There is evil prowling in the world -- it shows up in our movies, video games and online fascinations, and finds its way into vulnerable hearts and minds. As a free people, let us choose what kind of people we will be. Laws, the only redoubt of secularism, will not suffice. Let us all return to our places of worship and pray for help.
The above quote, which was in response to gun control measures, was delivered a couple of weeks ago by none other than Rick Perry, the longest-serving governor in the history of my home state of Texas.
Of course you probably remember Perry from his recent presidential run in which he dazzled the nation by referring to Social Security as a Ponzi scheme, claiming that the voting age was 21 and uh... hmmm... I forget what the third thing was.
Perry's presidential bid was indeed fine fodder for a while -- in fact, sometimes when I need cheering up, I re-watch the commercial he released advocating against gays serving in the military while wearing a jacket oddly similar to that donned by Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain -- but after the smoke cleared and the media moved on, it was easy to forget that Rick Perry resumed the highest office in the second most populated state in the union.
Oh, but he did.
Admittedly, it was outrageous for Perry, in a single statement, to turn his back on the First Amendment -- using his government position to advocate for a political problem to be solved via prayer -- while, at the same time, trumpeting the Second Amendment.
But sadly, calling on prayer is hardly a new political strategy for Perry. In April of 2011, as wildfires devastated Central Texas, he issued a proclamation calling on Texas residents to appeal to God for rain. Of course, he didn't call on himself to start acknowledging the real dangers of climate change, which have been directly linked to increasing wildfire occurrences.
Earlier that same year, Perry gathered along with 30,000 evangelical Christians in an effort to urge the nation to turn to God for answers to the country's political troubles. The prayer rally was organized and financed by the American Family Association, an anti-gay organization.
And at the Republican National Convention last June, Perry said, "The God we serve does not seek out the perfect, but instead uses our imperfections and our shortcomings for his greater good. I am humbled by my own limitations. But where I am weak, He is strong."
Since Rick Perry has taken office, he has neglected to adequately fund education, turned his back on women's rights, and actually sued the E.P.A. over its decision to regulate greenhouse gases as a pollutant.
Now, if Perry's claim is correct, and God is strong where he is weak, unfortunately, I feel like I'm left with no other choice...
So, Rick Perry's Interpretation Of God, I'd really appreciate it if you could help Texas out in a few areas in which the governor has proven himself to be considerably weak.
It would be awfully nice if you could make up for the $5.4 billion Texas lawmakers saw fit to slash from the education budget. You see, it doesn't do the state much good to create jobs if there are measured steps being taken to ensure that it is producing students who are -- and this is a topic that Perry is actually very familiar with -- woefully unqualified for those jobs. Some districts can't even afford to bus kids to and from school anymore.
And while you're at it, maybe you could have the courtesy to take yourself out of Texas' science textbooks.
Also, it would be nice if you help out the 1.3 million people who live under the poverty level and won't get medical coverage under the new health care law because Governor Perry has rejected health care exchanges and Medicaid expansion. Also, could you ensure that those less fortunate don't have to experience the indignity of peeing in a cup in order to collect welfare? I don't think this should be a problem, as you yourself said in Proverbs 14:31, "He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God."
Rick Perry's Interpretation Of God, there are a lot of women in Texas who could use your help. On January 1, Texas decided to exclude Planned Parenthood as a women's health provider, and with it, the $200 million-plus that Medicare gave to the state to care for lower-income women. None of the Planned Parenthood clinics that were previously receiving federal funding even offered abortions, so it's unlikely than even you, Rick Perry's Interpretation Of God, could find any sensible reason to de-fund them. I mean, didn't you say in Proverbs 29:7 that "The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern"?
Then of course there's Perry's bad habit of awarding publicly funded contracts to his friends/political donors, but comparatively, that doesn't even seem like a high-priority problem.
Although things are looking bleak, recent polls have revealed that Perry would lose to a Democratic challenger (former Houston mayor Bill White) if he ran for re-election and that there's a possibility that the state might turn blue in 2016.
So I have to ask, Rick Perry's Interpretation Of God -- is this your work, or his?
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