Rick Perry ad: ‘I’ll end Obama’s war on religion’

David J. Phillip Texas Gov. Rick Perry bows his head as he leads a prayer at The Response, a call … Continued

David J. Phillip

Texas Gov. Rick Perry bows his head as he leads a prayer at The Response, a call to prayer for a nation in crisis, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011, in Houston.

Rick Perry released a new religion-themed campaign ad Wednesday, promising voters that as president, he would “end Obama’s war on religion. And I’ll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage. ”

Perry did not immediately make clear which “liberal attacks on religion” he would fight, but said “there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.”

Watch the campaign video below:

The full text of Perry’s new ad:

The Texas governor, who has roots in Methodism but currently attends a non-denominational evangelical church, has made his Christian faith a prominent selling point of his campaign. The week before he officially launched his presidential bid, Perry led The Response, a Christian prayer revival in Houston that he endorsed through an official government proclamation. After mentioning the economic downturn and other signs of national “darkness,” at the revival, Perry said, “Because we know a loving God, we know that the greatest darkness comes just before the morning.” Critics said Perry was invoking his faith for political purposes.

Other religious controversies have marked Perry’s campaign.

In October, Perry accepted the introduction of Pastor Robert Jeffress, known for his controversial remarks on Mormonism, — saying the pastor “knocked it out of the park”– before his speech at the Values Voter Summit. Jeffress went on to call Perry opponent Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith a “cult,” to great debate among religious and political leaders.

Anita Perry, the governor’s wife, also put a religious lens on Perry’s campaign when, at an October campaign event, she told supporters that God was working through her to convince her husband to run for president. When the couple was contemplating a presidential bid, “God was already speaking to me,” Anita Perry said, “but he [Rick Perry] felt like he needed to see the burning bush. I said, ‘Let me tell you something: You might not see the burning bush but other people are seeing it for you.’” The governor’s wife also said at the time that she believed Perry was “being brutalized by our opponents…. because of his faith.”

Still, with Wednesday’s ad, Perry launched a battle over faith that sets up a spiritual showdown between him and the Democratic president. Although he did not give specifics on what he called “Obama’s war on religion,” Perry’s message may resonate with those conservative voters who say that the government has gone too far to remove religion from the public square. (See the Rhode Island Christmas/Holiday tree controversy this week.)

JOSHUA ROBERTS

REUTERS

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during the lighting of the National Christmas Tree in Washington December 1, 2011.

For years Obama has been plagued by questions about his faith. Although the president has made prominent professions of faith as recently as last week –CNN’s Dan Gilgoff called the president’s Christmas message “very Christian,” — you can read it here — a 2010 Pew poll showed that one in five Americans believe, falsely, that Obama is Muslim, and only one third say, correctly, that the president is Christian. His association with the United Church of Christ’s Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who said in a sermon that America was to blame for the 9/11 attacks, hurt him politically but did not solidify the public’s identification of Obama as a Christian.


More On Faith and On Politics:

Tracking TV ads in the presidential campaign

The Fix: The politics of Perry’s faith play

Sally Quinn: Is Cain at peace with God (and his wife)?

The Spirited Atheist: Christian politicians exalt suffering in GOP campaign

About

Elizabeth Tenety Elizabeth Tenety is the former editor of On Faith, where she produced "Divine Impulses," On Faith’s video interview series. She studied Theology and Government at Georgetown University and received her master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. A New York native, Elizabeth grew up in the home of Catholic news junkies where, somewhere in between watching the nightly news and participating in parish life, she learned to ponder both the superficial and the sacred.
  • bashaperl

    So has anyone actually looked at who Perry was willng to share the stage with at the Response Rally? Pretty scary folks, also it was a prayer rally but only Christians were represented. Guess Perry forgot that we were founded on freedom of religion, not Christianity.

  • eddikon

    I’m a Christian, but I fail to see what celebrating Christmas has to do with the practicing the principles of Christianity. Also, most of our public and private celebrations of Christmas are secular in nature, and have nothing to do with Jesus Christ or his birth. For most Americans Christmas is more about Black Friday, unbridled materialism, a pretty tree, the Macy’s Parade, FOOTBALL, Santa Claus, Rudolph, the Grinch, family get togethers, and porking out. All of these things may be fun, but they have nothing to do with Christianity. Jesus is generally an afterthought. Most Americans are too lazy and too overfed to be concerned with basic Christian principles: Resist ye not evil, Judge not lest ye be judged, FORGIVE, It is more blessed to give than to receive, and turn the other cheek. Most of us are content to believe that all we need do is ask “Jaysus” to make us born again, and we’re free and clear. I contend that Jesus gave us a clear spiritual path based on the practice of a few key spiritual principles. Not only that, but through his personal example, he showed us how to put these principles into action. We are only able to realize the reality of Heaven by overcoming this world of suffering and and loss. We only overcome this world by PERSONALLY practicing the principles of forgiveness, non-resistance, non-judgement, turning the other cheek, and through GIVING these principles to others. The sacrifice of Jesus relieved us of the twin burdens of religion and sin. The practice of spiritual principles, as outlined by Jesus, will open the gates of heaven.

  • northernharrier

    The lies being promoted by several of the Republican candidates and many other people about Christianity being under attack, about the prohibition on praying in schools, and about people not being allowed to celebrate Christmas, among other lies, are in reality part of an attack on non-Christian religions. The attack on non-Christian religions is manifest in the urging of such people to boycott businesses that great customers with “Happy Holidays,” thereby showing respect for non-Christians, and in the persistant attempts by the Christian right to force their religious beliefs into law at the local, state and federal levels. Our basic religious rights are in grave peril in this country, and the wichhunt and demonizing of non-Christians will intensnsify as the elections of 2012 approach.

  • edbyronadams

    Desparation brings out the worst in people. This ad is the product of low poll numbers.

  • troisieme

    We do not need an American version of the Taliban polluting our public discourse with mindless and unfounded charges about a war on religion. The President is not conducting any war on religion. Service by gays in the military is a long overdue bipartisan reform, and exclusion of religious symbols from public schools is a legitimate recognition of the religious rights of all, not just the Christian community.

  • troisieme

    We do not need the American version of the Taliban polluting our public discourse with reckless remarks about religion. There is no war on religion, least of all coming from the White House. This is yet another made-up Republican issue, like voter fraud, designed to attract an ill-informed part of the electorate on which the Republican Party, alas, has come to depend.

  • Catken1

    Practice them all you like.
    As long as you do not seek to use government force or government money to promote your religion or force adherence to its beliefs on the rest of us, go ahead and enjoy.
    May you find happiness and peace in your life, and beyond, and may all sentient beings do so as well, whatever their beliefs.

  • Ronn_Greek

    The only religious war in America is being waged by self serving religious individuals that want to tell everyone else how they should live. They are not Christans and Jesus would certainly disapprove. God is the ultimate Judge of one’s conduct not man.

  • amelia45

    ONe think you can do is to write your senators and representative in the House and let them know what you think.

    Pols can find all kinds of reasons not to pay attention the the Washington Post. They pay a little more attention to their own mail and what is said in local papers.

  • MsJS

    “Obama’s war on religion”? Wow.

    I voted for Obama in 2008, but can think of at least a dozen actual disagreements conservative Republicans have with him that would make compelling political ads.

    But Team Perry went and created one out of Texas dust.

    Wow.

  • MHughes976

    Some forms of religion and some forms of secularism puzzle me. Even if you think that it is part of Christianity to regard gay sex as wrong and to call on those who practise it to repent why should you object to gays in military service – presumably it’s OK for gays to be plumbers, photographers or bank managers? Even sinners are called upon to work – why not in the armed forces?
    Secularism apparently says that teachers aren’t allowed to lead prayers and finds problems with displays of Christian symbols in places maintained by public funds. But there’s a national Christmas tree, associated with one religion by its very name, and the President, acting in the official capacity for which he is paid, ceremoniously switches it on, though Mr. Perry doesn’t notice. What can this be but an encouragement to everyone to celebrate Christmas? Is that secular?

  • johnrf

    I’m Rick Perry and I don’t go to church every Sunday, but when I do I proudly worship with my good friends at the Westboro Baptist Church.
    I’m Rick Perry and you may have heard I was a racist. Well, that’s true, but there is so much more to me. I hate gays. I really hate gay soldiers. I’m not real smart but I’m real sure of myself. I can only remember 2 things at a time so I’d better stop now before I humiliate myself again.

  • Rongoklunk

    Long before Jesus, long before Christians invented their god – this celebration marked the winter solstice, and that’s why it’s all about christmas trees, snow, reindeers, etc., non of which Jesus ever experienced, living as he was – in the desert.
    We can thank the ancient Pagans for christmas – the later Christian religion used it for their own purposes – after they killed all the Pagans.

  • ezrasalias-socialize

    Keep going, Perry; attempt to scare America with your phony ‘I’m being persecuted for my faith, rhetoric. Try being a Christian in Saudi Arabia or in many other Muslim countries, then you will know what a precious thing your freedom to worship is. No one is stopping you from doing that, but you want to stop others from being free from your belief. Establishment Clause.

  • kurtkolaja

    Apis h Isis!

  • ccnl1

    Continuing the war on religion:

    The Apostles’ Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus’ story was embellished and “mythicized” by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen

  • ThinkThink2

    What does it mean when God, according to both campaigns, has promised the White House to both Perry and Bachman personally, but neither one appears to be remotely close to fulfilling their “destiny?”

  • ThinkThink2

    I’m a bit rusty, but where in the Bible did Perry get the idea Jesus was in favor of anyone serving in the military?

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