Just a few weeks after urging Texans to pray for rain in response to severe drought conditions and wildfires, Gov. Rick Perry announced today that he was helping organize a "prayer and fasting" event in Houston and inviting the nation's other governors to attend.
Perry's office confirmed that the governor would participate in The Response, "a non-denominational, apolitical, Christian prayer meeting" at Reliant Stadium on Aug. 6 hosted by the American Family Association.
In an open letter on the event's website, Perry writes, "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."
Perry also used his power as governor Monday to declare that Aug. 6 would be an official "Day of Prayer and Fasting" in Texas. He urged the nation's other governors to make similar declarations in order to encourage "their constituents to pray that day for unity and righteousness for our states, nation and mankind."
The announcement comes ten days after Perry revealed he is "thinking about" running for president. While Perry's office described the event and the announcement as "apolitical," Perry’s framing of the event as a response to problems with the nation’s current direction is likely to be interpreted by some as a slap at the leadership in Washington, D.C.
Kirsten Gray, a spokesperson for the Texas Democratic Party, sent out the following statement in response to Perry's announcement:
"Governor Perry is the last person who should be talking about what’s right for our country. When campaigning, he claims he will fully fund our schools, protect the elderly and balance the budget, but the deficit state GOP budget broke every one of those promises. A budget is a moral document about our priorities, but it’s obvious the Governor is a shameless opportunist whose real priority is whatever furthers his own career ambitions."