Friday, July 22, 2011

Come to Jesus With Rick Perry

As August 6th quickly approaches I am finding it more and more difficult to hold down my disdain for our ever so fearless leader Governor Rick Perry.  With his announcement to enter the 2012 Presidential Campaign seemingly inevitable all signs point to August 6th as the day he makes his decision.  This is the day in which the Perry backed “Day of Prayer and Fasting” will take place at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. I think the whole idea of him holding a "Day of Prayer" and deciding to announce his run for the presidency at such an event is interesting....And by interesting I mean not well thought out and disastrous.  But then again this is Rick Perry we are talking about.    
Government backed religion:
Here’s the first problem I have....  This day of prayer and fasting called “The Response” is highly controversial. Although Perry is not officially hosting the event, it was his idea and seems to look a lot like he is using his public office to back and advance Christian beliefs, which violates our notions of separation of church and state and has some screaming unconstitutional.  Newspapers are reporting that Perry CHOSE and organization called American Family Association to host the event.  The word CHOSE pops out at me.  This was not the American Family Association’s idea. They did not decide to host this event for Perry. He created it.  He needed a sponsor to fund the event so that taxpayer money would not be used and so that he would not look like the host.  That is a good idea, however, maybe he doesn’t realize that taxpayer money is not the only thing that can tie your public office to an event.  If you go to the website for the American Family Association (http://www.afa.net/) you will see Rick Perry with a message to America. In this short 3 paragraph message Perry discusses a nation “besieged by financial debt, terrorism, and a multitude of natural disasters”, which are all hot button political issues he would have to take a stand on if entering an election, followed by references to Jesus Christ and the Book of Joel.  If that is not mixing your public office with religion then I do not know what is. 
Don’t get me wrong, I’m Christian (though admittedly far from a great one) and I understand my calling to spread the word of God.  At the same time I am adamant in my belief that the separation of Church and State is necessary and vital to a healthy government in such a diverse country as the United States.  Perry’s lapse in judgment in combining his political responsibilities to the State of Texas and his Christian private life will not bode well for him with the political moderates he needs in order to win a presidential election. 
Perry has invited all other United States Governors to attend the rally but unsurprisingly he’s not getting an abundance of RSVP’s. 
Radical and Discriminatory Nature of the American Family Association
Problem 2.  Perry is going to alienate so many Americans by associating himself with the American Family Association.  Granted these are not Americans that would vote for him anyway, but as President of the United States don’t you represent all Americans? I mean, in theory anyway right??  The American Family Association’s Director of Issue’s Analysis Brian Fischer has openly blogged about not allowing Muslims in the Military, the evils of the Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual and Transgendered (GLBT) community, banning Mosques and of all things Republican Presidential Candidate Michelle Bachmann’s migraines being the reason she should not be President.  I am not sure why anyone would align themselves with any organization that at best is guilty of openly offending millions of American citizens and at worst is an all-out Hate Group. Is diversity and religious tolerance not what this country was founded on? You can see the many hateful and downright ignorant blogs written by one of the top officials of the American Family Association at this link http://www.afa.net/Blogs/StoryList.aspx?id=2147483746.  Seriously take a look at this organization, I understand Conservative issues but this left me speechless.  I cannot support any function or group that is associated with any of these radical political notions.
Perry has since stated that his political standpoints are not associated with any group’s beliefs and that the philosophies of any associated organizations should not reflect on his own personal opinions and ideas.  Ummm, yeah okay.  I don’t think that every idea disseminated by any group that supports you should be associated with how you feel personally or politically, but remember that Perry CHOSE this group to host his come to Jesus event.  It is not human nature to choose a person or a group to align with, that fosters ideals so far from your personal beliefs that it would shock your conscious or cause you to send out a statement separating yourself from those ideals.  Perry obviously sees something in this group that does align with his personal beliefs on controversial issues.
Republicans are reaching
While the republican party obviously sees Perry as a candidate that is able to appeal to both traditional conservatives and the more extreme conservatives such as those that make up the “Tea Party” movement, his association with The Response and The American Family Association is going to alienate a vast number of American moderates as well as the “undecided” vote that any party needs in order to win a presidential election.   
It’s my guess that the recent Republican fascination with Rick Perry is in response to the not so great current candidates the party is offering.  Mitt Romney, Governor of Massachusetts, Tim Pawlenty, Governor of Minnesota, Congress Woman Michelle Bachmann and a slew of Who are You’s have not seen substantial fund raising leading the party to search for a more powerful candidate. 
I’m a little surprised the party is struggling to find the right person to back. Perhaps if they had taken less time criticizing every step President Obama takes and quit analyzing everything from his choice of toothpaste to the brand of suits he wears they could focus more time on regrouping and rebuilding the party. The monumental fall the Republican Party took after the ridiculously unpopular George W. left office is not so far in our past as to be completely forgotten by the American people. I’m shocked that with over two years to work on this campaign they are not more prepared.  
In closing I’d like to point out that I’m a moderate. Well more like a moderate that is leaning to the liberal side, but point is I am not completely anti-Republican. I think Republican John McCain was an okay choice for president; he was just so old and picked the incompetent Sarah Palin as his VP. Had he made a smarter selection instead of using gender as the deciding factor is his choice, the 2008 election could have gone differently. 
I’ll be clear on this point though, I am Anti-Rick Perry.  The only joy I will see out of his run for President is that he will be faced with questions regarding the Texas Public Education System and the catastrophic state it is currently in. I’m sure he will dance around the issue and not give a response other than offering up a call for prayer, but I will be front row to see him squirm.