Rick Perry Is a Lying Demagogue

July 18, 2011

Rick Perry is a lying demagogue who is contemptuous of the First Amendment and whose god is a monster. 

As you probably know by now, Texas Governor Rick Perry has issued a proclamation declaring August 6 a “Day of Prayer and Fasting for Our Nation.”  Not only that, but his office is helping to organize a mass, all day pray-in at Houston’s Reliant Stadium.  If you go to the event’s website, you will get a sense of how deeply intertwined state government and religion are in Texas. 

Perry’s actions constitute a palpable violation of the Establishment Clause.  Unfortunately, there is probably little that can be done about this legally.  FFRF has filed a lawsuit, but my prediction is the lawsuit will fail to overcome the obstacle that is now routinely placed in the way of Establishment Clause claims, namely an alleged lack of “standing.”

This event and the state government’s participation in it are, frankly, disheartening and sickening.  Perry’s proclamation could have been as easily issued in 1011 instead of 2011.  It suggests there is a god controlling our destiny who can be moved only by people begging for help and punishing themselves by going without food.  At the next rally, expect self-flagellation to be followed by the sacrifice of a Texas Longhorn.

Of course, there is one concession to contemporary taste.  The website assures us that Reliant Stadium is air-conditioned.  Wouldn’t want to work up a sweat while humbling oneself. 

Just so there is no mistake that this will be a religion-saturated event, the website also provides us with a detailed statement of faith, informing us, among many other things, that participants are expected to believe “in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles [too many to enumerate], in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return to power and glory.”  Heck, if this statement were any more detailed, one might think it was a humanist manifesto. 

(Query: Is one a heretic if one believes that JC ascended to the left hand of the Father?  And how big are Dad’s hands anyway?) 

But perhaps the most disgusting part of this event is its false claim that it is “apolitical.”  Oh, really?  As everyone knows, Rick Perry has political ambitions, and his obeisance to the Religious Right will not go unrewarded.  As the Wall Street Journal recently noted, Perry is experiencing a surge of support among evangelical leaders.

Moreover, the event’s organizers don’t even have the good taste to obscure its political nature.  Their website discloses that David Lane is National Finance Chairman for the event. Lane’s bio states that “David Lane educates and energizes pastors to mobilize their congregations to vote their faith.  In 2010 he organized pastor meetings in key battleground states resulting in a significant increase in voter turnout.”  Lane explains that “What I do is spiritual.  The by-product is political.”

(Why doesn’t the IRS yank the tax-exempt status of the churches Lane “energizes”?   It would be constitutionally appropriate to do so, and I hear the federal government can use the money.)

August 6 will be a splendid day for demagoguery.  Perry will be using religion to manipulate the god-intoxicated into supporting his agenda.  It is a tactic that has proven its value again and again, and it will be utilized as long as there are people who believe our hope “lies in heaven, and we will find it on our knees”—a posture that ensures submission.