Photo: Flickr Gage Skidmore
There’s a Presidential election coming up, and that means that the candidates have started to do and say anything to get elected.One of the (unofficial) candidates, Texas Governor Rick Perry (R), has started saying some stuff that should scare the bejeezus out of many ordinary Americans.
Specifically, Perry is saying that one reason our country’s problems are so intractable is “because we are a nation that has not honored God in our successes or humbly called on Him in our struggles.”
And Perry’s going to fix that.
On August 6th, he’s going to be leading a huge prayer rally called The Response, in which he will call upon Americans to “pray and fast” so God will forgive us and help us fix the country.
Perry is leading this prayer rally, political analysts say, so he can win over evangelical Christian voters, who make up 60% of GOP voters in two key early primary states, Iowa and South Carolina. And if that’s all he’s doing at the prayer rally–saying stuff that these voters want to hear–then he’ll be doing just what every other politician is doing, so we shouldn’t get too worked up about it.
Far more frightening is the possibility that Perry actually believes what he is saying–that the reason America has racked up such colossal debts and has such a massive budget deficit is because we haven’t been paying enough attention to God.
God did not vote for the budgets and policies that ballooned our deficit. Congress and the President did. So laying our problems off on God’s disfavor–and suggesting that the way to fix them is to start doing a better job of honouring Him–is disturbing, to say the least.
And then there’s the small matter of the separation of church and state.
The First Amendment of the Constitution says that the government can’t establish a state-sponsored religion, and many Americans interpret the spirit of this amendment far more widely than that.
Blaming God for our problems, and calling on Americans to stop eating and pray to Him to fix them, seems, at the very least, to be an instance of government endorsing a particular religion–not to mention suggesting that we need divine help to fix things. And we’re frankly a bit wigged out by the thought that a would-be President is urging us to stop eating and pray for a day so Congress will finally balance the budget.
So we have a simple question for Governor Perry: If you’re elected President, are you going to be saying stuff like this then? Or is this just a love note to some folks who you hope will help you win the primaries and who you will then never again give the time of day?
Let us pray…
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