Governor of Texas and potential Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry led a crowd estimated at more than 30,000 in a day-long prayer event, in Houston's Reliant Stadium yesterday. The event — "The Response: A Call to Prayer for a Nation in Crisis" — was billed as a gathering of Christian prayer and fasting. To thunderous applause, Perry said, "Like all of you, I love this country. Indeed, the only thing you love more is the living Christ."
Governor Perry has been criticized for his involvement in the event due to its overtly Christian message. Indeed, the event’s spokesperson, Eric Bearse, a former aide to the governor, said in a radio interview that while all were welcome at the event “regardless of their faith tradition or background…there’s hope if people will seek out the living Christ.”
In his nearly 13-minute speech, Perry sought to emphasize the apolitical nature of "The Response." “[God’s] agenda is not a political agenda,” he said. “His is a salvation agenda. He is a wise, wise God, and he’s wise enough to not be affiliated with any political party.” At several points, he quoted passages from the Bible, and then he concluded by asking the audience “to bow your heads in prayer, go to that position of prayer and pray with us.” He went on:
“Lord you are the source of every good thing. You are our only hope. And we stand before you today in awe of your power and in gratitude for your blessings, in humility for our sins. Father, our heart breaks for America. We see discord at home. We see fear in the marketplace. We see anger in the halls of government. As a nation, we have forgotten who made us, who protects us, who blesses us, and for that we cry out for your forgiveness.”
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