Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s decision to host a Christians-only prayer event with a vicious hate group is beyond appalling. The governor and his staff claim that the August 6 event in Houston is meant to bring the nation together in prayer. But how is that remotely possible when the event is designed to promote a conservative evangelical Christianity (a perspective certainly not shared by all Christians) and the governor has asked the American Family Association to organize it? In fact, the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified the AFA as a hate group on par with Fred “God Hates Fags” Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church, the Ku Klux Klan and Aryan Nations. Instead of uniting people of faith in prayer for our nation, this event will actually sharpen divisions among Americans along religious and political lines.
So it’s time for Texans, regardless of faith and political perspective, to stand up for decency, respect and tolerance. Sign on to an open letter that calls on Gov. Perry “to make this gathering open to speakers and attendees of all faiths and welcoming of people of good will who are not affiliated with a faith tradition.” Moreover, the letter calls on the governor “to demonstrate your commitment to religious tolerance by ending the association between your office and the American Family Association.”
Don’t think this letter is necessary? Then ask yourself why it could possibly be a good thing for the governor of the state of Texas — someone who says he’s considering a run for president of the United States — to ask such a hateful group as the American Family Association to help him organize this event. In fact, one of AFA’s leading spokesmen has questioned President Obama’s Christian beliefs, called him a “boy,” and claimed that he hates America and white people. Moreover, he has blamed gay people for the Holocaust, said African-American women who get welfare “rut like rabbits,” smeared Native Americans as generally immoral, referred to Muslims as “parasites” and a “toxic cancer,” and suggested that Muslims must convert to Christianity or be killed by the U.S. military.
This event, in short, is not the “nonpolitical” affair that Gov. Perry claims. It’s simply another cynical attempt to use faith as a weapon to divide Americans for political gain as the governor considers whether to jump into presidential politics. Send a message that you are tired of politicians who drag faith into partisan politics and associate with hateful, divisive groups like the American Family Association — sign on to the open letter to Gov. Perry here.