Texas Religious Leaders Speak Out Against Perry’s Anti-LGBT Prayer Service
June 15, 2011
Fair-minded religious voices for equality in Texas are speaking out in response to news that Gov. Rick Perry is partnering with some of the nation’s leading anti-LGBT groups around a non-inclusive day of prayer in August. From Dr. Stephen Sprinkle, Director of Field Education and Supervised Ministry, and Associate Professor of Practical Theology at Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth:
Texas is my state. That makes me all the more grieved that Governor Rick Perry, the longest serving governor in the history of Texas, is turning to the old, outworn political strategy of pandering to the worst elements of the extremist religious right wing with his proposed "Day of Prayer.” The so-called Day of Prayer is a sham event with clear political objectives, and a dangerous one for freedom-loving Americans of every background. The premise of the day is not inclusive of other faiths in any but the shallowest sense.
As a Christian of conscience, a "Golden Rule" Christian, who believes in the love of God for all people, I cannot, do not, and will not support this charade in the guise of faith. And, as a theologian of the church, I oppose it on the very principles of the Christian faith I honor and in the service of which I have been ordained a Baptist minister for the past 34 years.
My prayer is that people of conscience and goodwill from every faith community, and those who profess no formal faith at all, will see through this co-opting of religion in the service of extremism and crass political gain, and that it will backfire on Governor Perry, the AFA, and the rest of its organizers.
Chaplain (Colonel) Paul W. Dodd, D. Min., LPC, U.S. Army (Ret.), HRC Religion Council and Austin resident agreed:
To paraphrase Karl Barth, Governor Perry "has taken the divine into his possession; he has brought it under his management." I hope that Texas' many good, church going, well-intentioned, evangelical folks won't fall for it. We must continue to pray -- silently, individually, collectively and fervently, as I believe most of us do consistently, day in and day out.
The Rev. Harry Knox, Senior Pastor at Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church in Houston, TX and fellow member of HRC’s Religion Council Member added:
Prayer should begin in preparation for action, not relied on as an antidote for inaction. It should be a uniting act, not a wedge used to exclude and stir up animosity. I hope in the future, Governor Perry joins with all Texans of faith to participate in an event that represents the best of the diversity of our state. In a state where there are so many fair-minded people of faith, it’s disturbing to see what could be a meaningful spiritual gathering hijacked by those whose message is one of hate, not peace.
Rev. Knox joined with more than 20 other Houston clergy members denouncing Gov. Perry’s actions and calling for more a thoughtful and lawful position on church-state relations.