Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), who wouldn’t want to live in a state where a man can marry a man, has partnered with the American Family Association (AFA) for a large prayer event this August called “The Response.” On the Response‘s home page, Perry, a Methodist, calls for an “historic response” to America’s “crisis”:
PERRY: Right now, America is in crisis: we have been besieged by financial debt, terrorism, and a multitude of natural disasters. As a nation, we must come together and call upon Jesus to guide us through unprecedented struggles, and thank Him for the blessings of freedom we so richly enjoy.
The AFA is an SPLC-designated hate group whose spokesperson, Bryan Fischer, recently called gays “Nazis” who commit hate crimes and “virtual genocide” against Christians. AFA has also been unsuccessfully lobbying companies like Home Depot and Pepsi to repeal their non-discrimination policies. Perry has invited all 49 of his fellow governors to the rally, and groups like the Interfaith Alliance and Secular Coalition for America are urging them to reject the invitation due to the extremist nature of the American Family Association and affiliated groups. A protest of the event is also being coordinated on Facebook.
Though the website describes the Response as a “nondenominational, apolitical Christian prayer meeting,” it also dictates AFA’s fundamentalist Christian statement of faith, including the importance of saving “lost and sinful people” because those who aren’t “are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.” Such a tone will likely not be very welcoming for some, like Delaware Gov. Jack Markell (D) who is Jewish and Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) who is not publicly religious at all. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) has already declined the invitation, explaining that he’d be too busy “focusing on economic development.”
Also of note is the event’s coordinator of church mobilization, Jim Garlow, who this weekend compared adoption by same-sex couples to children losing their parents on 9/11.