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Group sues to prevent Perry from participating in prayer rally

July 29th, 2011

Texas governor Rick Perry to hold Evangelical rally in Houston

Texas Governor Rick Perry

Texas Governor Rick Perry

Wisconsin political and religious watchdog group Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a lawsuit with the federal district court in Houston, Texas recently in order to bar Texas governor Rick Perry from participating in a prayer rally which he has organized and promoted.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation says it is taking legal action against Perry, who intends on running for president in 2012, because they claim his involvement in organizing such an event effectively gives Evangelical Christianity a government endorsement. Providing such an endorsement is a Constitutional violation, the Freedom From Religion Foundation believes.

Despite the litigation, Perry does not plan on on canceling or delaying the event, which has been christened “The Response” and is scheduled to occur on August 6 in Houston. The free, public event will be hosted by the American Family Association, a staunchly conservative Christian advocacy group. The event’s website calls the event “a call to prayer for a nation in crisis”.

“Governor Perry believes the prayer event will serve as an opportunity for Americans to pray together for our nation,” a spokesperson for the governor said.

Perry, a former Democrat regarded by many as moderately conservative, has drawn the ire of atheist and agnostic groups for his emphasis on the power of prayer.

“I sincerely hope you’ll join me in asking God’s forgiveness, wisdom and provision for our state and nation,” Perry said in a message on the Response’s website. “There is hope for America. It lies in heaven, and we will find it on our knees.”

Is the Freedom From Religion Foundation in the right by suing Perry? Should presidential nominees and publicly-elected officials to posts as high as governorships be able to endorse religious groups? Or is Perry justified in supporting the religion he so obviously identifies with?

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