Sometimes you have to wonder if Rick Perry had any idea what he was getting into when he decided to organizer a massive public prayer rally with the bigoted American Family Association and then fill it with a bunch of Religious Right activists and self-proclaimed “prophets” and “apostles” who believe that Oprah is a forerunner to the Antichrist and the Statue of Liberty is a “demonic idol.”
Because it sure seems like he doesn’t have a clue at all:
Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Monday that he doesn’t necessarily subscribe to the beliefs of some of the ministers coming to his prayer summit next month.
“I’m sure that through my elections in the past that there have been some groups that have endorsed me publicly, that I appreciate their endorsements, but their endorsements of me doesn’t mean I endorse what they believe in or what they say,” Perry said.
In his first discussion with reporters about some of the ministers associated with his call to pray for the nation, Perry indicated he is willing to associate with all of them even if he disagrees with some of their beliefs. He likened it to political endorsements.
“I appreciate anyone who’s going to endorse me, whether it’s on The Response, or whether it’s on a potential run for the presidency of the United States,” he said. “Just because you endorse me doesn’t mean I endorse everything that you say or do.”
Does he not recall what happened when John McCain accepted the endorsements of John Hagee and Rod Parsely? He had to publicly reject them because of the radical things they had said and, in doing so, made clear that their views were “crazy and unacceptable” as well as “deeply offensive and indefensible” and stated that “there is no place for that kind of dialogue in America, and I believe that even though he endorsed me, and I didn’t endorse him, the fact is that I repudiate such talk, and I reject his endorsement.”
Perry, by contrast, is including Hagee in his prayer rally, along with a variety of other fringe figures who have said equally outrageous things. And Perry is more than willing to publicly stand with every one of them while claiming that he is not responsible in any way.
This is not some prayer rally being organized by some other group at which he is simply going to be an attendee; this is Rick Perry’s prayer event – he conceived it, he set it in motion, and he is its public face.
And he is therefore responsible for the types of people he chooses to associate with at his event.