CNN is reporting that Gov. Rick Perry may not speak at the Christians-only prayer rally in Houston next month — the event he initiated.

Wait a minute. What?

The story speculates that criticism over the event — and its loony sponsors and speakers — might be getting to the presidential candidate governor. Maybe. It’s possible he is in the midst of a religious conversion that is making him respectful of religious pluralism and tolerance.

But it’s also possible that the governor is having a good, old fashioned political conversion, perhaps because at last report only 6,000 people have registered for the event (which will be held in the 71,000 seat Reliant Stadium) and 48 governors have said “no thank you” to his invitation to attend.

In any case, we’re pleased that Governor Perry is reconsidering his participation in this divisive event. And we should keep the pressure on. If you haven’t already, sign TFN’s open letter to the governor here.Read More

Why is Liberty Institute, the Texas affiliate of the right-wing Focus on the Family, standing with religious bigots and an extremist who hates the Statue of Liberty? It's a question worth asking about a group that bills itself as "protecting freedom" and wanting students to learn how to be patriotic. Read More

A new story in the Texas Observer follows Gov. Rick Perry's courtship of the religious right on a path to the fringes, where self-proclaimed prophets and modern-day apostles apparently like to hang out. The story, "Rick Perry's Army of God," starts with a description of a meeting between Gov. Perry and pastors Tom Schlueter of Arlington and Bob Long of San Marcos. And things get rather mystical. Read More

What would the Founders say about the governor of Texas partnering with a hate group to hold an all-day prayer and fasting rally? Our friends at the Anti-Defamation League would like to help you answer that question.

The ADL, in partnership with the Texas Freedom Network, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and Houston’s Jewish Community Center would like to invite you to:

A Community Briefing: “Roger Williams, Thomas Jefferson, and the Origins of First Amendment Religious Freedoms”

Keynote speaker: First Amendment scholar and attorney David Furlow

Tuesday, July 26 7:30 — 9 p.m. Jewish Community Center 5601 South Braeswood Houston, Texas 77096

RSVP required to Katy Lennox at klennox@adl.org

This event will enhance the community’s understanding of the importance of First Amendment religious freedoms and will offer historical and legal insights into The Response, a prayer and fasting rally hosted by Gov. Rick Perry also in Houston the week following this briefing.

Gov. Perry’s rally has been billed as an apolitical gathering of Christians. But the governor’s involvement and his partnership with a hate group, the American Family Association,… Read More

TFN Insider readers already know about some of the haters and other extremists (as well as here and here) Texas Gov. Rick Perry is partnering with on his prayer extravaganza in Houston next month. Today we have another name for the growing list: Dr. John Benefiel of the Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network in Oklahoma City. According to our friends at RightWingWatch.org, Benefiel’s views are so outside the mainstream that he believes the Statue of Liberty is “a demonic idol”:

“Listen folks that is an idol, a demonic idol, right there in New York harbor. People say, ‘well no it’s patriotic.’ What makes it patriotic? Why is it? It’s a statue of a false goddess, the Queen of Heaven. We don’t get liberty from a false goddess folks, we get our liberty from Jesus Christ and that Statue of Liberty in no way glorifies Jesus Christ.”… Read More