George W. Bush is the only President of the United States in my living memory, perhaps the only one ever, to loudly and proudly wear religion on his sleeve during his eight year administration, and there is abundant evidence that he relied upon it early and often in making crucial presidential decisions to the detriment of our nation. Those decisions earn him the dubious distinction of worst U.S. president in history in my opinion.
He’s the one who bestowed upon us by fiat his executive Office of Faith Based Partnerships for the purpose of mixing religion with politics, i.e. combining church and state with taxpayer dollars.
He’s the one who gave us Barack Obama on a silver platter and, so far, a multi-year recession, $14.5 trillion in debt, two unnecessary wars, and 6,000 dead U.S. soldiers who sacrificed their lives for nothing.
When asked by someone once to name his favorite philosopher, G.W.B. answered: “Jesus Christ.” Never mind that the biblical Jesus was not considered a philosopher (unless one considers the Christian God a philosopher); Bush simply couldn’t think of anyone else having any substantial influence over his thinking.
Now take the factor of George W. Bush squared; add the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, subtract the Establishment Clause, and that equals Rick Perry, another rabid religionist governor from the state of Texas who yearns to make Christianity the official state religion in America – an American Christian theocracy.
You can mark my words: should Rick Perry be nominated by the Republican Party for president, Barack Obama will enjoy four more years as President of the United States. I said it before: Religion ruins Republicans.
Most of us, including myself, don’t mind a politician having religion for the sake of his own personal salvation, but when they start seriously talking about relying on God to guide their decisions for the country it scares the daylights out of me. We had eight years of that with Bush and it was a disaster. With Perry, even though he may have good intentions, it would likely be far worse, and here is the evidence:
On August 6, 2011, Perry declared a“day of prayer and fasting for our nation’s challenges … America is in crisis," he explained just before announcing his candidacy for president; "We have been besieged by financial debt, terrorism, and a multitude of natural disasters … As a nation, we must come together and call upon Jesus to guide us through unprecedented struggles, and thank Him for the blessings of freedom we so richly enjoy, … [pray for] unity and righteousness for our states, nation and mankind.”
“Some problems are beyond our power to solve, and according to the Book of Joel, Chapter 2, this historic hour demands a[n] historic response,” Perry proclaimed. “Therefore, on August 6, thousands will gather to pray for a[n] historic breakthrough for our country and a renewed sense of moral purpose.”
"With the economy in trouble, communities in crisis, and people adrift in a sea of moral relativism, we need God's help. That's why I'm calling on Americans to pray and fast like Jesus did," said Perry in a video posted on the prayer event’s website, "The Response."
In April, he also declared days of prayer for rain to combat the state's oppressive drought, and he told a reporter recently that he now feels "called" to run for president.
"I am a man of faith," Perry exudes. "I think we are going through those difficult economic times for a purpose to bring us back to those Biblical principles," he told a televangelist last May. Biblical principles? Does he not care that ours is a secular nation based upon constitutional principles? I think not!
"Father, our heart breaks for America," Perry prayed at his prayer event, asking Christians to turn to God for answers to the nation's troubles. "We see discord at home. We see fear in the marketplace. We see anger in the halls of government and, as a nation, we have forgotten who made us, who protects us, who blesses us."
The event was all Perry's idea, financed by the American Family Association, a Christian evangelical group that opposes abortion, gay rights, and believes that the First Amendment freedom of religion clause applies only to Christians.
Last week, Perry expounded in detail about his religious inclinations at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., the largest evangelical university in the country, founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell. Evangelicals are a large part of Perry’s core constituency. He explained how he turned to God after leaving the Air Force: “I had nowhere else to turn … I was 27. I was lost spiritually and emotionally and I didn’t know how to fix it.”
“As spiritual beings, we are meant to live in relationship with our Creator and with one another,” Perry stated. “The happiest moments I’ve ever experienced are when I am in communion with God and in community with others, … Do not fret if you don’t know your place in the world or what you want to be someday. Trust that God wouldn’t have put you here unless He had a unique plan for your life.”
"Christian values" should be given supremacy over other religions in guiding the U.S. government, Perry ominously declared. "America is going to be guided by some set of values. The question is gonna be, whose values? ... It's those Christian values that this country was based upon."
This is a man who affirms forthrightly, unapologetically, and in flagrant violation of the First Amendment Establishment Clause, that he will rely upon his version of evangelical Christianity to guide his official government decisions affecting all the nation’s diverse people. He therefore will not be relying upon reason. That admission alone disqualifies Rick Perry for the high office of President of the United States.
But that isn’t all. Even his ultra conservative fellow Republicans are appalled by the fact that Perry is a man who – again, perhaps with good intentions -- tried to mandate an HPV vaccine for every 11 and 12 year old schoolgirl in Texas, while his former chief of staff was a lobbyist for the drug maker, Merck, which would have manufactured the vaccine.
Even Bill O’Reilly, a religious conservative if there ever was one, blanched at this over the top abuse of government power. HPV is not, like measles or smallpox, a communicable disease, but a sexually transmitted one. Perry just got it into his religiously guided head – from God maybe -- that he should substitute his judgment for that of children’s parents on a purely private personal medical decision.
Finally, Gov. Perry readily admits and makes light of the fact that he was a poor student, graduating 10th in his 1968 high school class of 13, and boasting of a college transcript filled with C's and D's. Clearly, George W. Bush standing next to Rick Perry looks like a Rhodes Scholar.
Rick Perry might be a nice man, and I think he is, but, like Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum, he’s just not fit for prime time. His calling is perhaps more appropriate as a preacher, not a president. The Democrats would make mincemeat out of him in a general election. They would rightly call it like it is:
Rick Perry, in a nutshell, is just a poor substitute for George W. Bush.