Monday, August 8, 2011

Texas Governor Rick Perry's call to prayer draws crowd of 30,000

Gov. Rick Perry’s Aug. 6 day
of prayer and fasting at Reliant Stadium.
It was billed as a day of prayer and fasting to halt America's national decline, and about 30,000 answered the call, flooding into Houston's Reliant stadium for a seven-hour marathon which blended Christian revivalism with hard-headed electoral campaigning.

There was plenty of prayer: some of the faithful stood with arms held high in supplication, others danced trancelike in the aisles and still more lay spreadeagled on the floor.

The fasting was less conspicuous: long queues formed at Prince's Hamburgers, Tejas Nachos, Five Star Dogs and other fast-food stands inside the cavernous arena.

The rally on Saturday marked another step towards the launch of Rick Perry's presidential campaign, giving the governor of Texas a national platform for the first time, with 250 reporters and camera crews covering it.

More importantly, it virtually guaranteed him the support of the Christian evangelical movement, with its network of volunteers and finance, plus a large bloc of votes in Republican caucuses and primaries.

Perry, 61, who is in his third full term as governor, has still not officially announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination. But whenever he does – he is expected to declare his intentions this month – he will likely become the frontrunner for the nomination to take on Barack Obama next year.

Much of secular and liberal America watches anxiously at the prospect of another Texas president tied to the Christian evangelical movement. That unease is shared by progressive Christians who fear Perry is identifying with the most conservative church leaders.

The American Family Association (AFA), which runs a network of 200 radio stations – and which has been labelled a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Centre for its attitude to gay people – contributed an estimated $1m towards the cost of the rally.

The Cornerstone Church – whose leader, John Hagee, gained notoriety for declaring that Hurricane Katrina was God's vengeance on a sinful New Orleans and suggesting that Jews had brought the Holocaust on themselves – sent about 700 members, travelling from San Antonio by car and bus.

The event provoked a backlash in Texas, including a lawsuit by atheists aimed at stopping it, charging that Perry was in breach of the separation of politics and religion. On Saturday, a plane flew over the stadium with a banner with the same message about separation of politics and religion. Other Christian churches held alternative prayer meetings on Friday and Saturday.

Among about 150 protesters outside the stadium was Pastor Katherine Godby. Carrying a poster saying "Hate Is Not A Gospel Value", she expressed sadness that Perry had aligned himself with the AFA.

Perry's previous attempts to invoke a higher power suggest that there are limits to the power of prayer. In April, he declared a three-day vigil for rain in Texas. But those prayers have so far gone unanswered, and the state is still suffering its worst drought since 1895.

Click here to read the full article

Source: The Guardian, August 7, 2011


Rick Perry's dubious record

Rick Perry became Governor of Texas in 2001, and to date has presided over 234 executions [as of August 10, 2011], more than any other governor in American history.

After the death penalty was re-legalized in the USA on July 2, 1976, Texas resumed executions on December 7, 1982, and to date, has put to death 473 condemned inmates.

Below is a list of impending Texas executions in the weeks and months ahead; please note that likely before the end of this year, Rick Perry will have presided over (more than) half of all people executed in Texas.


date/name of impending execution # executed under Gov Perry # executed in Texas since 1982
July 7--Humberto Leal
232
471 (executed)
July 20---Mark Stroman
233
472 (executed)
Aug. 10--Martin Robles
234
473 (executed)
Aug. 18--Larry Swearingen
235
474 (stayed)
Aug. 23--Randall Mays
236
475
Aug. 30--Ivan Cantu
237
476
Sept. 13--Steven Woods
238
477
Sept. 15--Duane Buck
239
478 - 50%
Sept. 20--Cleve Foster
240
479
Sept. 21--Lawrence Brewer
241
480 under Gov. Perry


NOTE: A Texas governor can only commute a death sentence if the 7-member Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles makes a favorable recommendation of clemency. Otherwise, a governor could issue a 1-time 30-day stay of execution for a condemned inmate. In the 234 executions carried out thus far under Rick Perry, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles has recommended clemency for a condemned inmate only 1 time, by a 6-1 vote for Kelsey Patterson; Gov. Perry, who is not bound to follow a clemency recommendation, rejected it and Patterson was put to death.

Source: Rick Halperin, DPN Staff, August 8, 2011