Listening to Rick Perry’s Response

Today’s the day! Texas Governor Rick Perry’s massive prayer rally “The Response” is now underway, and you can watch the multi-hour conservative Christian extravaganza via streaming video (if you’re into that sort of thing). They are even live-tweeting the event.

[blackbirdpie url="http://twitter.com/#!/theresponseusa/status/99880630095065088"]

I have weighed in on this event before, and on the troubling inclusion of leaders from the anti-Pagan New Apostolic Reformation (among others). Despite criticisms that this a (conservative) Christians-only affair that some feel transgresses church-state boundariesEric Bearse, former speechwriter and Director of Communications for Rick Perry, now official spokesman for “The Response,” says that the event is inclusive and that non-Christians are “excluding themselves” if they don’t attend (of course he also said that a main goal of the event is to bring people to Christianity, so you can forgive us non-Christians for excluding ourselves).

As the event approached, several news outlets, pundits, and advocacy organizations rushed to have their say before things got underway. Paul Burka shared eight things you ought to know about Rick Perry (“Perry is a hard man. He is the kind of politician who would rather be feared than loved—or respected.”), Bill Leonard at the Associated Baptist Press wondered if Christianity is “so needy, so limited in vision that it requires political privilege to undergird its message,” Paul Harvey at the Religion in American History blog called the event “egregiously sectarian and transparently partisan, “ and Paul Horwitz at the New York Times noted that by “emphasizing creeds, not deeds, Mr. Perry encourages the very divisions that [Abraham] Lincoln believed lay at the root of America’s ills.” You can also find news reports from the New York Times and the Associated Press regarding Rick Perry and “The Response.”

If watching hours of streaming Christian-oriented video isn’t your thing, you can check in on Houston Chronicle religion reporter Kate Shellnutt’s live-blog of the event for key details, or swing by Right Wing Watch now and then, as they are already excerpting politically-charged bits from the live stream. I’ll be checking in with the aftermath, to see what this event may (or may not) signal for religious minorities in the United States.

About Jason Pitzl-Waters
  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    ‘non-Christians are “excluding themselves” if they don’t attend’

    This is the basic rap that Christians offer about Christianity itself: God is inviting you, and if you don’t show up you are excluding yourself from salvation.

    • Mountaindwellinchick

      No thanks, I prefer my religion to not involve brainwashing.

  • Ursyl

    When did the role of governor include being minister-in-chief?

    Rolling my eyes at us “excluding ourselves.” I guess they’re excluding themselves from some wonderful Lughnasadh celebrations this weekend and last, too?

  • Charles Cosimano

    Abe Lincoln, spinning in his tomb, was unavailable for comment.

    • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

      Someone should hook a generator up to his tomb. So much energy, we wouldn’t know what to do with it.

    • Norse Alchemist

      If you think Honest Abe is spinning, go visit Thomas Jefferson’s grave. He’s probably the most Pagan/Heathen friendly of all our Presidents/Founding Fathers. He’s spinning so fast there’s a hole forming in time and space and the earth is starting to go backwards.

  • Netnmedgroup

    What modern “Christians” are practicing is completely against the teachings of Yeshua Ben Yusef, and they should stop calling themselves “Christians.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002086502589 Kira BlueStar

      Wouldn’t it be fun if he kicked off the Second Coming by filing a bunch of libel and slander suits against various “Christian” leaders?

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Nice comment at the Get Religion post on this topic, Jason. Anyone who wants to see our fearless editor doing a Daniel in the lions’ den, hie thee on over to GetReligion(dot)org and check out the latest post as of 4:19pmEDT.

  • http://www.tigerseyetemple.org Dan Miller

    Typical big-budget “show”. Wonder if these folks spent as much money and time on helping the poor in their local communities, hunger and homelessness could be wiped in this nation.

    • Mountaindwellinchick

      To paraphrase the late great George Carlin, they can’t do that, that’s something Jesus would do.

  • Valerie

    Reading up on “Right Wing Watch,” I’m actually terrified of these people. Not to sound overly-dramatic or anything, but I feel like I’m watching the country roll downhill. And it is picking up speed.

  • Norse Alchemist

    Shame we couldn’t get a group of Pagans and Heathens to go crash the party and spread our messages.

    Or Pillage. A lot of wealthy Christians there. We could probably loot enough to support several groups and community centers for a year or two.

  • Mountaindwellinchick

    Frankly I’m very, very disappointed in “The Response”. There was not a single offering made on an altar – I mean come on! They live in TX and they couldn’t find a single freakin’ bull to torch for ol’ Yahweh (Lev. 1: 6-9)? What the heck? And no heifer? Goat? Ram? They couldn’t even sacrifice a single pigeon??? Pffft. Posers.

    I mean really, they claim to be out there fighting demons all the time but can’t be bothered to torch a longhorn? Bet they were wearing two different fibers too.

    • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

      And enjoying sinfully delicious bacon cheeseburgers and shrimp cocktails? Or for that matter, pulled pork sandwiches?

    • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

      And enjoying sinfully delicious bacon cheeseburgers and shrimp cocktails? Or for that matter, pulled pork sandwiches?

  • Nekowolf

    I had a stroke of discovery a few days ago while discussing religion at a site I go to with one of the atheists who frequent the site. God is supposedly in all things, at all times, and is all-known, right? Then there’s this other atheist-persona, Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    Then it hit me. I could not believe what I had uncovered, it is the TRUE secret of Christianity! God is not Yahweh! Yahweh is merely a figurative avatar!

    GOD IS YOG-SOTHOTH!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yog-Sothoth

    • http://paosirdjhutmosu.wordpress.com Djhutmosu Si-Hathor

      Well, I had a feeling he had to be an Eldritch Abomination. Looks like you stumbled independently onto my YHWH-is-an-Eldritch-Abomination Theory. Iä! Iä! Yahweh fhtagn! Iä! Iä!

    • Crystal Kendrick

      I’ve always found incandescent globes to be inherently terrifying.

  • http://PaganCenteredPodcast.com Dave of Pagan Centered Podcast

    Let’s not forget that the response to The Response is the Day of Debauchery and Gluttony, it’s not too late to take part in that (yet).

    Fun fact, that got started by a friend (who happens to have a radio show in DFW) of one of our listeners. Almost 60,000 attendees and counting.

    • http://heathenhall.blogspot.com Joseph

      Agreed– I’m off to make some hot wings, drink some beer, reflect on how well I did at the Pagan Picnic today, and zone out in front of the television. Gluttony, pride, and sloth… three out of seven ain’t bad!

    • Anonymous

      Aw, shucks, I didn’t do anything nearly depraved or debauched enough yesterday. Gluttony, however, I got that one covered. I never knew you could deep fry cheesecake.

  • http://heathenhall.blogspot.com Joseph

    Nothing unexpected, it seems. No “go forth and slay all the pagans” quotables, at least from the reports I’ve seen (I was off at a Pagan Picnic here in NJ, doing a class and holding a ritual). From a purely political point of view, the actual content of the event didn’t seem to change anything, unless there are some “gotcha” quotes that haven’t made it out yet (which is entirely possible).

    If you’re inclined to be against Perry, or Republicans, this will reinforce your perceptions because it was (understandably) uber-evangelical-Christian. If you’re inclined to be in favor of Perry, or Republicans, this won’t do anything to upset that particular apple cart. Even Hagee seemed to manage to keep his remarks fairly (for him) temperate, from the Houston Chronicle’s report.

    • Cigfran

      It might also further disturb those rational conservatives who are already alienated by the flagrant cynicism and dishonesty of the GOP’s exploitation of evangelical Christianity for political power.

      • Crystal Kendrick

        That’s what I’m counting on.

  • http://sari0009.xanga.com/ Karen A. Scofield

    “…Eric Bearse, former speechwriter and Director of Communications for Rick Perry, now official spokesman for “The Response,” says that the event is inclusive and that non-Christians are “excluding themselves” if they don’t attend…”

    The other side of any politicized supremacy coin is politicized prejudice…of course there will be those who will not only choose to exclude themselves from that but who will choose speak out against band wagon, systemic or institutionalized prejudice. Any prejudice.

    Prejudice and abuse tend to have a common defining premise — having the upper hand by denying or taking power from others. It’s about denying others not because it’s necessary to do so but because doing so is a dark, cowardly, persistent failure of imagination that gives chaotic abuse some easily understood structure.

    This basic premise festers within the fabric of society until it can be used to bolster power grabs in fearful times. It’s then that it’s brought out into the light of day with toxic pride and when confronted for what it is, many defend it as if defending the very fabric of society.

    The fear of unraveling the fabric of society fertile ground for moral panics and other dark chapters in history.

    Those who want to bolster power grabs with prejudice always try to get the populace to go along with it, lure them into it deeper and deeper, and they always try to dress it up as something else. At least at first. They use all sorts of hooks. Money. National pride. Racial pride. Political propaganda. Creedism. Heterosexism. Whatever will most strongly play on people’s fears in that place and time.

    • Charles Cosimano

      And with Obama as the opponent, it does not matter who runs, that person is going to win.

      • Lori F – MN

        Oh I don’t know. If Palin runs agains Obama I wouldn’t vote for her. She’s scary.

        • http://heathenhall.blogspot.com Joseph

          Whomever the GOP nominee is, is almost immaterial. What will make or break Obama’s re-election shot is the state of the economy. If the unemployment rate stays hovering within sight of 10%, interest rates or inflation (or both) start rising, and energy prices keep creeping up, Obama is probably going to lose no matter who the Republicans run against him.

      • Grimmorrigan

        Doubtful in the light of recent polls. Obama’s approval rating is low but even lower are the approval rating of the Tea Party, “Boner”, and most of those folks who the public see as being responsible for the ridiculous Debt Deal. Add in the fact that a few current conservative prospects are considered scary by some and parodies of themselves by others it will be an interesting race.

        • Norse Alchemist

          Indeed. Six months ago I’d have said Obama couldn’t win. But seeing what’s being put out there by the other party, and the way both Parties have handled this whole budget mess….I don’t know that it’s so much Anyone vs Obama will win so much as “Who suck the least in the last five minute before I vote.”

          • Grimmorrigan

            “Who sucks the least in the last five minute before I vote.”

            …this is even more depressing that voting for the lesser of two evils.

          • Crystal Kendrick

            “…this is even more depressing that voting for the lesser of two evils.” Definitely a lose-lose situation.

          • Crystal Kendrick

            “…this is even more depressing that voting for the lesser of two evils.” Definitely a lose-lose situation.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Still more depressing is the number of voters who go on who sucks the least in the last two weeks before I vote.

        • Crystal Kendrick

          When my conservative suburbanite relatives from GA are putting down Boehner and the Tea party you know it’s gotten bad.

      • Grimmorrigan

        Doubtful in the light of recent polls. Obama’s approval rating is low but even lower are the approval rating of the Tea Party, “Boner”, and most of those folks who the public see as being responsible for the ridiculous Debt Deal. Add in the fact that a few current conservative prospects are considered scary by some and parodies of themselves by others it will be an interesting race.

  • Angiportus

    Someone who would rather be feared than loved or respected, I don’t want anything to do with.

  • Anonymous

    I would have gone but the Goryunov was in the shop that day.

    ‘non-Christians are “excluding themselves” if they don’t attend’