Despite receiving criticism from liberal and civil libertarian groups, Texas Governor Rick Perry is following through with his original commitment to Saturday’s Christian prayer gathering at Houston’s Reliant Stadium.
The event, dubbed “The Response,” will convene thousands of Christians to pray and fast on behalf of America.
“As an elected leader, I’m all too aware of government’s limitations when it comes to fixin’ things that are spiritual in nature. That’s where prayer comes in, and we need it more than ever,” Perry said in an invitation video featured on The Response’s website. “With the economy in trouble, communities in crisis and people adrift in a sea of moral relativism, we need God’s help …. Make plans to be part of something even bigger than Texas.”
Perry’s religious candor has made him a target of groups who champion the “separation of church and state.”
Last month a group called the Freedom From Religion Foundation, filed a suit charging that Perry’s participation violated the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution. A federal judge ultimately sided with Perry and threw the case out.
Even after the ruling groups continue to demand that Perry not participate. Wednesday the Anti-Defamation League issued a statement bearing the signatures of more than 50 Houston area leaders demanding Perry desist.
“Governor Perry has a constitutional duty to treat all Texans equally, regardless of race, religion or ethnicity,” the ADL statement read. “His official involvement with The Response, at minimum, violates the spirit of that duty.”
David Carney, Perry’s top political consultant, told The Daily Caller that such further claims alleging that his participation violates the Establishment Clause are foolish.
“A federal district court has already thrown out that frivolous lawsuit,” Carney said. (RELATED: Rick Perry’s inner circle takes shape as Texas governor mulls presidential bid)
ABC News’ The Note reports today that opposition groups will be holding their own events mirroring “The Response.”
Including the LGBT Political Caucus and the Texas ACLU, which along with Americans United will hold the “Family, Faith and Freedom” event.
“Gov. Perry’s decision to sponsor a ‘Christians-only’ prayer rally is bad enough. That he turned to an array of intolerant religious extremists to put it on for him is even worse,” Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United, told ABC in reference to the fact that Focus on the Family founder James Dodson and pastor John Hagee will be participating.
“This event unites us in our conviction that government should have no favorite theology and that it must always strive to ensure that all citizens — Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists and others — are full and equal partners in the public square,” he added.
Perry will be participating, however Carney noted, the Texas Governor will not be giving a speech, rather the gathering will consist largely of prayer and scripture.