|Out Gays Barred from Rick Perry’s Mega Prayerfest|
More than 30,000 people packed Houston’s Reliant Stadium to attend Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s mega prayerfest named "The Response," a clarion call to all Christian Americans for a national day of prayer for our troubled nation.
But lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Americans―Christians and non-Christians―were not invited.
And you wouldn’t have known it from Gov. Rick Perry’s remarks:
"I’m so humbled to be in the midst of men and women who have answered the call to prayer and fast for our nation. ...Like all of you, I love this country deeply, thank you all for being here."
But the American Family Association (AFA), one of the largest and most influential traditional family values organizations in the country that has over two million online supporters, financed the event. This Tupelo, Miss-based Christian group has actively lobbied against the acceptance of LGBTQ Americans by publicly stating, "We oppose the homosexual movement’s efforts to convince our society that their behavior is normal." The AFA unapologetically promotes the idea that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice that can be cured through religious teachings in ex-gay ministries. The organization focuses its anti-gay crusade primarily through television and other media, both nationally and abroad.
For example, in 2007, the AFA spoke out against IKEA for featuring lesbian and gay families in their television ads. In June 2008, the AFA protested a Heinz television ad, shown in the U.K, for featuring two men kissing, and Heinz withdrew the ad. And in July 2008, the AFA boycotted McDonald’s because McDonald’s had a director on its board from the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
But AFA wasn’t the only anti-LGBTQ organization at the rally. Representatives from Tony Perkins’s Family Research Council and Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family also attended.
Perry stated "The Response" wasn’t a disguised platform for his political aspiration to run for the presidency in 2012, but rather a simple Christian rally praying for all Americans, even Obama, during these difficult times.
"We pray for our nation’s leaders, Lord, for parents, for pastors, for the generals, for governors, that you would inspire them in these difficult times," Perry told those gathered at Reliant Stadium. "Father, we pray for our President, that you would impart your wisdom upon him, that you would protect his family."
However, I am confused about Perry’s role serving the American people. If Perry were a minister who had the backing of anti-gay organizations, I wouldn’t be so troubled. But Perry is a governor, whose oath to office is to represent not simply his evangelical conservative base, but rather every citizen in the Lone Star State.
Who would have ever thought that the hard earned gains that have been won to separate the church―an institution that summarily can and has excluded LGBT people―from the state―an institution that we have leverage to be included in―would once again be violated by an elected official, and a Texan no less?