It was bad enough that a hate group (the American Family Association) and a host of controversial figures (here and here) were behind Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s prayer extravaganza next month in Houston’s Reliant Stadium. But those names only scratch the surface of extremism linked to the August 6 event. The Dallas Morning News is reporting about some of the other sponsors:
C. Peter Wagner, a Colorado evangelist, has advocated burning the statues of Catholic saints and other non-Protestant religious objects, including those of Mormons and American Indians. He also supports putting business, government and the media under Christian control.
San Antonio megapastor John Hagee, who is scheduled to speak, has said Hitler was part of God’s plan to create a Jewish state and describes the Catholic Church as the “Whore of Babylon.” He preaches an end-times theology that advocates bombing Iran.
Another pastor on the event’s website, Mike Bickle of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Mo., has claimed that Oprah Winfrey will be a “pastor” of a “Harlot Babylon preparing the nations to receive the Antichrist.”
A spokesman for Gov. Perry told the Dallas Morning News that the focus of the event should be on prayer and fasting, not its extremist sponsors. Oh, sure. “Ignore the men behind the curtain,” we’re told.
Well, no. It’s important that Texans stand up to those who cynically use faith and associate with extremists to promote their political ambitions and agendas. 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.” And Gov. Perry, end your event’s association with other hateful and divisive extremists. Sign on to open the letter here.