So, come on down, Rick Perry! He may be the favorite by default, but the Texas governor is also a terrific match for the Christian Right. Sarah Posner of Religious Dispatches recently outlined Perry’s social conservative bona fides and they’re impressive:
— Signed a gay marriage ban into law at a Christian school in Fort Worth with evangelical heavyweights Tony Perkins (Family Research Council), Rod Parsley (Ohio mega-church pastor), and Don Wildmon (American Family Association) in attendance. — The Sunday before his 2006 re-election, Perry attended Cornerstone Church and sat by the side of controversial pastor John Hagee (in 2008, John McCain had to reject Hagee’s endorsement after critics pointed out the pastor’s many extreme statements, including calling the Catholic Church “the whore of Babylon”). — Supported and was a primary beneficiary of the Texas Restoration Project, an effort to increase the electoral involvement of conservative pastors.
All of this, however, pales beside Perry’s current project–a Christian all-day prayer event called “The Response” on August 6 in Houston. The governor is sponsoring the event along with the American Family Association, which is footing the estimated $1.5 million tab for the gathering. The Response is intended for Christians only, although one spokesman said that if people of other faiths attend, he hopes they will see the light and “seek out the living Christ” for their lives.
We can probably be confident that Perry is rock-solid on the Israel issue. After all, it’d be a lot easier to turn the United States into a Christian state if us pesky Jews would all get lost and move to the Jewish state. But I’m guessing that, as usual, religious minority groups of all stripes are going to see that we have common interests in resisting this style of majoritarian identity politics.