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Religious Right Watch

Tell Gov. Perry:
Stop Using Faith as a Political Weapon

Dear Gov. Perry UPDATE: This petition is now closed. As of Aug. 8, 2011, almost 11,000 people had signed on to the letter.

| Read the related press release | View the list of signers (PDF) |

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry has a long history of using faith as a political weapon to divide voters. But his decision to host a Christians-only prayer event in Houston on August 6 with a vicious hate group is beyond appalling.

The governor and his staff claim that the Houston event is meant to bring the nation together in prayer. But the event is designed to promote a conservative evangelical Christianity (a perspective certainly not shared by all Christians) and the governor has asked the American Family Association to organize it. The Southern Poverty Law Center has identified the AFA as a hate group on par with Fred "God Hates Fags" Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church, the Ku Klux Klan and Aryan Nations. Instead of uniting people of faith in prayer for our nation, this event will actually sharpen divisions among Americans along religious and political lines. (Read more about the American Family Association here.)

So it's time for Texans, regardless of faith and political perspective, to stand up for decency, respect and tolerance. Sign on to an open letter that calls on Gov. Perry "to make this gathering open to speakers and attendees of all faiths and welcoming of people of good will who are not affiliated with a faith tradition." Moreover, the letter calls on the governor "to demonstrate your commitment to religious tolerance by ending the association between your office and the American Family Association."

Dear Gov. Perry:

I am deeply troubled that you are using your office as governor of the state of Texas to promote an event this summer that, instead of uniting people of faith in prayer for our nation, will actually sharpen divisions among Americans along religious and political lines. In particular, partnering with the American Family Association (AFA) to organize "The Response: A Call to Prayer for a Nation in Crisis" is insulting to many in this state. That organization’s history of intolerant rhetoric and divisive political positions is so extreme that the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified the AFA as a hate group.

I believe it is wrong for the Governor's Office to pick and choose which faiths will be favored at a public event. Therefore, I call on you to make this gathering open to speakers and attendees of all faiths, as well as welcoming to people of good will who are not affiliated with a faith tradition.

Moreover, I call on you to demonstrate your commitment to religious tolerance by ending the association between your office and the American Family Association.

The Office of Governor should represent ALL Texans and promote a culture of mutual respect for all of our state's diverse religious traditions.