Our guest blogger is Sally Steenland, director of the Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative at American Progress Action Fund.
When you’re running at the back of the pack, you’re tempted to do bad things. Sadly, Rick Perry has succumbed to temptation. In a despicable new campaign ad, he tells lies, advocates for discrimination against gay and lesbian Americans, gets history upside down, whines like a victim — and does it all in the name of Christianity. He should be ashamed of himself.
Responding to his false claims feels like spreading a virus, but viruses do turn into pneumonia, so it’s important to stamp this stuff out now. In his ad, Perry claims that children in America can’t openly celebrate Christmas. He should get out more. Last time I checked, Christmas pageants, caroling, and all the rest were popping up in cities and towns across the country. Perry also smears the honorable military service of gays and lesbians, many of whom are Christian men and women fighting for our country. One of our country’s founding principles is religious liberty, which means each of us gets to worship (or not worship) according to our conscience, and without government interference. Get that, Rick? It means that one strain of religious doctrine isn’t allowed to monopolize the country, which works out best for all of us. It also means that our vibrant religious heritage, which by the way liberals passionately defend, is a beacon of hope around the world.
And if that’s not enough, Perry viciously smears President Obama by falsely accusing him of waging a war on religion. Never one to let facts get in the way, Perry seems to think that telling a lie will make it so. He needs to reread the Ninth Commandment—and pay attention to the news which regularly reports on Obama’s White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships which has offices in 12 federal agencies that work with faith-based groups across the country. Just this week the office met with Chicago clergy and directors of federal agencies to discuss how partnerships with government could help create jobs, promote economic growth, and create healthy communities.
And President Obama himself is a devout Christian, proclaiming in more than one speech that “Jesus Christ died for my sins and I am redeemed through him. It is a source of strength and sustenance that I don’t walk alone.”
Pretending to be a victim but acting like a bully is an old trick, and Perry is an old pro. In his ad he warns that Christians in America are under siege. The claim would be comical if it weren’t so offensive and false. In fact there are many countries where Christians are persecuted and killed because of their faith –but America is not one of them.
In recent Republican debates and interviews, Rick Perry showed himself to be uninformed about basic policies and unable to remember simple talking points. In this new ad he shows himself to be incapable of telling the truth.