Watch out for Rick Perry!

Beware Prayer by Pious Politicians—Get Off Your Knees and Get to Work!This caricature of the prayerful then-Gov. Rick Perry was used in FFRF protests over his 2011 prayer rally.

Rick Perry, to be named secretary of energy in Donald Trump’s Alice in Wonderland cabinet, is another fanatically religious nominee who has tussled with the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

On behalf of hundreds of members in Texas, FFRF and five of our Houston members sued Perry as Texas governor in July 2011 over Perry’s initiation, organization, promotion and participation of a prayer event. Perry not only issued a proclamation that Aug. 6, 2011, was a “Day of Prayer and Fasting for our Nation’s Challenges,” but actually initiated the very call for the event. He videotaped an invitation posted at the official gubernatorial website asking citizens to turn to Jesus and ask for God’s forgiveness. Perry said, “There is hope for America. It lies in heaven, and we will find it on our knees.” FFRF’s response was to tell Perry: “Get off your knees and get to work!”

Nobody would have trouble seeing the inappropriateness if a governor aligned himself with a radical Muslim group and used his office to call all citizens to a daylong “Prayer to Allah” rally. But the judge dismissed our lawsuit, ruling (what’s new?) that the plaintiffs lacked standing. Perry did not, however, repeat the Texas prayer event.

There were other similar transgressions, though.

Perry as governor intruded into our complaint over cheerleaders at public high school games in the Texan city of Kountze. These cheerleaders had painted paper banners with New Testament bible verses for football players to run through at the start of games. Perry grandstanded in vocally siding with the cheerleaders

He also delivered a belligerent and ill-informed response to our request to a Dallas-area county to remove a nativity scene.

“We have fought the Freedom from Religion Foundation before and won,” Perry said through a spokesperson in a statement that completely misinterpreted the First Amendment. “Our founding principles give citizens freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. Faith and freedom helped build this nation, and faith cannot and should not be removed from public life.”

And he even issued a gubernatorial prayer proclamation for rain! It was to no avail; the state endured unprecedented wildfires after his decree.

In a very public display of his dogmatism, he signed with a flourish a bogus “Religious Freedoms” bill, announcing, “Religious freedom does not mean freedom from religion.”

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry speaking at the signing of a

How wrong Perry is, not just about the meaning of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, but also about energy issues. It’s so obvious that a climate change denier who opposes science education and the need for an Energy Department should not have been nominated to run that very department.

If he is confirmed, we can expect Perry to use his cabinet position to wreak havoc on the environment — and to unabashedly promote religion.

Watch out!

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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