A new story in the Texas Observer follows Gov. Rick Perry’s courtship of the religious right on a path to the fringes, where self-proclaimed prophets and modern-day apostles apparently like to hang out.
The story, “Rick Perry’s Army of God,” starts with a description of a meeting between Gov. Perry and pastors Tom Schlueter of Arlington and Bob Long of San Marcos. And things get rather mystical.
From the story:
The pastors told Perry of God’s grand plan for Texas. A chain of powerful prophecies had proclaimed that Texas was “The Prophet State,” anointed by God to lead the United States into revival and Godly government. And the governor would have a special role.
The day before the meeting, Schlueter had received a prophetic message from Chuck Pierce, an influential prophet from Denton, Texas. God had apparently commanded Schlueter — through Pierce — to “pray by lifting the hand of the one I show you that is in the place of civil rule.”
Gov. Perry, it seemed.
Schlueter had prayed before his congregation: “Lord Jesus I bring to you today Gov. Perry. … I am just bringing you his hand and I pray Lord that he will grasp ahold of it. For if he does you will use him mightily.”
And grasp ahold the governor did. At the end of their meeting, Perry asked the two pastors to pray over him. As the pastors would later recount, the Lord spoke prophetically as Schlueter laid his hands on Perry, their heads bowed before a painting of the Battle of the Alamo. Schlueter “declared over [Perry] that there was a leadership role beyond Texas and that Texas had a role beyond what people understand,” Long later told his congregation.
So you have to wonder: Is Rick Perry God’s man for president?
We should be clear that we don’t question the sincerity of Gov. Perry’s faith. That is, or should be, a matter between him and God. But the governor’s efforts to use faith as a political tool are well known — his planned August 6 prayer rally in Houston is only the most recent example. And it appears that this politician is especially interested in religious leaders who, as the story suggests, believe “they have a direct line to God.”