Governor Rick Perry of Texas has a new ad and he wants everyone to see it so they know how brave and special he is, like a Christian facing the mythical lions in the arena. In it, he says he’s not afraid to talk about his faith. Amazing! Who knew?
I mean talk about coming out of right field, a Republican candidate who not only talks about religion but isn’t afraid to talk about his faith. It’s enough to make you wonder if Rick Perry and his campaign have missed everything that has happened since the Goldwater defeat in ’64 and the subsequent Christian takeover of the Republican Party. He certainly thinks we missed his massive assault on the First Amendment in Houston this past year. He apparently also thinks we will have missed picking up on the company he keeps – the most extremist right-wing Christians in the United States.
Watch the video from Right Wing Watch:
When you run for president, you get a bunch of questions about your faith. People want to know what drives you–how you make decisions.
Now some liberals say that faith is a sign of weakness. Well, they’re wrong.
I think we all need God’s help. America’s greatest leaders have been people of strong faith, of strong values. That makes for a strong America.
I’m Rick Perry. I’m not ashamed to talk about my faith. And I approve of this message.
Just don’t ask him which agency of government he plans to dismantle. That’s one thing he is absolutely afraid to talk about.
Of course, this all plays to the Christians as a persecuted minority meme, which Perry and others are more than happy to push on the American public. Seriously, the idea that a Christian needs to be ashamed to admit they’re a Christian is just about the most hilarious thing I’ve heard – ever.
They’ve been thumping us over the head with Bibles they haven’t read and force-feeding us scripture they don’t understand for better than 40 years and they’re the ones saying they have to be ashamed? I mean, they ought to be, but not for the reasons they imply. They ought to be ashamed of their flagrant attacks upon the First Amendment.
The thing is, nobody should have to worry about Perry’s religion, or that of any other candidate. It should not matter. According to the Constitution, it does not matter. It’s immaterial whether he worships 20 gods or none, as Jefferson once said. It’s really, genuinely, absolutely, a moot point.
The only reason it’s an issue at all is because Republicans like Perry have insisted on making it an issue. In point of fact, nobody asks about your faith, or at least, they didn’t used to. It’s generally been assumed (and accurately) that candidates are Christian, because Christianity is still the dominant religion in the United States. But now it’s not enough to be a Christian; you have to be a special kind of Christian. Obama’s Christianity isn’t good enough. He doesn’t beat people over the head with it. No, you have to be a Perry-kinda-Christian (or a Bachmann but he doesn’t want you to think that way).
I don’t know of any liberals saying faith is a sign of weakness. As for needing God’s help, it’s not true that every president has felt that way – Jefferson, for example. There is no evidence that America needs Perry’s god in order to be strong. None Perry can point to at any rate.
Frankly, it’s not news to anyone that Perry wants to talk about religion. What he’s afraid of is NOT talking about religion, because he’s clinging desperately to the support of the Christian Right, a constituency he does not want and cannot afford to share with Michele Bachmann or any of his other rivals.
The strange thing is that even while Perry is coming at us with this load of bull, Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) is saying “Christianity is the main religion in our country” and that government should not be “facilitating or accommodating fringe religions.” So here Perry is playing the Christianity as a persecuted religion meme while Hartzler is admitting that Christianity is the big dog on the block and that all other religions are inconsequential and should get out of the way. The two positions can’t co-exist; they can’t both be true – by definition the big dog isn’t the one being kicked around.
The people for whom it takes courage to speak about their religion (or there lack thereof) is everyone else – Muslims, Pagans, Jews, Mormons, atheists, and others. And we do need to speak up, because Vicky Hartzler has expressed the GOP position honestly and eloquently, and if we don’t stand up for ourselves – and for each other – nobody will.