It is widely considered that Texas Governor Rick Perry, who jogs with a handgun to shoot coyotes, will throw his hat into the ring for the Republican nomination for president.
Apparently, however, the miracle of Texas on which Perry will try to run turns out to have been …. overstated. Despite hating on the stimulus, Gov Perry used it to balance his budget and now has a deficit the size of California's, although without the unions to blame for it.
At a time when there’s a full-court press on to demonize public-sector unions as the source of all our woes, Texas is nearly demon-free: less than 20 percent of public-sector workers there are covered by union contracts, compared with almost 75 percent in New York.The "booming Texas economy" is built on the backs of the highest number of minimum wage jobs in the country. And as a result,
Texas has indeed taken a hard, you might say brutal, line toward its most vulnerable citizens. Among the states, Texas ranks near the bottom in education spending per pupil, while leading the nation in the percentage of residents without health insurance. It’s hard to imagine what will happen if the state tries to eliminate its huge deficit purely through further cuts.. And of course, there's that call for secession.
But undaunted, there's this:
[Perry is] now planning an evangelical hoedown in August, called “The Response,” that features a sort of who’s who of radical theocrats, including John Hagee, the Christian Zionist leader whose support John McCain felt constrained to repudiate in 2008 after Hagee called Adolf Hitler an agent of God’s plans to return the Jews to their biblical homeland. The expressed purpose of the upcoming event is to seek divine intervention to fix America, apparently via the propitiation of an angry God by the abandonment of such abominations as legalized abortion, same-sex relationships, and church-state separation.A group of progressive clergy have banded together and have called Perry out on this.
We believe in a healthy boundary between church and state... We are concerned that our governor has crossed the line by organizing and leading a religious event rather than focusing on the people’s business in Austin.It's good to see clergy standing up to the hegemony of the religious right. The RR do not represent the majority of Christians, or the majority of Americans. It's important to hear strong voices of faith countering their lies.
We also express concern that the day of prayer and fasting at Reliant Stadium is not an inclusive event. ...It troubles us that the governor’s prayer event is not open to everyone. In the publicized materials, the governor has made it clear that only Christians of a particular kind are welcome to pray in a certain way. We feel that such an exclusive event does not reflect the rich tapestry of our city.
Our deepest concern, however, lies in the fact that funding for this event appears to come from the American Family Association, an organization labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The American Family Association and its leadership have a long track record of anti-gay speech and have actively worked to discriminate against the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community. The American Family Association and its leadership have also been stridently anti-Muslim, going so far as to question the rights of Muslim Americans to freely organize and practice their faith. We believe it is inappropriate for our governor to organize a religious event funded by a group known for its discriminatory stances.
As religious leaders, we commit to join with all Houstonians in working to make our city a better place. We will lead our communities in prayer, meditation, and spiritual practice. We ask that Rick Perry leave the ministry to us and refocus his energy on the work of governing our state.
meanwhile, will he run, or not?
Photo from AP via the New Yorker