Despite assurances from Texas Governor Rick Perry and the American Family Association that their controversial state call to prayer “has nothing to do with a particular policy issue and everything to do with bringing people together to pray for the welfare of our country,” opposition to “The Response” is mounting.
The Houston Clergy Council (HCC) is the latest religious group to join forces with LGBT activists in denouncing the anti-gay, religious exclusivity of the prayer.
In a statement released earlier this week, HCC writes:
The American Family Association and its leadership have a long track record of anti-gay speech and have actively worked to discriminate against the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community. The American Family Association and its leadership have also been stridently anti-Muslim, going so far as to question the rights of Muslim Americans to freely organize and practice their faith. We believe it is inappropriate for our governor to organize a religious event funded by a group known for its discriminatory stances.
Texas’ Jewish community is also telling Perry enough is enough. The National Association of Jewish Legislators (NAJL) expressed “disappointment and shock” over Perry’s “divisive and exclusionary” event. NAJL member and Texas State Rep. Elliott Naishtat (D-Austin) commented further, “I’m disappointed that Gov. Perry would choose to align himself or affiliate with an organization that is on record as being exclusionary in nature.”
Michael Diviesti, head of the LGBT advocacy group GetEQUAL said that he has never seen such strong bonds between the LGBT and religious community. “These are groups that decided on their own they were going to have a response to this. After everyone created their own protest, we all sort of found a way to incorporate these separate events.”
As Perry and the AFA continue to argue the prayer is for people of all faiths and backgrounds, all one has to do is pick up a copy of the Texas Tribune and read how the AFA has said all non-Christians are going to hell to know that the only goal of “The Response” is to further an agenda of discrimination, intolerance and hate. — Jennifer Kalaidis