Religious Right Closes Ranks Behind Perry

New reports of closed-door meetings and conference calls indicate that religious-right kingmakers are coming together in support of a presidential bid by Texas Gov. Rick Perry. One of those closed-door confabs occurred two weeks ago, when Gov. Perry spoke before a virtual “who’s who” of religious-right leaders gathered in the North Texas city of Euless (just outside Dallas), reports.

The organizers of the June conference say the event was “spiritual” in nature, but their rhetoric and actions betray those claims. Indeed, EthicsDaily reports that the June event was preceded by a September gathering  in Dallas that explored a strategy to defeat President Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012. Texan and longtime conservative evangelical leader James Robison called the group together for both events. From EthicsDaily:

“This nation right now is facing a tremendous crisis, and it’s as though Christians have buried their head in the sand and not recognized that we were placed here on earth to be overseers of what he entrusted to our watchcare,” Southern Baptist evangelist James Robison told as he expressed his hopes for the gathering.

“One of the points that I’ve made that the leaders agree with is that … the vast majority of those who profess faith are uninspired, uninformed and uninvolved,” he added. “With the privilege of choosing our leadership and putting in place those who establish the policies that govern our lives and affect us comes the responsibility to choose right. And correct choices will always be based upon principles that are consistent with biblical truth and the views of our founders – the providential perspective of our founders.”

Tweets from the June event praised Gov. Perry’s speech, noted the religious-political links being forged and commented on the need to get conservative evangelicals to the polls in 2012.

Many of the organizers of these closed-door meetings are also helping Gov. Perry host an August 6 prayer event at Reliant Stadium in Houston. These include the hate group American Family Association, which is 0rganizing and funding the Houston event.

Other religious-right leaders behind the Euless and Dallas events have included Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention; Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council; Richard Lee, pastor and the editor of far-right nationalist project The American Patriot’s Bible; and Jacob Aranza, who as a minister in the 1980s, EthicsDaily reports, “helped popularize the theory that rock ’n’ roll music included backmasked messages promoting drug use and sex.”

TIME magazine is also reporting that religious-right leaders held a conference call in early June to discuss the field of potential Republican presidential candidates and “agreed that Rick Perry would be their preferred candidate if he entered the race.” Participants in the call apparently included Perkins as well as phony historian David Barton of Texas-based WallBuilders and San Antonio pastor John Hagee. Hagee’s record of anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic statements forced 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain to reject his endorsement three years ago.

From the TIME story:

Religious conservatives have often played a substantial role in choosing past Republican nominees, but leaders on the Christian Right have been conspicuously quiet so far in this campaign season. Privately, however, they are enthusiastic about Perry and are encouraging the Texas governor to throw his ten-gallon hat into the ring.

Perry has been doing a lot of praying in the past year. On the morning of his inauguration to a new term as governor, he appeared at a prayer breakfast attended by some Christian Right heavyweights who have been following the Texan’s activities on their behalf. “People flew in from across the country for this,” said one participant. The breakfast was organized by David Lane, an activist from California who has set up “Pastor Policy Briefings” in at least 14 states over the past several years that have been attended by nearly 10,000 pastors. Doug Wead, a conservative historian who is close to the Bush family, described Lane this way on his blog: “Lane is the mysterious, behind the scenes, evangelical kingmaker who stormed into Iowa in 2008 and tilted the whole thing from Romney to Huckabee.”

Lane is the man to have on your team if you want to organize religious conservatives to support your campaign. And he’s the one behind that June conference call in which key players of the Christian Right decided to do just that for Rick Perry.

With all this in mind, how is it possible not to see Gov. Perry’s prayer event in August as little more than a cynical attempt to use faith for political gain? Sign on to an open letter calling on Gov. Perry to end his association with a hate group (the American Family Association) and stop using faith as a political weapon.

10 thoughts on “Religious Right Closes Ranks Behind Perry

  1. All we need to do now is highlight Perry’s chicanery and corruption, and the religious right and Perry will be exposed to the cleansing effect of strong daylight in the national media.

  2. @David: I am not so sure the national media will put “strong daylight” on Rick Perry.

    The media gave George W Bush a free pass. The cocaine question seemed to just disappear. His “business experience” consisted mostly of his companies getting bought by people who wanted access to his father. His AWOL from the Alabama National Guard during Vietnam just kind of slid past people (no one has ever stepped forward and said they saw GW show up for duty).

    The stories were out there, but for some reason they never reached or registered with most people. A lot of people think we have a “liberal media”. If the media was simply centrist, then nobody would want GW Bush to be dog catcher, let alone president.

    Or perhaps people in this country have shorter memories and less intelligence than I thought possible.

  3. Believe me. They have shorter memories and less intelligence than you thought possible. Just ask 10 people to point to Iowa on an unlabeled map of the United States. Go ahead. Pick any 10 people at random just for fun. Use people in your office. Your eyes are gonna open wide.

  4. Gee, Charles, is Iowa ON the map? Isn’t it to the far right of California? Yeah, I know where that state is, I had it as part of a territory for a few months before I asked for a transfer to Texas. The Far Religious Right doesn’t exist; they are the Far Religious Wrong. They think wrong, they act wrong, and they ARE wrong as the day is long.

    I have many Christian friends, none who are WAY over the bleeding edge. There is a loathing in my throat for those nuts who wish to claim that Jesus came down and told them that they were to be the observers of what people were doing wrong and then, what, kill them?

    The Religious Wrong want Perry. Wonderful! Recent polls show that he hasn’t a chance of knocking Obama out of the presidency. When people also find out that he murdered a totally innocent man, I wonder if they will love the murderer. According to the Christian Testament, murderers will not inherit the kingdom of God.

    The vast majority of Christians are actually anti-Christs. Jesus told them not to pray in public, so what do they do? Yeah, we’ve all be subjected to their public braying…’scuse me, praying. Jesus told them not to use many words when they pray, what do they do? They pray as though God had ADD. “Father God, we come before you this day to God Father, to ask Lord God…” It’s enough to make a sane person scream SHUT UP!

    The other day I was watching a DVD that was going after some of the nonsense that Christians believe, such as the High Priest and his court meeting on Passover Eve! That is IMPOSSIBLE. They were attending a Seder at the time (the festival in which Jews celebrate their freedom from slavery which is MANDATORY for all observant Jews to attend) so how could he have said or done anything to Jesus while he wasn’t even there.

    Perry is a sleaze ball of the first order; a very dangerous individual who if he ever got to Washington would make Dubya look like a far left liberal.

    Oh, how I miss Molly Ivens…

  5. FYI…this afternoon in Hurst, the temperature in my back yard was 108 in the shade.

    My brother in Portland, Oregon was 87 and most of them don’t have air conditioning. Tomorrow they’ll be 74. Can anyone show me the way to Oregon?

  6. Maine would be a better choice Beverly. I went on a business trip to Maine in 1989 and discovered that it is a comfortable spring all summer long there. It was like November. High temperatures in the 60s and lower 70s—and a Japanese person in the air at night.