaccine issue has been talked to death, but it’s still a very valuable picture of what Perry is all about. He issued an executive order, which means that it didn’t get voted on or even discussed. The EO made it mandatory that little elementary school-aged girls were to get a vaccine against a disease that is sexually transmitted. There was an opt-out for parents who opposed it, but it consisted of red tape that many would not bother with. The vaccine was made by only one company. A single dose was priced at $350. The company which made it had hired a Perry friend as a lobbyist.

    This ridiculous action was so transparent that even Perry couldn’t get away with it. It was overturned by the legislature a short time later, and he didn’t veto it.

    This is but the most blatant of many examples. I have no trust in this man whatsoever, no matter how many times he says in speeches what we conservatives want to hear.

    • Matt

      And you think Romney is different?

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Thanks for the comments, James. I know people don’t like it when I refer vaguely to “friends” and stories that are off the record. But it’s essentially stories like these, from people who were on the inside, that make me wary. You should always take stories from insiders with a grain of salt; everyone has an agenda, and some may have had hurt feelings or etc. But when you hear stories like this frequently, it should at least make you cautious. It should at least prevent you from jumping right on the bandwagon. I hope people are not being too quick to jump on the Perry bandwagon. Maybe he’s the real thing. But let’s take our time and make sure we’re not getting bamboozled.
      -Tim

  • http://www.ymtheology.com John Byrne

    I appreciate your candor, but I would like to point out a few things:
    The founding fathers saw a wall keeping the state from intruding on the rights of Americans to practice their religion as they see fit, but the wall is not to protect the state from religion. Many of the founding fathers adamantly practiced their religion including leading revivals and so on. As a matter of fact many of them were pastors known as the black robe regiment.

    Perhaps this is more of a preference than anything, but it seems like when we allow things to get more complicated we end up giving up our principles.

  • John Haas

    “When conservative writers adopt a populist stance and inveigh against the “GOP establishment,” this reeks of a kind of class warfare that should have no place here.”

    In another context, this is called “blowback.”

  • Erik Hanson

    Tim,

    I normally like a number of things about which you post. But I’m not finding anything here that is a response to anything that speaks to Rick Perry’s governing philosophy, writ large, but much that is built on emotivism and innuendo and without substantial specifics (although I’m sure that Perry’s record will receive the scrutiny that was lacking during the current incumbent’s campaign). That is, I would like to engage your concerns constructively, but I’m lacking a solid foothold at the moment.

    However, I think that the GOP race is going to come down to a duel between Romney and Perry. If my predictions are right (although Michele Bachmann might surprise everyone, by some miracle), then can Romney’s “flip-flopping” on nearly every issue important to conservatives be defended?

    http://www.politicususa.com/en/romney-obama-downgrade-flip-flop.

    http://motherjones.com/mojo/2011/08/mitt-romney-flip-flop-vice-president-picks

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Yep, Erik, I’ll flesh things out more in time. Thanks!

      Perry’s entrance into the race is all but fatal for Bachmann. 95% chance she’s done with, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see Perry pick her as a running mate (if he wants to double down on the Christian right). Of course he could decide to go with a Rubio or with someone who appeals more to the establishment (Ryan, Thune, etc), but I think he’ll be more like Bush and go for someone whose governing instincts are similar to his.

      -Tim

      • John Haas

        Perry’s strong showing thus far is even more troubling for Romney. Bachmann never had a chance. Romney does, and is still the likely nominee, but Perry’s revealed how soft Romney’s support actually is, and that means trouble in the general election.

        Hence,what’s become more likely is that Romney will be forced to pick Perry or Bachmann or someone similar as running mate, thus recapitulating some of the problems that plagued McCain in 2008.

      • John Haas

        Looking at some poll numbers in South Carolina cited by Mark Silk at his blog today illustrates my point:

        “Back in June–before the Bachmann bubble had fully expanded–it was (among those in double digits) Romney at 30 percent followed by Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich at 15 percent, Bachmann at 13 percent, and Ron Paul at 10 percent. Now it’s Perry at 36 percent, Romney at 16 percent, and Bachmann at the same 13 percent. Romney has, in other words, reverted to the level of support he got last time [2008] around in the Palmetto State (15 percent).”

        With Perry in the race, Bachmann is unaffected, but Romney’s support has been cut in half, and he trails Perry by 20 points!

        Now, take the best-case scenario for Romney supporters: that Perry implodes due to some gaffe or revelation. That’s fine, except that much of his support has apparently been lukewarm, or they wouldn’t have fled to Perry so quickly. If Perry is demolished, they may not come back to Romney (especially if Romney’s the demolisher), or, if they do, it will apparently be with little enthusiasm.

        So, if you’re hoping for a Republican win, Perry probably has a better shot.

        • Timothy Dalrymple

          Thanks for your thoughts, John, as always,

          -Tim

  • Larry Waddell

    I have not made up my mind regarding any of the GOP candidates at this point, well I take that back, Ron Paul is a non-starter in my book. I was struck by one of your statements regarding Rick Perry being more overt than Mitt Romney in his religious practices. What is Mitt going to do with his Mormonism, advise everyone to get sealed at temple so they can inherit a celestial kingdom and become a god?

  • Julian Alien

    I like the time he tried to force vaccinate every 12 year old girl in Texas for sexually transmitted diseases at the behest of a pharma giant who just happened to be a major donor to his campaign.He was disappointed that he couldn’t keep his promise to the pharmaceutical company for the State contract.Another time he concocted a ponzi scheme using teachers salaries.Ha what a riot.That guy.Just think of what he would do if he had some real power?I’m voting for Ron Paul.If you don’t want Spanish as a first language,you might want to consider doing the same.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      I do think that vaccination story is going to be a major criticism.
      -Tim

  • Larry Waddell

    You critique Rick Perry with the following statement… “But I haven’t seen Romney perform his religious beliefs in the way Perry has performed his.” Again, what is Romney going to do, advise everyone to get sealed at temple and go on a mission so they can inherit a celestial kingdom and become a god? The reason Romeny can’t overtly practice or even speak about his religion is because it will invite unwanted scrutiny and show his belief system to be so far out of the main that it would damage his chances for election. You may be correct in your understanding of Rick Perry, but for some reason you choose to overlook the issues of Romney’s cultic beliefs. I suggest you do a little research on the Council of 50 in Mormon practice; if you still want a Mormon for President are you willing to chance the possibility of a Mormon theocracy?

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      I’ve done quite a lot of research on Mormonism, actually. While Romney could not “perform” a Temple marriage in public, for the reasons you cite, he could certainly perform those aspects of his faith (and they are many) that overlap and resonate most with Christians. I’ll tell you one story. I may get some of the details wrong, but a friend of mine had gone through a family tragedy and needed some help – I think it was – digging out from some mudslides in California. He invited some friends (including a Romney son) to come over and help out, and the Romney son asked if it was all right if he brought a few others along. One of the “others,” as it happened, was Mitt himself. So Mitt came and spent the better part of a day digging holes. No media, no pictures, no press release. He just worked hard the whole day, and then left and went on his way.

      I’ve got about five more stories like that, from people who know Mitt or have interacted with him. It wouldn’t be hard for Mitt to lard his speeches with references to God and Jesus and emphasize the ways in which Mormonism overlaps with Christianity. But he doesn’t do that. I don’t think that politicians have to keep their faith private, but I do respect it when they refrain from performing their faith publicly in order to gain politically.
      -Tim

      • Larry Waddell

        I think I know some witch doctors in Africa who dug someone out of pit once. What does that prove, that people do good things in-spite of their beliefs? It sounds to be that you have been convinced that Christianity and Mormonism are so closely related that are equivalent. And while you may have studied Mormonism, you did not address their teaching regarding the Council of 50. If they still hold this belief shouldn’t we know, and if they don’t hold it any longer when did they change and why?

        • http://ahoeyandhisblog.wordpress.com Jack III

          The witch doctor comment is a silly and uncharitable response, Larry. Plenty of people do good things “in spite” of their beliefs – Mormons, however, are almost certainly motivated to do such things BY their beliefs. I’m not a Mormon and find much about their beliefs to be off-putting. But my experience (and especially the experiences of my wife, who lived among many Mormons while growing up in Utah) has convinced me that they are an extremely caring and generous people. I am under no illusions that Mormonism and Christianity are equivalent but, frankly, I’d prefer a practicing Mormon as president to a politician who is Christian in name only.

        • Sarah

          Active mormon here..all my live. Seriously Council of 50? I had to wikepedia it.

          copy and pasting:

          Regular meetings of the Council ended in 1884, after the church publicly abandoned its theocratic aspirations. The organization was technically extinguished when its last member, Heber J. Grant, died in 1945

          It wasn’t actually an “LDS” thing as non mormons were members too. It was more a Joseph Smith thing. They just kept it going for a while after he was murdered.

          Did that answer your questions?

  • Larry Waddell

    Tim, you appear to know the motives of Rick Perry’s heart, you dismiss his public practice of his faith as nothing more than an attempt to gain political advantage. I have not made up my mind about Perry but I sure don’t feel I have the insight into his heart and mind to judge his motives regarding the outward practice of his faith. Also, for years we as Christians have complained about the secularist tendency to exclude Christians from the Public Square, when someone like Rick Perry brings his faith into the Public Square the first thing you do is complain about it.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Larry, I’m pretty clear that I don’t claim knowledge of these things, but I have impressions that concern me. I also make clear that I think Christians can bring their faith into the public square — but that doesn’t mean that any way of doing so is legitimate, and I think Perry goes too far. You seem to be running past the nuances.
      -Tim

  • Larry Waddell

    So a Mormon does good deeds because of his beliefs. Like the belief that he must do good deeds in order to attain a celestial kingdom and become a god? You state that you would rather have someone who is sincerely wrong in their beliefs as President than someone who is Christian in name only. Are you pleased with the current occupant of the White House because he is sincere in socialistic, statist beliefs and does not appear to be sincere about his Christian faith. Wouldn’t a Mormon in the White House legitimize his errant beliefs, thus lending to the acceptance of his religion and perhaps cause others to convert to Mormonism? Wouldn’t aiding the legitimization of Mormonism and the possible conversion by some condemn those who accept this false religion to eternal separation from God?

    • http://ahoeyandhisblog.wordpress.com Jack III

      I’m not sure I follow the logic that Romney occupying the White House legitimizes the Mormon religion – I’m sure plenty of people from all religions voted for Pres. Obama without the intention of endorsing his religion. And I did not state that I would rather have “someone who is sincerely wrong in their beliefs as President.” Yes, I think Mormons are wrong, but that is beside the point here. My simple point is that I would prefer someone as president whose religion is a geniunely important part of their life as opposed to someone who sees religion as a tool to acquire office.

      • Larry Waddell

        You don’t follow the logic of someone holding the highest office in the land who holds to an aberrant belief system legitimizing that belief system in the eyes of those who are unsure of their own beliefs or are seeking a belief system to add meaning to their life? Hmmm. I suppose then, that a sincere Islamist in the office of President would be better than an insincere Christian? At least according to your logic.

        • http://ahoeyandhisblog.wordpress.com Jack III

          There are Muslims who are, I’m sure, perfectly capable of governing, just as there have been (and are) Christians who are capable. So frankly, I’m not sure I find much to disagree with in your last question. One’s religion is not (and should not) be disqualify anyone from seeking the presidency. It seems to be that by your logic, no Muslim or Mormon (or Buddhist, Atheist, etc.) should run for any office, since it might sway any constituents “who are unsure of their beliefs.” I understand your point, Larry, I really do; I just don’t think you and I are coming from the same place on this.

        • sdb

          This is utter nonsense. Several of our presidents were Unitarian (both of the Adams, Fillmore, and Taft), and several had strong deist leanings (Washington, Jefferson, and some evidence for Lincoln). Somehow the Republic survived a string of presidents whose theology was at least as heretical as Romney’s.

          So yeah, I would vote for a Muslim who supported limited government and conducted his affairs with integrity before I voted for a politician who covered himself in an evangelical patina in a cynical attempt to cash in on identity politics. I would have the same reservations about voting for an Islamist as I would a Christian Reconstructionist.

        • sdb

          The treaty of Tripoli, signed by Adams and unanimously ratified by the Senate states in part,

          “Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any [Islamic] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

          Your view seems to be that there should be a religious test for the presidency. This is blatantly unconstitutional and flies in the face of the ethos of our founding.

          • http://ahoeyandhisblog.wordpress.com Jack III

            Well put, both responses.

  • http://alexspeaks.com Alex Humphrey

    I cannot imagine a more important blog regarding the GOP race. Your statement, “I have a hard time defining what I find so unsettling about him.” hits the nail right on the head.

    I’ve lived in Texas all my life and have been a voter for the last 7 years. In the two times I’ve been able to vote for Governor I have voted against Rick Perry. Not because I’m a democrat, or anti-republican, or anything like that, but because I don’t like what I see.

    Even though Texas is doing really well (and in all honesty, Perry is a part of that) there is still something about him that has always left me very unsettled. He has influnced in a good way, but he has also changed what a Texas Governor is suppose to be (specifically in the amount of power he has given himself in a position that is suppose to be relatively powerless).

    Just a few thoughts for a Texan. If it turns out to be Obama vs Perry I am going to have a very difficult time at the election office.

    • Eva

      You do not sound like a Texan. You sound more like a transplant. I refer you to the radio show Pratt on Texas on 790 to help you.

  • http://ymhs.org Rick Woolcott

    Tim, I couldn’t agree more. With my usual highly intellectual reasoning…. the man’s a fool. The mirror image of President Obama comment I can’t get behind at all. I see them as totally different.

  • Eva

    I think you need to pray for some more understanding of Rick Perry. Pray to be less afraid and for more enlightenment of your fellow Christian travelers. You now seem to be a product of your time and need to come to A & M and teach for a year or two.

  • Colin Bradley

    Very Plain and Simple…
    He thinks the World was Created 6000 Years ago.
    He thinks Evolution is a “Theory far out there”.
    Enough said.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Are you sure he’s a young-earther? I haven’t seen information one way or the other. Not every creationist, of course, is a young-earth creationist. But if you have a link to a site where that’s clear, I’d love to look at it. Thanks.
      -Tim

  • http://www.ignoramus.us Leon Goodman

    “Rick Perry Christian Values – Is he real?

    Rick Perry has led with his chin on his great Christian values. He hates Mormons and tried to exterminate them in April, 2007 He did not halt the genocide and capture of Mormon women and 450 children near San Angelo, Texas, he also refused to expatriate them when the Texas Third Court of Appeals ordered him to do so. That bit of hypocrisy should be enough to urge you to put him down right now before he has a chance to sucker punch Mitt on his pioneer polygamy background.

    The main stream Media seems to be oblivious to the evil this man has done in suspending the civil rights of other Christians. Mormons are not Christians, you say? What is the official name of their Church? If you don’t know, you are hopeless. If you do, then you have no concept of reason.

    See my info pack on Rick Perry and others at ignoramus.us That is a .us extension, not .com


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