Governor Rick Perry’s Speech at “The Response”

Perhaps you heard the news about a giant prayer gathering in Houston, Texas yesterday called “The Response.” About 25,000 people gathered to pray and to hear messages from a variety of different speakers. One of the speakers was Texas Governor Rick Perry, who is expected to announce his candidacy for U.S. President by the end of the month.

Because of Perry’s expected announcement, there has been a lot of media hype leading up to this event. Some have been quite pleased that Perry would be participating. But others have been apoplectic that a candidate for president would so blatantly kick down the wall of separation between church and state.

I did not see any of the event except for Perry’s speech. So I cannot speak about who else was on the platform or what they said. But what I heard from Perry was pretty remarkable. I think I can say that I have never heard this kind of talk from someone considered to be a serious contender for the presidency. His remarks were not partisan. In fact, they were not even political. His whole speech was about thirteen minutes long, and it had three parts: introduction, scripture, prayer.

In part one, he offered some general remarks about God’s purposes being not primarily political but salvific. Here’s a sampling of what Perry said:

Like all of you, I love this country… Indeed the only thing that you love more is the living Christ…

He didn’t leave us to live a life in our sins. But paid the price for them. He who knew no sin, He gave His life in ransom for many…

His agenda is not a political agenda. His agenda is a salvation agenda…

He is a wise, wise God. And He is wise enough to not be affiliated with any political party.

In part two, Governor Perry read at length from three passages of scripture: Joel 2:12-17, Isaiah 40:28-31, and Ephesians 3:14-21. It was here that one got a sense of Perry’s understanding of the purpose of the gathering. It sounded like Perry understood the purpose of the event in terms of Joel 2:12-17, which calls for a sacred assembly of all the people to repent. Perry quoted from the text at length:

15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly. 16 Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber. 17 Let the priests, who minister before the LORD, weep between the temple porch and the altar. Let them say, “Spare your people, O LORD. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’ ”

In part three, Governor Perry prayed. He included a stark confession on behalf of the country, “as a nation, we have forgotten who made us, who protects us, who blesses us. And for that we cry out for your forgiveness.” He interceded for the nation’s leaders, including “our president.” He prayed in particular for the Lord to give President Obama wisdom and to protect his family. Near the end, he said: “You call us to repent, Lord, and this day is our response.”

Watch the rest of it above.

13 Responses to Governor Rick Perry’s Speech at “The Response”

  1. Joshua August 7, 2011 at 3:48 pm #

    It is very refreshing in light of GW Bush’s pluralistic “all roads” beliefs. Unfortunately, I was left with a sour taste after learning that the man whom Perry brought with him on stage and talked so highly of, C. L. Jackson, appears to be outside of orthodoxy calling Glenn Beck, a Mormon, a “servant of God, son of God” at a 2010 event in D.C.

    Jackson’s remarks begin at 1:12 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7PrzjMLE7g

    Perry has done well to sound and promote orthodoxy, but his personal and spiritual involvement with C.L. Jackson is troubling to those of us who are concerned with truth. When a pastor of over 40 years calls an unrepentant Mormon a “servant of God, son of God,” alarms do go off. Let’s hope Perry distances himself from such people. However, understanding the political nature of the Perry-Jackson relationship, I doubt a distancing will occur. This will be the true litmus test of Perry’s devotion to truth and orthodoxy.

    • Scott August 7, 2011 at 7:40 pm #

      Maybe it’s a litmus test of his personal Christian beliefs, but it in no way should be a determinative factor in assessing his fitness in office.

  2. yankeegospelgirl August 7, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

    “His agenda is not a political agenda. His agenda is a salvation agenda.”

    Meh. Cliched and weak. Doesn’t he realize that’s exactly the line “Christian” liberals like to spout, as a prelude to harassing conservative Christians for “politicizing the gospel” by daring to take a strong stand on moral issues?

    But I’m sure his heart is in the right place…

  3. Matthew August 7, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

    Very uplifting. Very inspiring. Very powerful. Very sincere. Rick Perry will renew America. Plus, look at his jobs record. More new jobs in Texas than all other states combined, under Perry.

  4. Christianes August 8, 2011 at 11:30 am #

    Maybe rallies like this will put to rest any dreadful rumors that have made it into the press.
    My guess is that he needs to secure the Christian right solidly in his corner, and either he thought or he was advised to do something like this to accomplish that goal.
    But that is looking at it from the point of view of examining political motives . . . I must leave it to theologians to determine the wisdom of his need to ‘distance’ himself from certain individuals associated with this rally. My guess is that he had no clue about the ‘shock value’ that some of these individuals would have on the general public when their names were announced as associated with ‘the Response’. Oh dear. In any case, Perry might want to upgrade his advisers quickly before any major announcements regarding seeking candidacy for ‘higher’ office. Just some thoughts.

  5. LD August 8, 2011 at 12:05 pm #

    He’s an interesting candidate, although I’m not crazy about his attitude about attempting to force the Gardasil vaccine on all teenage girls of the state of Texas. That one action he took put a very negative shadow on him politically.

    • rudy August 8, 2011 at 11:52 pm #

      He quickly backed off of that, if you are a leader of anything for a long period of time, you are going to have dirt, and that is refreshing, in my opinion. People make mistakes, we elected Obama a real unknown with no real mistakes in his past and look where that got us. I know Rick Perry and his family (at least his son), they are genuine, real down to earth, something foreign if you are a politician. I think he can be a candidate that we can rally around, as Americans.

  6. Michael August 8, 2011 at 2:49 pm #

    Great speech. BUT it does irk me that he probably used this event to garner support, attention, and buzz for a 2012 presidential bid. While the Response may have been advertised as apolitical, Perry will have accomplished his goal to advance his political agenda by publicizing his religious beliefs in a large spectacle.

    • yankeegospelgirl August 8, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

      That’s probably what a lot of people are thinking. Again, I’m sure his heart is in the right place, but if the SOLE purpose was to pray over our nation in a time of great need, did he not convene a gathering like this last year, or the year before?

  7. pam August 9, 2011 at 7:12 am #

    Just because someone says they are a Christian, you might want to check out what they believe before you get on board with them.
    Since the comments here reveal that most are not aware of his alignments, I will direct you to the Herescope blog and read the information there in their most recent articles. If you are not aware of the New Apostolic Reformation, or Joel’s Army or who arranged “The Response” and who and what “The Call” was and who Lou Engle is then you might want to take a few minutes to read, at least Part 3 of their articles called The Baal Covenant. Pretty intersting. Their is also an article on Dominionism over at the discernment-ministries.org website.
    Just so you know.

  8. Alan Noble August 9, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    I’m highly skeptical of Perry and his use of Christianity and prayer. One of our writers wrote a thoughtful and charitable piece on him and the “Response,­” although even he admits he is not sure he could vote for him: http://www­.christand­popculture­.com/featu­red/rick-p­erry-the-r­esponse-of­-a-confide­nt-man/

  9. Nick August 9, 2011 at 8:33 pm #

    While his speech may not have been political in content, the timing appears to be. He’s getting ready to announce his candidacy for President. I think a certain degree of skepticism is warranted when policiticians organize “prayer rally’s” that cater to the beliefs of one of the largest and most influential voting blocs in America, “values voters”, right before they launch election campaigns.

    I’m hopeful that he is sincere, but like the whole Miss U.S.A debacle, I think Christians should proceed with caution before championing this candidate as a great representative of the Christian Faith.

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