As we noted last week, Rick Perry spent some time this weekend at James Leininger’s ranch in Texas meeting with a bevy of Religious Right leaders and activists.
According to Time, there was some 300 such leaders in attendance and Rick Scarborough, though he refuses to confirm that he was actually in attendance, appears quite smitten with the Texas Governor:
Last weekend, Rick Perry privately met some 300 conservative evangelical leaders at long-time supporter Jim Leininger’s home near Fredricksburg, Texas. And on Monday afternoon, reported-attendee and evangelical leader Rick Scarborough told TIME he is endorsing Perry: “I was holding judgment,” says Scarborough, who in 1998 founded the group Vision America to mobilize pastors and their congregations to vote on social issues, “but the more I’ve studied and listened, the more I have liked what I have heard.”
Perry first charmed Scarborough, who supported former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee for President in 2008, over a decade ago when Perry gave an impromptu personal testimony of his evangelical faith at a 1998 Republican convention. “It was obvious to me as a preacher that it was real, it was undoctored, it was unprepared, it was off the cuff. It really resonated with me.”
The governor had help in winning over the evangelical leader. Scarborough cited Perry’s wife Anita as a major factor in his decision. “I’ve had a chance here recently to hear Anita, much more close and personal,” Scarborough said. “Unlike [previous Presidents’ wives], I find that she holds the same values that he holds.”
The pastor’s endorsement has real sway. Vision America’s “Patriot Pastor” coalition has 20,000 members, and American Family Association founder Don Wildmon and Left Behind author Tim LaHaye are on the group’s advisory board. Scarborough says he’s already begun making his case to other influential social conservatives. “That’s not to say Rick Perry is Jesus because he is not,” he says. “But when you look at his full body of work, he’s been the best governor we’ve ever had.”
As we noted before, Scarborough is a self-proclaimed “Christocrat” who believes that it is his duty to “mix church and state God’s way” in order to stop the country’s “slide further into Communism/Socialism [and] sexual anarchy led by sodomites” and fight President Obama’s efforts to “de-Christianize” this country.