Gov. Perry: Using Faith as a Political Weapon

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It is obvious now that Texas Gov. Rick Perry is basing his hopes for re-election next year mostly on winning over the far-right wing of the Republican Party. (That’s the same wing that wrote the 2008 state party platform. You can read that classic example of extremism here.)  If Gov. Perry can win the GOP nomination, he figures he’ll win the general election fairly easily in a Republican-leaning state.

So with an expected challenge for his party’s nomination from U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, the governor has raced to the extremist fringes. In addition to sharpening his attacks on reproductive rights for women, Gov. Perry has rejected federal aid for the unemployed, revived the racially poisoned “states rights” rhetoric of the segregationist right from the 1950s, and even suggested that Texas could and might one day secede. And this week he’s once again pow-wowing with fundamenalist pastors at a closed-door confab in Austin.

Gov. Perry has been to this well before, appearing as an honored speaker before fundamentalist clergy at numerous Texas Restoration Project events in advance of his 2006 re-election bid. The Restoration Project — funded largely by major Perry donors — has appeared to be little more than an effort to drag churches into partisan politics. This week’s “Pastors Policy Conference” (which will also feature fellow Republican officeholders such as Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Attorney General Greg Abbott) is being hosted by the Texas Pastor Council, part of the U.S. Pastor Council.

Houston Chronicle writer R.G. Ratcliffe has the story here. Ratcliffe notes this excerpt from an Internet posting by U.S. Pastor Council Executive Director Dave Welch:

Conservative Republicans coined a term for those who claim affiliation with the party but do not adhere to any or most of the platform principles: RINO’s (Republican In Name Only). CINO doesn’t have quite the same ring; however, the application is the same.

Don’t tell us how much someone “loves the Lord” (including the president) if he or she denies “all that I commanded you.” Don’t call yourself a Christian if you are going to deny essential doctrines.

For the rest of us in pulpit and pew, we must reassert those truths FIRST if we want the power of God with us in the battle to rebuild the social, cultural and political foundations of this great nation.

Read Ratcliffe’s full piece here for other important context for this week’s conference. (For one thing, the Texas Pastor Council is refusing to allow the press to attend the event.)

But the central mesage from the governor and Texas Pastor Council this week is clear: they will openly use faith as a weapon to divide voters and bludgeon political opponents in 2010. Their attacks will also come on a broad “culture war” battlefront, and the faith of anyone who opposes them will be considered a fair target.

No one can say they weren’t warned.

Update: Dallas Morning News political writer Wayne Slater is also on the story here.

17 Responses to “Gov. Perry: Using Faith as a Political Weapon”

  1. Charles Says:

    Well, I could write an essay here, but I will not this time—too tired from working late. I will just make the following short Biblical comment, and I hope that all of the Christians out there will absorb the meaning:

    “This would not be the first time that the Scribes and Pharisees have met in private to plan a crucifixion.”

  2. Larry Fafarman Says:

    This shows why it is important to have curricular issues decided by an elected board of education rather than by appointees of the governor. I disagree with “conservatives” on a lot of issues, e.g., stem-cell research, school prayer, and abstinence education, and I don’t want to have to support the whole darn conservative agenda just to support the conservative position on teaching the controversy about evolution. Even in education alone, there are a lot of issues mixed together — for example, I support teaching the controversy about the holocaust as well as the controversy about evolution.

  3. Coragyps Says:

    I’m going to regret this in the morning……..

    “I support teaching the controversy about the holocaust….”

    What controversy might that be, Mr Fafarman? I seem to have missed out on it.

  4. Larry Fafarman Says:

    Coragyps Says:
    –“I support teaching the controversy about the holocaust….”

    What controversy might that be, Mr Fafarman? I seem to have missed out on it.–

    Read the news.

  5. Ben Says:

    On the other hand, there appears to be no controversy regarding whether Larry’s thoughts are controlled by Satan.

  6. James F Says:

    I would just like to say that I’ve written essays on the Holocaust and interviewed survivors, and Holocaust revisionism is quite possibly the most repellent form of denialism in existence.

  7. Leigh Williams Says:

    Larry, I would like to say I’m surprised to find out that you’re a Holocaust denier, as well as an idiot. I’m not. But just for the record, today you officially went from being merely contemptible to being disgusting. You are a wicked man, and the truth is not in you.

  8. Larry Fafarman Says:

    James F,
    How is holocaust revisionism “repellent” if it is not accompanied by anti-Semitism? Holocaust revisionism without anti-Semitism is just another view of history.

    I used holocaust revisionism to create an example of how compromises on the issues may have to be made even when voting for a board of education candidate, let alone a governor! For example, because support for teaching the holocaust controversy appears to be much less common than support for teaching the evolution controversy, I would probably support a BOE candidate who supports teaching the holocaust controversy even if (s)he does not support teaching the evolution controversy.

    My own position is that a “systematic” Jewish holocaust was impossible because the Nazis had no objective and reliable ways of identifying Jews and non-Jews. How is that idea “repellent”? The issue of identification of Jews and non-Jews is central to the holocaust but has hardly been discussed at all. A new way of looking at a controversy can change the whole picture — another example is my ideas about coevolution.

    My views on the holocaust are on my blog in two post-label groups titled “holocaust revisionism” and two post-label groups titled “Darwin-to-Hitler.” The post labels are listed in the sidebar of the homepage —
    http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/

  9. Charles Says:

    James. I know about denial too. I have a 15-year-old daughter who is failing honors geometry and biology in high school. For about a month now, we were taking her to school an hour early so she could participate in a geometry tutoring program led by her geometry teacher. Today, we learned that she was hanging out with her friends rather than going to the tutoring sessions. She seems to be in major league denial about her grades and her overall situation—including summer school—which she denies as an impossibility that will never happen to her. Best I can figure out, when she entered high school as a freshman back in the fall, she thought that no work or effort would be involved. Her whole frame of reference and reality for high school was apparently set by the Disney Channel and “HIgh School Musical” (1, 2 , and 3). She must have thought that she was Ashley Tisdale and our high school was a movie set. Never underestimate the power of the Disney Channel to screw up your kid’s thinking and launch them into a denial of reality. Maybe McLeroy watched too many TV preachers when he was growing up.

  10. Cytocop Says:

    You know, I’m not surprised at all that Mr. Fafarman is a holocaust-denier. I’ve been suspecting as much of him. As a Jew, this is reprehensible. I personally KNOW holocaust-survivors so don’t you dare tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about! These people lost their families, homes, and everything they had. To claim these survivors are liars proves Mr. Fafarman is a pathetic degenerate and probably a Nazi himself. The burden of proof rests on him, not on the survivors except that he has nothing that would be of interest to me to waste my time reading.

  11. eoAustin Says:

    Larry is a moron who would go to Hell if there was such a place. Rick Perry is an idiot who nees to be voted out. What a joke. Holocaust revisionism? What the heck is that. 6 million Jews murdered! Not much left to revise on that is there Larry? You are an embarrassment to mankind. Move to Iran where you belong.

  12. Larry Fafarman Says:

    I didn’t say that there was no holocaust — I said that I doubt that there was a “systematic” Jewish holocaust.

    Edwin Black wrote in the introduction of his book “IBM and the Holocaust,”

    When Hitler came to power, a central Nazi goal was to identify and destroy Germany’s 600,000 Jews. To Nazis, Jews were not just those who practiced Judaism, but those of Jewish blood, regardless of their assimilation, intermarriage, religious activity, or even conversion to Christianity. Only after Jews were identified could they be targeted for asset confiscation, ghettoization, deportation, and ultimately extermination. To search generations of communal, church, and governmental records all across Germany–and later throughout Europe–was a cross-indexing task so monumental, it called for a computer. But in 1933, no computer existed . . . . .

    I was haunted by a question whose answer has long eluded historians. The Germans always had the lists of Jewish names. Suddenly, a squadron of grim-faced SS would burst into a city square and post a notice demanding those listed assemble the next day at the train station for deportation to the East. But how did the Nazis get the lists? For decades, no one has known. Few have asked.
    http://www.ibmandtheholocaust.com/introduction.php

    So Edwin Black also says that Jew identification was a big problem for the Nazis, but when he says it he is regarded as an expert and when I say it I am regarded as a crackpot. And his claim that the Nazis identified all of the Jews of Europe by using primitive IBM Hollerith card machines to process data stored on billions of Hollerith cards is absurd — even if all the necessary data had been available, those primitive machines simply did not have such data-processing capability. All those machines could do was just read, sort and merge a few cards at a time.

    Some people just have closed minds.

  13. PHarvey Says:

    Larry has given up all credibility. He didn’t have any to begin with. Now he is running negative.

    I feel like taking a shower with lye soap evertime I read one of his posts. After one of his posts, nothing makes me feel clean.

  14. Charles Says:

    Larry.

    I could go out right now with an army of thugs, knock down synagogue doors, confiscate membership lists, and have tons of Jews to kill—if I wanted to. I could start with a good friend of mine who lives a few miles from here. I could round up people in funny-looking black clothes. I could round up Moe, Larry, Curly, and Shemp—and rekill them. Then there would be all of the relations, and their relations, and their relations. I coud have Jews comming out the wazoo to kill—and I ain’t even organized like the SS was. Computer. What a crock!!!

  15. Larry Fafarman Says:

    Charles Says (April 22, 2009 at 10:46 pm ) —
    –Larry.

    I could go out right now with an army of thugs, knock down synagogue doors, confiscate membership lists, and have tons of Jews to kill—if I wanted to. I could start with a good friend of mine who lives a few miles from here. I could round up people in funny-looking black clothes.–

    Charles, you ignored my quotations of Edwin Black, author of “IBM and the Holocaust,” who is supposed to be an expert on the subject of how the Nazis identified Jews. He said,

    To Nazis, Jews were not just those who practiced Judaism, but those of Jewish blood, regardless of their assimilation, intermarriage, religious activity, or even conversion to Christianity. . . . . .

    I was haunted by a question whose answer has long eluded historians. The Germans always had the lists of Jewish names. . . . . But how did the Nazis get the lists? For decades, no one has known. Few have asked.
    http://www.ibmandtheholocaust.com/introduction.php

    The Nazis just rounded up people en masse — there was no time to do individual genealogical studies or other background checks on them. And even today, we don’t know exactly what a Jew is. How can there be a “systematic” Jewish holocaust when we don’t even know exactly what a Jew is?

    And as I said, to have a “systematic” Jewish holocaust, the means of identifying Jews and non-Jews must be objective and reliable. The identification methods must work all the time, not just occasionally. Your identification method — knocking down synagogue doors and confiscating membership lists — would work only occasionally on synagogue members and would never work on Jews who are not synagogue members. You are just grasping at straws.

    –I coud have Jews comming out the wazoo to kill—and I ain’t even organized like the SS was. Computer. What a crock!!! —

    But how could you find and kill them all?

  16. Jack Says:

    Even Hitler said he was doing God’s work rounding up the Jews!

  17. Charles Says:

    “The identification methods must work all the time, not just occasionally.”

    Larry thinks that the Nazis could not have killed all those Jews unless they had excellent “Jew Boy” identification methods that worked correctly all of the time. It occurs to me that the SS sadists would never have let a small thing like that stop them. When in doubt, kill and incinerate just to make sure. That is all it would have taken.

    “Hey Otto!! This guy’s name is Goldblum, but this paper says he is Roman Catholic.”

    “Load him on the train Gelfinger!!! I’m late for mess hall!!!”

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