Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s new ad, which claims President Obama is waging a war on religion, goes far beyond being yet another blunder for the Republican presidential candidate and something he may regret long after the campaign.
For a presidential candidate to promote this kind of social and religious division is truly beyond astonishing. The vast majority of people of faith in this country have grown very wary of politicians who attempt to pervert the Christian faith as a means to gain political favor.
Perry’s misuse of the Christian faith is one reason young Americans raised in Christian homes are exiting the church at an all time high. Kids can spot hypocrisy a mile away.
At first glance, Perry’s ad appears to place the focus on the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, which allows gay and lesbian people to serve openly in the military.
Don’t overlook the anti-gay language. It is obvious Gov. Perry doesn’t believe full human dignity should be afforded gay and lesbian people but that is not really the message behind this ad. Perry is hoping to gain favor with religious social conservatives by alleging President Obama stands against the Christian faith. Christian teaching contains a great number of guidelines on how Christians should treat others. I’ve yet to find a passage that would condone the type bigotry, prejudice and animosity that Gov. Perry is promoting with his ad.
The long-term consequence for Perry is that Americans will remember the ad not because Perry says he is not ashamed for being a Christian. Rather, they are going to remember how shameful it is for a Christian to run such an ad. Worse yet, they may consider what effect such behavior is having on the Christian church.
Perry may wish to revisit and prayerfully consider the following New Testament passages:
Mk. 9:50 “....Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”
Jn. 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
Jn. 15:12 “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
Rom. 12:10 Be devoted to one another with mutual affection. Honor one another above yourselves.
Rom. 14:13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another....
1 Cor. 1:10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.
Gal. 5:26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Eph. 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Jn. 13:14 “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should?wash one another’s feet.”
Faith in America is a N.C.-based nonprofit which works nationally to educate the public about the harm to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals, especially LGBT youth and their families, when a religious and moral stamp of disapproval is placed on their sexual orientation. Brent Childers, who himself once used religious teaching to justify bigotry toward the LGBT community, serves as executive director.