Rick Perry’s War on Religious Freedom

Rick Perry is so determined to pander to religious-right voters in the Republican presidential primaries that he wants to gut the First Amendment, one of the most important protections for religious freedom in America. See the partial transcript below from Gov. Perry’s interview on Fox News Sunday this past weekend.

Let’s be clear: Gov. Perry is simply not telling the truth when he suggests that children can’t “pray in school any time that they would like.” They can and many do. What the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution bars is public schools sponsoring or encouraging prayer. That prohibition protects the right of families and congregations to direct the religious education of their children. It also protects the right of students to pray their own prayers based on their own religious beliefs, not the religious beliefs of the teacher or school administrators. In short, public schools may not decide whose religious beliefs to favor or disfavor.

But Gov. Perry wants a constitutional amendment sweeping away that fundamental protection. By arguing to overturn the 1962 Supreme Court decision barring school-sponsored (read: government-approved) prayer, he’s looking to gut the First Amendment. And that would threaten religious freedom for all Americans.

From the Fox News Sunday program:

WALLACE: Let me ask you, though, about the specific charge in that commercial. You say that gays can serve openly while children can’t pray in school. It was the Supreme Court back in 1962 that decided and it’s been upheld since then that children couldn’t pray in school. Barack Obama had nothing to do with that. And after repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” are you saying that anyone who supports “don’t ask, don’t tell” is anti-religious?

PERRY: Well, let me back up and say that I would support a constitutional amendment that would allow our children to pray in school any time that they would like. Right now, those activist judges like Sotomayor and Kagan that he put on the Supreme Court, they would continue to say that that is a decision that the Supreme Court should make. I happen to believe that that would be a local decision and that’s not the Supreme Court’s business to be telling Americans when and how they should pray.

On the issue of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” it was working. And for the commander-in-chief to use your military as a political tool while we are in combat in two different locations — at least two different locations around the world, in Iraq and Afghanistan, I think is just irresponsible. I am commander-of-chief of 20,000 plus thousand men and women. I served in the United States Air Force. I understand the issue. And I don’t think it’s one that the president of the United States and Congress for that matter should be forcing upon the men and women of the military. I think it was bad public policy and I would change it.

WALLACE: The only point I’d make about prayer in school, is that has continued under — the ban under Republican presidents as well as Democrats, including Reagan and both of the Bushes.

PERRY: I understand that. I’m just — I’m telling you what I believe, Chris. And I happen to believe that Americans don’t agree with that decision that was made in 1962. And that if we have a constitutional amendment election in this country, allowing our children to pray in school, I would suggest to you, will pass overwhelming. And I’ll support that. I will go across this country, as I’m promoting a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution. I’ll work on a balanced — I should say, an amendment to allow our children to pray in school. I think Americans are greatly supportive of both of those issues.

5 thoughts on “Rick Perry’s War on Religious Freedom

  1. Actually—-that is not true. Of course, I would expect that from a certified fruitcake like Perry. Historically, even in recent times, both Democrats and Republicans, when polled, throw the brakes on hard when the idea of a constitutional convention comes up. Both sides are afraid that going for the jugular on one hot button issue that they support could result in three other things that they like being taken out of the constitution—like say the right to bear arms. A constitutional convention is a crap shoot—Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates. It’s just too risky—both the liberal whacko and the conservative whacko will tell you that when it comes down to brass tacks—and they back away faster that the man in the railroad tunnel that just eyed a light ahead in the darkness.

    As for just proposing an amendment to the constitution, that is one of the oldest political smoke and mirror plays in the crooked politician’s cynical playbook. It works something like this:

    “And I tell you of a fact my dear friends. If you will entrust me with your vote in the next election, I shall sponsor a constitutional amendment requiring all beef cattle, immediately before slaughter, to have a gasoline enema administered personally by the ghost of Red Skelton.”

    Yeah. And he will introduce it too. This is one way Republican politicians have duped conservative Christians for years—and why abortion is still legal. They are all the time proposing a constitutional amendment to ban abortion (or 23 other things), knowing full well that James Madison made it nearly impossible to amend the constitution—-all while the wife of the politician in question is down at the abortion clinic partaking of their services. Sometimes, I think conservative Christians must be among the most stupid people ever born to buy into this nonsense from the crooked Republican politicians whose boots they are always licking—and they just keep coming back to them for more with a sign on their rear ends that says, “Kick me.”

    Wake up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Perry is running a zombie campaign, and not being too successful finding brains. He has no chance whatsoever of getting the nomination much less getting elected.

    Although, I will miss the comedic gold of Perry’s Brokeback ads. Ah, Ricky, I wish I knew how to quit you!

  3. I don’t pay much attention to Perry’s ramblings of late because he has zero chance of winning the GOP nomination – not to minimize the damage he’s done in the state of Texas. But I do think Newt Gingrich represents a real threat to our religious freedoms. Recall it was Newt, back in 1994, who pushed a school prayer amendment. He later turned that over to the scum sucking Ernest Istook of Oklahoma and it re-emerged in 1998 as the “Religious Freedom Amendment,” which would not only have allowed school prayer but given religious groups access to taxpayer money. Fortunately that piece of garbage was slaughtered on the House floor. Among his other multitude of other transgressions Newt also speaks glowingly of David Barton. All things considered leads me to the conclusion that Newt has no respect for 1st Amendment or the wisdom of our founding fathers.

  4. To be clear, Newt only cares about Newt. Whatever advances Newt is good (for Newt).

    Of course he speaks highly of Barton. Newt is educated enough to know that Barton is a fraud, but if embracing Barton (hey, what’s the harm?) gets him a few more votes, great! (For Newt) He might even throw Barton a useless bone to chair a commission or something, who knows.

    The only thing one needs to know about Newt is that he’s an unprincipled narcissist. If that kind of leader floats your boat, well, you get what you vote for.

    I hope Perry’s goose is finally cooked in Texas. Enough people have seen what a nitwit he is that if he gets another term as governor then shame on us.

  5. Good comment, Dan. Watching Perry interviewed on Fox News is like watching incest. It is becoming increasingly apparent what Perry’s nice haircut is concealing. Could the Texas drought be blamed on the hot air Perry exudes?

    Edd Doerr, arlinc.org