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Less than 0.5% of Houston Show Up For Rick Perry’s Rally

Jim Burroway

August 6th, 2011

Houston’s Reliant Stadium hold 71,000 people, but according to officials with Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s “The Response” prayer rally, about 30,000 people showed up. That should mean that the stadium would be half full. Doesn’t look like it to me. Failure #1.

Perry also sent invitations to every governor in the nation to attend his rally. The only one to show up was Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback. Gov. Rick Scott of Florida made a video that was played in the stadium. Only two others out of at least forty-nine — that’s failure #2.

The American Family Association’s Tim Wildmon addressed criticisms of the wholesale obliteration of the lines between church and state as represented by a religious revival organized by a political executive by saying “no political candidates will be speaking.” Candidate, perhaps not — although please, does anyone not believe Perry is running for president — but the criticism stems from two current, elected governors speaking from the stage with another one phoning it in. These aren’t just candidates. They are current office-holders sworn to uphold the Constitution. Failure #3.

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Jamie O\'Neill
August 6th, 2011 | LINK

I’ve had it on for a good few hours now. I was waiting for really blatant anti-gay stuff, but haven’t come across anything too weird by American standards. (It would be very weird if I were Jewish or Israeli.) Actually, if you’re a gay man, it’s quite a treat. Most pop concert videoing when they pan the audience concentrates on female members. This Christian stuff lingers wholesomely on the male. It’s eye-candy galore. It might be pissing off the lesbians though, so they might want to work on that.

Ben In Oakland
August 6th, 2011 | LINK

Maybe i’m reading too much into it. The religious right has been very overt for quite a while, but even the Shrub wasn’t THIS overtly into it.

Could it happen that they inject so much religion into these next ele ctions that they turn off the people they should be trying to reach– religious people with values, but who don’t like religion being , as they are so fond of saying, shoved down people’s throats.

Kinda like the NOMnuts. Get so stridently gay that it starts turning off people who are sitting on the fence.

Soren456
August 6th, 2011 | LINK

@Ben in Oakland:

Yes, the shrill injection of religion into politics and thence into government disgusts millions and millions of American citizens.

But, I have never known it move those people actually to vote. And rejection of these crusading pinheads is all (and only) about who goes out to vote.

Our just-past November elections are a dark example: look at the fools elected then, and their consequent behavior in office. Who they were and what they would do was obvious to everyone, yet sensible voters stayed home.

Perhaps outrage may send good sense and good citizenship to the fore in a pinch, but I think it has failed too often recently, and historically, to depend on it.

Hue-Man
August 6th, 2011 | LINK

Given that we all recently survived the End of World bunch, what miracles are predicted to result from this mostly empty stadium show? Out of sheer hopeless they’ve turned over all restorative actions to an invisible all-powerful spirit. These people have “invested” a summer Saturday in this exercise – I would expect to see tangible actions from their deity (other than exchanges of contact information and subsequent hook-ups).

Stefano A
August 6th, 2011 | LINK

The only one to show up was Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback. Gov. Rick Scott of Florida made a video that was played in the stadium. Only two others out of at least forty-nine — that’s failure #2.

It’s worth noting that Alaska’s governor, Sean Perry, made a proclamation declaring the day in Alaska a day asking for intercessionary prayer.

The proclamation specifically cites Perry, which is why this is noteworthy.

Stefano A
August 6th, 2011 | LINK

Whoops!

That sould be “Alaska’s governor Sean Parnell . . .”

Ed M
August 6th, 2011 | LINK

The “Response” sounded like a hate fest disguised as a Jesus fest. It’s enough to make one ill. I fear for America if this garbage spreads.

SteC
August 6th, 2011 | LINK

Is it just me, or does picture remind anyone else of people attending a Nazi rally? I can just imagine them all shouting “Heil!”

Qwerty
August 6th, 2011 | LINK

Jesus’ own words (well supposedly):

Matthew 6:5-6: “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men….when thou prayest, enter into thy closet and when thou has shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret….”

Perhaps Gov Perry missed that part…

T.J.
August 6th, 2011 | LINK

You know, I don’t feel the least bit upset about this. I used to be a fervent member of the religious right in my repressive years. I remember back in 1997 Promise Keepers called for a revival meeting in Washington, D.C. and it is estimated that over a million men (just men) attended that rally and prayed for revival in America (conservative, evangelical revival, that is). I was there and it was literally unfathomable the number of people who attended. You couldn’t see the end of the crowd in any direction. People were pumped up and several members of Congress even spoke. The religious right was at the peak of its power back then. Since then, obviously, I’ve come out and I’ve watched the religious right from a new perspective. The thing that strikes me about this conference is that it received far more media than the Promise Keepers event ever did, despite how massive it was in ’97. I remember the conservatives at the time complaining that the “liberal” media was ignoring them and failing to note such a large gathering of evangelical men to pray for America, which they were right about to some extent. This conference today, however, got nationwide attention and all they could muster was 30,000 people? I think the religious right has run out of steam and a lot of them have grown apathetic to the political posturing. I think, truly, George W. Bush did them in. I remember working so hard to elect a Christian president and the hopes of so many in the religious right were on G.W. Bush to “restore righteousness” in this country and all he did was disappoint the hopes of many conservatives and I think let the air out of the bag. Religious conservatives are fed up with the Republicans letting them down. While most of them won’t admit it and still believe they should vote their conscience on the issues, many of them have resigned themselves to the fact that the culture wars are drawing to an end and they have resoundly been defeated. They know in their gut that their last bastion of hope to gain political power was through the battle over homosexuality. With all groups of people slowly growing more tolerant and affirming, many of the moderate evangelicals are beginning to change their tune and can see that they are going to soon be the lone voices against gay rights and all those mega churches cannot afford to be seen in a culture-negative light. They thrive off work with youth and history reveals that churches who lose the youth go under eventually or die off. They are not going to risk alienating an entire generation and so will grow more tolerant. The growing aversion to this crap is seen in the poor attendance.

jpeckjr
August 7th, 2011 | LINK

TJ, I think you have made some very astute observations. I, too, think the very poor attendance at this event suggests some change is happening in evangelical circles around political involvement. I agree it has roots in the presidency of GWB and his failure to implement the “evangelical agenda.” I wonder if the McCain – Palin debacle, with all of the “moral” issues their personal lives raised for pro-family evangelicals, contributed to a growing disillusionment with politcal religion.

One other aspect of “The Response” is telling: it was fed to 1,100 churches around the country. The Southern Baptist Convention has over 40,000 churches, the Assemblies of God has over 12,000. Yet, out of 300 – 400,000 local churches of all brands in the USA, only 1,100 hosted local feeds of this event. That’s not very many. I wonder how attendance was at the remote locations. It all suggests the AFA is not as influential as it is loud.

Jonathan Oz
August 7th, 2011 | LINK

I think we do a disservice when we underestimate the appeal of the evangelical movement, and attempt to explain it away as simply brainwashing. Many folk find the prospect of organizing and making sense of their lives in a world where so many potential choices exist daunting. They lead rudderless lives buffeted by economic and political forces they neither understand nor control. For such folk, groups like the Promise Keepers seem to offer a very desirable fixed point of reference to serve as a working model of how to live an honorable life. We need to understand this dynamic, and to develop means for people to deal with life choices more effectively without having to diminish the life choices of other or alternatively giving up on decisions altogether and drifting meaninglessly at the whim of unsavory market forces. Simply dismissing these groups as neo-Nazis misses and underestimates their appeal, and ignores the need to explore alternative approaches.

elaygee
August 7th, 2011 | LINK

Ironic how Sam Brownback and his alter ego, Sam Brownshirt, are getting closer and closer to being one. What a lovely Nuremberg rally they had.

Jay King of Gay
August 7th, 2011 | LINK

What’s with the feel-good “Heil Hitler” salute?
Not that I’m calling those folks Nazis, I’m sure they’re perfectly friendly. But you’d think groups that regularly DO get compared to Nazis would want to find a different hand gesture.

Mary in Austin
August 7th, 2011 | LINK

Please be ready, all y’all people in the states smarter than my own Texas (which is of course most of them).
This assclown will probably be running for president. Even if you share my disappointment with the incumbent, the prospect of this Bu$h-on-steroids does not bear thinking about. Perry is a hateful crook. We have to get out the vote of people of good will next year.

Wharton Sinkler
August 7th, 2011 | LINK

Those out-stretched arms remind me of the Fascist salutes….

Regan DuCasse
August 7th, 2011 | LINK

We are in times of serious economic downturns. Older Americans have been laid off with little hope of regaining their salary levels that sustained them, or perhaps the health insurance more vital to them in middle age.

It’s true that banks, large industries and the in sourcing of foreign competition have badly influenced our economy and foreign policy, but ultra conservatives, and the religious right make no bones about blaming feminists, homosexuals and liberals on the crisis in our nation and conjecture over and over again, worse is yet to come if the same were seen as more than abstractions.

It’s during times of economic and political helplessness that the virus of scapegoating can spread like wildfire. You might think that the more moderate and fair minded might ignore the rhetoric and concentrate on more pressing matters in their individual lives, but even the most compassionate person might rethink that if plausible blame is put before them.

And as the anti gay keep reiterating: 31 states have voted to keep gay people from marrying. The death of DADT has moved at a snail’s pace.
And yet, how easily these same populations won’t see that gay people ARE dealing with the same economic insecurity, but have less personal freedom to deal with it.

There might never be concentration camps, or wholesale slaughter again.
But the dynamics of blame and punishing who is perceived as the cause can still stir up hostility and distrust that is still very dangerous.
These times are scary, and decent and thoughtful people either will either do nothing to help or support their gay fellow citizens, if not work actively against them.
And even when good people do nothing, as we know. That’s still a bad thing.

No shows to this rally doesn’t mean that his agenda can’t bleed enough into everything that it won’t set back what progress has been made. The Perry’s and Buchanans and so on of this country are very persistent people. And the harder it gets for them, the nastier their tactics will become.

Stefano A
August 7th, 2011 | LINK

No shows to this rally doesn’t mean that his agenda can’t bleed enough into everything that it won’t set back what progress has been made.

Indeed, if for no other reason, their might have been more in attendance if it weren’t for long distances needing to be travelled coupled with admission pricing.

I’ve been saying since the late 1990’s that the far religious right in the US poses a far greater threat to US freedoms than does Islamic extremist militancy. The rise of Christian Dominionism is but a mirror reflection of how the Taliban merged into government minus the radical violent overthrows.

TwirlyGirly
August 7th, 2011 | LINK

Rick Perry is *dangerous*. Read this: http://www.texasobserver.org/cover-story/rick-perrys-army-of-god

Qwerty
August 7th, 2011 | LINK

Well, I’m sure the prayer rally sponsors have set up some sort of criteria to measure their success or lack thereof. Right? Isn’t that the normal thing to do? I mean, wouldn’t you want to know if your prayers were answered?

I can give you the answer: the same as any other prayers. Cheesus, why are you allowing these frauds to do this? Oh, because you don’t exist maybe?

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