A group that has already criticized Texas Gov. Rick Perry for his involvement with a Christian prayer rally scheduled for Reliant Stadium next month went a step further Wednesday and filed a federal lawsuit in Houston to stop him from promoting it.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation claims Perry's association with the "The Response: A Call to Prayer for a National in Crisis" breaches the separation of church and state.
The complaint, filed in the Southern District on behalf of five named individuals who live in Houston, notes the plaintiffs are "nonbelievers who support the free exercise of religion, but strongly oppose the governmental establishment and endorsement of religion ...."
The lawsuit seeks an injunction barring Perry's official involvement. A Perry spokesman said he won't back away from the event.
"Gov. Perry believes the prayer event will serve as an opportunity for Americans to pray together for our nation," said spokesman Mark Miner. "This lawsuit does not affect plans for the event, and it will proceed as scheduled."
Last month, Perry proclaimed Aug. 6 as a day of prayer and fasting and invited fellow governors and citizens to join him for "The Response," which his office called "a nondenominational, apolitical Christian prayer meeting."
IANAL, but I believe the Freedom from Religion Foundation's lawsuit has no merit from the standpoint of the conflation of church and state argument.
My point would instead be that the irony of 'nondenominational' and 'Christian' in the same sentence describing the event seems lost on the organizers. One of many ironies, of course.
Here's another one: what do you suppose would be the response -- from just Christians, mind you -- if this event was organized not by the American Family Association but by an association of devout Muslims, or Buddhists or Hindus or Sikhs? Besides the governor of Texas not attending it, that is?
I considered opening a chicken-fried-steak-on-a-stick stand along Kirby near the entrance to the stadium, but am choosing instead to attend a simultaneous event (Day of Debauchery and Gluttony) in response to the "Day of Prayer and Fasting".
You are all welcome to worship or not, as always and forever, in your own humble way.
Update: Specifically directed at Greg, who manages to harangue this blog every couple of days.
Governor Perry is using Texas money, the Texas Seal, his government website and government time to promote the American Family Association's extremely intolerant agenda. Is the AFA really a Christian organization with a track record like this?
True Christians would -- and should -- reject and denounce them, and Rick Perry's involvement with them.