As we noted earlier this week, Texas Governor Rick Perry was partnering with the American Family Association and a handful of other Religious Right activists to organize an all-day prayer rally in Houston in August called “The Response: A Call to Prayer for a Nation in Crisis.”
Now, obviously the fact that Perry was willing to partner with the AFA was rather eye-raising, given the long history of offensive and bigoted things both the organization and its primary spokesperson, Bryan Fischer, have said.
But, as the Texas Tribune reports, Perry has no problem with any of that and is quite proud to stand with the AFA while Tim Wildmon asserted that anyone who doesn’t share the AFA’s views is going to hell:
Perry spokesman Mark Miner said the governor had been planning the event since December and was comfortable with the Tupelo, Miss.-based AFA as a host of the social conservative extravaganza. AFA is picking up the tab for the event, including the rental of Reliant Stadium in Houston, home to the NFL’s Houston Texans.
“This is an organization that promotes safe and strong families,” Miner said. “The governor looks forward to participating in this prayer service.” Perry invited all of the nation’s governors and various religious leaders to attend the Aug. 6 event. So far, Sam Brownback of Kansas, who ran unsuccessfully for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008, is the only governor who has confirmed he will attend. Miner said there would be more announcements about attendees forthcoming.
Former Perry speechwriter Eric Bearse is the chief spokesman for the event … [and] said neither Fischer’s writings nor any controversy surrounding the group were relevant to the event, whose mission is to get Americans to pray for God’s help at a time of overwhelming economic and social challenges. Bearse said people of all faiths are invited to attend.
But Wildmon, AFA’s president, stressed the Christian nature of the event and said people of other religions were “free to have their own events.” He insisted his group did not hate anyone, but he said that people who do not embrace Christianity were headed for eternal damnation.
“It’s not just Jews or Muslims,” Wildmon said. “It’s anybody that rejects the free gift of salvation through Christ. The Bible teaches there’s heaven and hell. Those who believe go to heaven. Those who don’t go to hell.”