Eric Bearse, the former Rick Perry spokesman who is now the official spokesperson for The Response prayer rally, wants to make clear that people of all faiths are welcome to tomorrow’s event. But Perry’s rally is organized by hard-line fundamentalists, and one rally organizer said the participation of non-Christians would be “idolatry of the worst sort.” Many people may not feel welcome based on the fact that the host organization, the American Family Association, wants all immigrants to convert to Christianity and believes non-Christians don’t have First Amendment rights, or because Response endorser C. Peter Wagner promotes the destruction of Catholic, Mormon and non-Christian religious objects and endorser John Hagee has a record of anti-Catholic remarks and once claimed that God sent Hitler to be a Hunter of Jews.
But Eric Bearse, spokesman for “The Response,” assures that non-Christians are welcome to attend the prayer event on Saturday — and if critics choose not to come, “they’re excluding themselves,” he says.
Indeed, Bearse thinks that “non-Christians are welcome to attend”…but only if they intend to convert to Christianity. Bearse told the AFA’s American Family Radio back in June that “the message” of The Response is to encourage non-Christians to “seek out the living Christ.”
Bearse: A lot of people want to criticize what we’re doing, as if we’re somehow being exclusive of other faiths. But anyone who comes to this solemn assembly regardless of their faith tradition or background, will feel the love, grace, and warmth of Jesus Christ in that assembly hall, in that arena. And that’s what we want to convey, that there’s acceptance and that there’s love and that there’s hope if people will seek out the living Christ. And that’s the message we want to spread on August 6th.