We finally have confirmation that Texas Gov. Rick Perry will be speaking at “The Response,” the all-day prayer rally Perry is hosting at Houston’s Reliant Stadium tomorrow.Spokesman Eric Bearse said in an email that Perry will “issue brief remarks, read Scripture, and pray” during the rally, and is expected to stay for all seven hours of the event. Perry aides have said the governor will be fasting all day, as he has asked other participants to do. (The stadium concession stands will be open just in case anyone gets hungry though).
The event will be broken up into four parts, Bearse said, “a call for personal repentance, a focus on repentance for the church as a whole in America, a renewed devotion to the 1st Commandment*, and a time dedicated raising up a new generation of spiritual leaders among the youth of America.” There will also be pre-program worship music for the early birds.
Here’s a list of the other speakers:
- James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council.
- Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s public policy arm, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
- Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.
- Pastor Tony Evans, founder of The Urban Alternative and senior pastor for Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, a Dallas megachurch.
- Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council
- Don Wildmon, founder and chairman emeritus of the American Family Association, the organisation funding The Response.
Florida’s Republican Gov. Rick Scott has also recorded a video message to be played at the event, and Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has said he may be attending. Perry invited all 49 other governors to attend The Response.
Bearse emphasised that “there will be no long sermons, and there is no desire to gather in opposition to any group or philosophy. We are praying for all Americans, we are seeking forgiveness for our own part in a country in decline, and we are lifting up Jesus Christ as the source of power and inspiration in our lives.”
He added that the “The event will represent the diversity of the Body of Christ, and will showcase the ethnic and racial diversity of America.”
organisers are still saying only 8,000 people have registered for the event. But a spokesman for Reliant Stadium said the venue is preparing for 30,000 to 35,000 attendees, which seems like a much more accurate estimate. (Houston’s Lakewood Church only averages more than 40,000 attendees each week).
Bearse insists that “it’s not about the numbers.” He added that more than 1,100 churches have signed up to simulcast The Response in all 50 states.
Regardless of how many people show up, the prayerfest is sure to be a circus — more than 225 members of the media have signed up for press credentials. At least 800 people have signed up to protest The Response. The Westboro Baptist Church, best known for picketing the funerals of soldiers, is also dropping by Houston to protest the prayer rally — just before they head off to Norway to protest the funerals of those killed in the July 22 massacre.
Here are the 10 evangelical powerbrokers behind The Response >
*For those of who need a little Biblical refresher, here’s the First Commandment: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me.”
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