It’s become a staple of modern presidential elections — at the first hint of criticism from the right flank, a Republican puts out a call to religious-right kingmakers to testify to his or her religious bona fides. So when Texas Gov. Rick Perry found his conservative credentials in question (over the HPV vaccine mandate and other issues that troubled social conservatives), the Perry campaign obviously pulled out the standard playbook.
But Gov. Perry doesn’t do anything modestly.
Where other candidates might simply get Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University to give them a platform to speak to social conservatives — something Gov. Perry did last week — the governor gets the religious pooh-bahs themselves to carry his message to the base.
Leading the charge: pseudo-historian David Barton of the Texas-based WallBuilders organization. Barton took to Twitter a few weeks ago to circulate a detailed rebuttal to a popular email listing “14 Reasons Why Rick Perry Would Be A Really, Really Bad President.” Most of these 14 charges have nothing to do with social issues (they focus primarily on Gov. Perry’s economic record), but Barton wants to make sure all his followers know that the governor no longer supports his controversial Trans-Texas Corridor.
Remind us again, David, what this has to do with “educating the nation concerning the Godly foundation of our country.” (Barton is widely credited online with authoring this document, though it is unsigned. But it reads more like Gov. Perry campaign talking points, which made me wonder if the real author wasn’t a lowly campaign staffer and Barton is just the puppet mouthing the lines.)
Long-time religious-right activist — and proud organizer of “The Response” prayer rally last month in Houston — Alice Patterson of the San Antonio-based Justice at the Gate does Barton one better. Last week she blasted out a painfully earnest defense of Gov. Perry to her group’s email list. According to Patterson, Perry is being martyred for his public call to prayer:
“I think that part of the venom against Gov. Perry is because of his bold call to prayer.”
While Patterson also defends Gov. Perry’s economic record, she’s more interested in building a case for his sainthood, even quoting former state GOP party chair Susan Weddington:
“Rick Perry is a spiritual man. His faith has grown stronger and deeper in the time I have known him (over 15 years) and it definitely informs the policy decisions he makes. He has no shame with his faith and never tries to hide it… I am a Christocrat first, Republican second.”
Patterson’s email is reprinted below in full (and available here for download as a pdf).
But this has to take the cake. Richard Land penned an op-ed for the USA Today this week attempting to distance Gov. Perry from the tarnished legacy of George W. Bush. A ham-fisted, nakedly partisan hagiography like this would be surprising even from the chair of Gov. Perry’s election committee. But from the head of the (ironically named) Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission? That’s the point, of course. The USA Today wouldn’t print a propaganda piece like this from a campaign hack. But Land is happy to lend his name (and his credibility) to it.
(And a friendly note to Gov. Perry: notice how quickly Land turned on Bush, sneering at him as a “son of privilege.” Come next election cycle, I’m betting Land will happily throw you under the bus when called upon to defend his next political heart-throb.)
One interesting thing about Gov. Perry’s sudden jump into the presidential campaign is what it has revealed about these supposedly nonpartisan groups and leaders on the religious right. Their intentions are political, not religious.
The mask is slipping.
(Email from Alice Patterson)
Governor Rick Perry’s Email Accusations
Since The Response, where Texas Gov. Rick Perry called the nation to prayer and fasting in Houston on August 6 and his subsequent presidential announcement, I’ve received many emails asking me to clarify his positions. It seems that because I was an organizer for The Response, many are looking to me for answers. This a factual, educational response to questions posed from many friends asking me to set the record straight.
Some of the emails remind me of the emergency emails I’ve received from concerned Christians for years about Madelyn Murray O’Hair—even after her murder in 1995.
Summary of eRumor:
Email warnings say that famed Atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair has petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take religious music and programs off radio and television. A petition number is mentioned, RM-2493, and people are encouraged to call or write the FCC to protest the petition and urge the FCC to reject it.
No such petition has ever been presented to the FCC by Madalyn Murray O’Hair or her organization of American atheists. In fact, this eRumor is more than 20 years old and has produced more mail response to the FCC than anything in its history.
Emails from people we trust sometimes cause us to click the forward key without first verifying facts or determining the beliefs, character and agenda of the original source of the accusation. Some are indeed eRumors. I think it’s human nature to believe the worst, especially when it’s negative information about politicians, whom some mistrust for the most part. Perhaps it’s our fallen nature. It’s certainly easier to believe what we read rather than going to the trouble of checking it out.
The majority on my email list are pastors and leaders of every ethnicity, who are passionate pursuers of God and seekers of truth. This is my attempt to set the record straight and give you facts and sources. The decision about whom you support for president is up to you, but the obligation to verify what we send out is up to all of us. This is a call to truth and a call to prayer.
I think that part of the venom against Gov. Perry is because of his bold call to prayer.
Before we address the accusations, here’s an opportunity to hear from Gov. Perry himself at The Response. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmog8anc9UA
The Word of God says to “prove all things and hold fast that which is good” 1 Thessalonians 5:21. Although this update addresses accusations leveled at Gov. Rick Perry, this is a call to prayer for those in the political arena and a call for caution in what we believe and forward – whether information is about those we agree with or not.
“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity” 1 Timothy 2:1-2.
There are many different accusations including an email entitled “14 Reasons Why Rick Perry Would Be A Really, Really Bad President”. A blogger reprinted the charges followed by answers by David Barton (founder of www.wallbuilders.com and renowned historian and accurate researcher) at http://getdclu.com/archives/3019
Supported Al Gore in 1988
Although the charge about then Democrat State Representative Rick Perry’s support of Al Gore for president was addressed in the previous blog, I want to add a comment and quote.
Al Gore’s political views have changed over the years including his initiating a crusade about global warming, but in 1988 Gore was the most conservative Democrat running for president with the exception of Dick Gephardt. “According to CNN, Gore ran his campaign as, ‘a Southern centrist, [who] opposed federal funding for abortion. He favored a moment of silence for prayer in the schools and voted against banning the interstate sale of handguns.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Gore_presidential_campaign,_1988. Rick Perry changed parties in 1989 before he ran statewide for Agriculture Commissioner as a Republican.
In addition to the answer under “14 Reasons,” Gov. Perry did not know about the conspiracy theories about the Bilderberg Group being a New World Order organization when he accepted an invitation to speak on a panel about energy in 2007. He was not invited back nor has he sought any affiliation with this group.
Executive Order about HPV Vaccine in 2007
Gov. Perry said during the debate at the Reagan Library on September 8 that if he were given a chance to do this over he probably would have gone through the legislature. He said in a different venue that in hindsight an “opt in” rather than an “opt out” would have been more appropriate. Kelly Shackelford, CEO of Liberty Institute (www.libertyinstitute.org), the Focus on the Family affiliate for Texas stated, “Gov. Perry’s record on parental rights, with this one exception is excellent. If you have a problem with the HPV decision, it’s not that he’s trying to do something about cancer; it’s the parental rights issue. Number one, there was an opt-out. It probably should have been an opt-in instead, but parents did have control. Secondly, that opt-out instead of opt-in was an admitted mistake, but he’s got a huge record of positive accomplishments protecting parental rights such as the parental notification bill, the parental consent bill, parental rights in school choice and a huge and courageous stand vetoing the CPS (Child Protective Services) bill, which would have reduced parental rights, which our organization and the Texas Home School Coalition asked him to veto.”
Tim Lambert, CEO of Texas Home School Coalition (www.thsc.org) states, “Rick Perry has been the best friend that homeschoolers have ever had in the Governor’s Mansion. Not only does he understand the parental rights issue, he has demonstrated by his actions that he believes in it.”
Aligning with Islamist Aga Khan
One of the most insidious accusations against Gov. Perry concerns an alliance with a Muslim leader and cooperation with him in what goes into Texas textbooks insinuating that Perry is pro-Muslim, which presumes anti-Israel. You can find the truth in an article by David Stein here: http://www.countercontempt.com/archives/1945 called “Debunking the Rick Perry ‘Pro-Sharia’ School Curriculum Myth.” This is very important. It’s too long to cut and paste here, but please read through it, especially the verbatim excerpt from the textbooks about Israel . The bottom line is that Aga Khan is a friend of Israel and of the United States . The textbook information about Israel is pro-Israel and pro-USA. Here is another article on the subject: http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/09/governor_perrys_islam_connection.html
Private Sector Jobs in Texas Were Low-Income
Another accusation is that although more private-sector jobs were created in Texas during the last 10 years than all the other states combined, the jobs were low-income jobs. That’s a myth. Here’s the truth from a blogger who is not pro-Perry called “Political Math: Rick Perry and Texas Job Numbers.” http://www.politicalmathblog.com/?p=1590 Please forgive the language.
Consider the Source
Many accusations targeting Gov. Perry originate from the Ron Paul camp. As was noted by a television ad against Gov. Perry during the debates at the Reagan Library, Ron Paul attacked Perry for supporting Al Gore for President in 1988 touting his support for Ronald Reagan and forgetting to mention that Paul resigned from the Republican Party in 1987. I’ve already addressed the Al Gore issue. The point of this section is that Ron Paul supporters are the majority of those creating and releasing myths or half-truths.
The person who paid for the full-page ad in The Houston Chronicle, which offered a reward for women who would go public about having sex with Rick Perry (which got no takers), is a Ron Paul supporter named Robert Morrow. He campaigns for his candidates such as Ron Paul by throwing mud at the opponents. He had been distributing myths about Gov. Perry for years. My friend Susan Weddington, former Chairman of the Texas Republican Party, responds to charges leveled by Morrow at Gov. Perry. Below is a portion of her letter to a mutual friend:
“Following our call last night, I decided to do some research on the accuser, Robert Morrow. My many years of political experience have taught me to research the source of scurrilous and undocumented rumors before reacting to those rumors. Unfortunately, the political arena has more than a small number of conspiracy theorists and other scary people. During my three years as Vice Chairman (1994-1997) and six years as Chairman of the Texas Republican Party (1997-2005) we received by mail and phone many very crazy and hateful accusations about various candidates. While our instincts were quite good at detecting people with psychological issues, we nevertheless did check on any accuracy to these messages.
Robert Morrow’s accusations have been vetted now through numerous campaigns and never have been found to have a basis of fact. Also, through all these years that he has been pushing this information out through every venue he can find, he has never provided anyone with documentation that would substantiate his charges.
Below I am including some links from my research so you and others can discern for yourself that Robert Morrow is likely far more delusional than rational. As you will discover, Rick Perry is only one, among many, Robert has targeted with his hateful accusations. Including his thinking that Herbert Walker Bush and Jeb Bush orchestrated the murder of an individual!
Here is my short take on Robert Morrow after briefly researching him:
· Robert is in his mid-40’s, single, does not work and lives off of an inheritance
· He states that he spends at least 10 hours a day researching and posting and sending information out on his theories.
· He self discloses that he is a patron of strip joints.
· He graduated from Princeton University so is likely very intelligent but is clearly not using that intelligence in a positive way for society.
· He is strongly libertarian. He is an ardent supporter and organizer for Ron Paul and he was a strong supporter of Debra Medina in her effort to defeat Rick Perry in the last election. Yet, he does not disclose these facts when delivering his messages about Perry.
As for Perry’s character, I am more than willing to vouch for it. As Chairman of the Texas Republican Party I met with the Governor monthly in his office (he always had another person present), I have flown with him on numerous occasions to Republican events and have been with him during numerous racial reconciliation meetings.
Rick Perry is a spiritual man. His faith has grown stronger and deeper in the time I have known him (over 15 years) and it definitely informs the policy decisions he makes. He has no shame with his faith and never tries to hide it. I have heard all the “Robert Morrow” type rumors since the beginning of my support for Rick Perry. I have personally done some research, spoke with lower level staff members that were friends of mine (in the political world that is where you get the “real story” from) and personally observed this man’s interactions with others and have found no basis of fact…. I am a Christocrat first, Republican second.
In pursuit of truth,
Other Important Issues not relating to Gov. Perry
Attack Against Bridging the Racial and Political Divide
I probably shouldn’t have been, but I have to admit that I was a little surprised at the interest in my book by the secular media and the political Left. Even after The Response was long over, NPR (National Public Radio) and selected print media were still dissecting my book for readers and listeners. I received phone calls, emails and text messages from friends in Hawaii , California , Virginia and Texas alerting me to the media coverage about my book. The reports see me as dangerous. On the other hand, Black, White and Hispanic readers from pastors to Tea Party activists to elected officials continue to write me that the book has powerfully impacted their lives. I think it will yours, too.
Perhaps you will want to see for yourself what the media and the Left are so worked up about. You can purchase my book at http://www.justiceatthegate.org/store_books.asp?InCart=91#91 or you can get the eBook from Amazon, Google, etc.
Tea Party and Racism
I’ve not been a member of the Tea Party, but I have on two occasions had the opportunity to observe them firsthand. The first one was when I was asked to speak about “Engaging Americans of Faith” at a Tea Party Grassroots Bootcamp in the Hurst (TX) Convention Center in February of this year. It was totally white except for my friends, Falma Rufus and Olivia Mitchell. Of course, I shared about my heart for reconciliation and how the Tea Party could engage folks of color who are people of faith with strong family values. I asked Falma after it was over if she sensed any racism there. She did not and neither did I. Falma’s line was longer than mine when the workshop was over with folks lined up to talk to her about how they could reach the Black community in the Dallas / Fort Worth area.
The second opportunity came two weeks ago when Falma and I traveled to Richmond, Virginia together to participate in a ceremony to commemorate and repent for the first slave ship landing in America in August 1619 at Point Comfort, Virginia, which is now located at Fort Monroe near Hampton, Virginia.
While we were there, we met with five of the Richmond Tea Party leaders because they were doing Black Outreach. Yes, you read that right. Two of the awesome leaders are Black, Dr. Gilbert Wilkerson and Emmett Bailey. Emmett first read our Democrats and Republicans In Their Own Words platform comparisons on Civil Rights http://www.justiceatthegate.org/PDFs/Civil%20Rights%20Platform%20Comparison.pdf
and on Four Biblical Issues http://www.justiceatthegate.org/PDFs/Biblical%20Issues%20Platform%20Comparison.pdf. (You can download them for free on the previous links or you may purchase them here in our online store http://www.justiceatthegate.org/store.asp.)
Later Emmett read my book, Bridging the Racial and Political Divide: How Godly Politics Can Transform a Nation, and has promoted the book heavily in Richmond , especially with the Tea Party. Emmett and I had a telephone and email relationship until we met in person in Richmond in August. Falma and I met with Emmett, Gilbert and three other Tea Party activists and it was a remarkable meeting. We finished by Falma laying hands on the three who remained and all of us praying that the Lord would heal the racial divide in Richmond . The presence of God was tangible and our time together is something neither of us will ever forget. Isn’t it great that God is bringing reconciliation in the city that served as the headquarters for The Confederacy during The Civil War – and He’s using the Tea Party!
From my perspective I have witnessed no racism in the Tea Party. I researched the Tea Party before I accepted the first invitation. On the websites I found Herman Cain giving a video introduction. In addition, the person who invited me to speak in Hurst was heading up the “Draft Michael Williams for U. S. Senate Campaign.” Michael Williams is the first Black American to hold statewide office in Texas , and he’s a Republican. Perhaps the accusations against the Tea Party are like the attacks against Gov. Perry. The intention is to deflect attention from the issues that concern thousands of Americans—the debt, overspending and the US Constitution.
Please pray for Dr. Gilbert Wilkerson, Emmett Bailey and other Richmond Tea Party leaders for God’s favor and strategy to reach Black Americans who have the same values with their message of freedom. “Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; you will raise up the age-old foundations; and you will be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the streets in which to dwell” Isaiah 58:12.
BIBLICAL ADMONITIONS ARE IMPORTANT IN THE POLITICAL ARENA
We can’t separate biblical thinking and admonitions from our civic involvement. The following scripture is true no matter what sphere you are talking about – church, business, government, education, media or other area. “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers” Psalm 1:1.
Let’s be careful to walk in Godly counsel, to stand in the path of the righteous and to sit in the seat of the encourager, the one who blesses, the one who builds up rather than tears down. It’s time to allow Scripture to direct our actions and our prayers. As you could see from Gov. Perry’s remarks at The Response, he prayed for President Barack Obama and he also praised him in the September 7 debate for his pursuit of Osama Bin Laden as well as keeping Gitmo open. He prayed for him at The Response and on another occasion remarked that he prays for the President every day. Let us follow his example.
“Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension” 1 Timothy 2:8.
Father, make us instruments of Your peace, blessing and goodness. Forgive us for bitter words coming from our mouths (James 3:1). Teach us to speak Your Word, to trust You and to release the power of prayer and blessing (Luke 10:5-9) upon every elected official—upon those we agree with and those we do not. May Your goodness lead all to repentance (Romans 2:4) and may Your light and Your salvation (Psalm 27:1) be upon every leader in our city, state and nation in Jesus’ name. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my Rock [Strength] and my Redeemer” Psalm 19:14. Amen.
A City on Its Knees
Justice at the Gate
PO Box 681148
San Antonio, TX 78268