Religious Leaders Express Concern Over Governor's Participation in Prayer Rally

More than 50 local religious and community members have signed a statement expressing concern over the connection between the governor's office and a Houston prayer rally this Saturday.

The event has been described by Governor Rick Perry’s aides as a nondenominational and apolitical Christian prayer meeting. 

The Anti-Defamation League has voiced concerns about the governor's participation in the rally, based on Constitutional separation of church and state issues.  One person who signed the ADL statement is Reverend Bill Lawson, Pastor Emeritus at Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church.

"Governor Perry, calling the state to Christian prayer, suggests that he wants to discriminate against other faiths. On top of that, I'm sure that he's playing politics. He's been governor for three terms and he's never called for a time of prayer until now when he needs the conservative white Christian vote."

Reverend Belinda Windham is pastor of New Hope Presbyterian Church.

"He takes an oath of office to uphold the Constitution, and to have such an exclusive, huge gathering like this — with the governor, front and center — is just absolutely wrong."

But not all religious leaders are troubled by the prayer rally.  Pastor Ron Hindt is with Calvary Houston, near Friendswood.

"Well, first of all, the Bible tells us to pray for those who are in authority. Whether it's frankly, politically-motivated or not, I'm praying for my nation. I have a government official saying 'let's pray.' Why can't I get behind that? So that's been the motivation to support that and to encourage our people to pray — not for anything political, but to pray for our nation." 

Governor Perry announced last month that he was inviting governors and people from across the country to join him on August 6th for a day of prayer and fasting at Reliant Stadium.

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Ed Mayberry

Local Anchor, All Things Considered

Ed Mayberry has worked in radio since 1971, with many of those years spent on the rock 'n' roll disc jockey side of the business...