Thursday, July 14, 2011

Atheists sue Rick Perry over "The Response"

Pastafarians are encouraged to congregate at the Olive Garden of their choosing -- there's one near Reliant Stadium -- and worship in their normal fashion.

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.


Greg said...

Let's clear up that whole "nondenominational" and "Christian" thing for you.

As you are no doubt aware, there are three main strands of Christianity -- Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant. Within Protestantism, there are a great many different organized authority structures, which are generally referred to a "denominations". When referring to an event as "nondenominational", what Christians mean is that the event is not conducted under the auspices of any one particular denominational authority, but is instead ecumenically Christian.

As for how most Christians would respond to the event were it sponsored by a non-Christain group -- most of us would ignore it, a few would try to evangelize non-Christians outside of it, and a handful would probably protest it. My guess, however, is that you and your fellow liberals would not be nearly so intolerant of that religious expression as you are of this one -- and you certainly wouldn't be joking about trying to sell burgers to the Hindus or bacon to the Muslims.

PDiddie said...

you certainly wouldn't be joking about trying to sell burgers to the Hindus or bacon to the Muslims

Oh yes I would, you pissy little bitch!

Greg said...

I disagree with you, Perry.

1) Slick Rick's involvement in this event does not rise to the level of an establishment of religion, so this suit will be laughed out of court.

2) I repeat -- most of us would ignore an event of the sort you mention.

3) I'm not a fan of the AFA, but I find it hopelessly audacious for a non-believer like yourself to believe you have anyplace instructing Christians what they must be to follow their religion.

Besides -- after being repeatedly assured that Obama sitting ina pew for tw decades listening to his pastor spew racism and anti-Americanism, I've got no problem with whoever Perry wants to join with for a single day of prayer. If you do, that should make you rethink your commitment to YOUR PARTY'S PRESIDENT.

PDiddie said...

Dude. I'm crushed.

Here I sat thinking I had hooked another obsessed stalker (a la Chris Elam) on my line, and it turns out that you don't read me so much after all.

Matt Bramanti said...

I thought this blog was inspired by Jesus, no?

Greg said...

Sorry to shock you, Perry, but I really don't hang on your every word. I read what interests me, and comment only when I find something that I think merits a comment.

But to clarify my earlier point, and to respect the point you made in that link to a post I hadn't read -- if you could stomach Obama's 20 year association close relationship with a pastor who regularly spewed racist, sexist, anti-Semitic and anti-American rhetoric from his pulpit, you really have no leg to stand on in criticizing Perry over those involved in this silly little event in August that will attract fewer participants than Obama's old church has members.

PDiddie said...

Matt: Less Jesus than mad elephants, to be certain.

Greg: Legs working just fine this morning. Bike ride completed. Trying to spend more time standing because, you know, recent news reports indicate sitting isn't so good for ya.

As far as Rev. Jeremiah Wright goes, he's about a million times the Christian that Rick Perry is. No hypocrisy in his sermons.

Don't want to make any rationalizations for AFA? Don't blame you. They're indefensible anyway.

And how about that Obama? He's still beating your tribe like a red-headed stepchild.