Organizers for Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s prayer event in Houston this summer claim people of all faiths will be welcome (so long as they’re open to converting to Christianity, apparently). Now a Christian-right group is worried that Muslims might show up to pray at the event, which supporters claim is an opportunity to bring Americans together in support of their country. An email from the Pray in Jesus Name Project to far-right activists is warning that Muslims might try to disrupt the August 6 event at Reliant Stadium in Houston. From the email:
Sadly, although the stadium was rented by non-denominational Christians, it may be interrupted by Muslims who are already demanding to share our stage to pray to Allah.
But if you attend, and the Governors of all 50 States attend (none of whom are Muslim), it will signal our greatest public statement of all–that American is returning to its Christian roots.
Could the hostility toward Muslims, not to mention Jews and other non-Christians, be any clearer? It’s shameful that the governor of Texas insists on associating with intolerant groups that oppose religious freedom for anyone who doesn’t share their views.
The Pray in Jesus Name Project was founded by Gordon James Klingenschmitt, a former U.S. Navy chaplain. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) last year asked the IRS to investigate whether the Pray in Jesus Name Project was violating tax laws by trying to use churches to advance a political agenda. The Project had distributed voter guides in churches that identified electoral candidates as “Anti-Jesus” or “faith friendly.” CREW noted that the Project’s voter guides rated Republican politicians like U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., and U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., as 100% “faith friendly” even though the two had been involved in very public sex scandals.
Take a stand against far-right groups and cynical politicians who use faith as a political weapon by signing our open letter to Gov. Perry. The letter calls on the governor to make his August event truly open to speakers and attendees from all faiths as well as to people of goodwill who are not affiliated with a faith tradition. The letter also calls on Gov. Perry to demonstrate his commitment to religious tolerance by ending the association between his office and the American Family Association, a hate group the governor has asked to organize the event.