The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s AFA-sponsored Prayer Rally Nears – In All Its Unholy Glory

By Ryan Lenz on August 5, 2011 - 11:54 am, Posted in Anti-LGBT

After weeks of weathering criticism for associating with some of the most hateful anti-gay voices in America, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is postured for his national day of prayer and fasting tomorrow just as he was when he announced it – defiantly arm-in-arm with the vanguard of the anti-gay right.

Billed as “The Response: a call to prayer for a nation in crisis,” the Christian prayer rally has been attacked for its close association with the American Family Association (AFA), the Tupelo, Miss.-based group whose work involves “combating the homosexual agenda” through the promotion of “traditional moral values.” The AFA agreed to front the bill for the rally, which has since drawn widespread support from the anti-gay right. The religious figures sponsoring the rally include:

• Mike Bickle, Luis and Jill Cataldo, Randy and Kelsey Bohlender, of the International House of Prayer Missions (IHOP) based in Kansas City, Mo. The church lists as a senior leader Lou Engle, who has compared same-sex marriage to the “legalizing of evil.”

David Barton, who has railed against allowing gay men and lesbians into the military. He once wrote of the ban on gays in the military, “The Founders instituted this ban with a clear understanding of the damaging effects of this behavior.”

• And who can forget Cindy Jacobs, the Generals International pastor who claims that catastrophic natural phenomena are the product of God’s anger over the acceptance of homosexuality.

Perhaps the most notable figure linked to The Response is Bryan Fischer, the AFA’s director of issues analysis. Fischer has claimed, for instance, that “[h]omosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews.” He also has proposed criminalizing homosexual behavior and forcing gay men and lesbians into “reparative therapy” programs.

It’s anyone’s guess how large the rally will be, though recent reports have said only 6,000-8,000 people have registered for the event – a fraction of the tens of thousands once expected to fill the 72,000-seat Reliant Stadium in Houston. Last week, in fact, it looked as if Perry were trying to distance himself from what has  become a lightning rod for criticism of the governor.

“Don’t get confused; this isn’t about me,” Perry said. “It’s not about the people on the stage, either. This is truly about coming together as a state and lifting up this nation in prayer and having a day of prayer and fasting.”

For many, however, it seems more about Perry and his political ambitions.

  • George Worley

    IMHO: Rick Perry is mixing State and Church. I wish I knew how to get this to him:

    Thomas Jefferson wrote to Danbury Baptist Association in
    1802, “legislature should ‘make no law respecting an
    establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise
    thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church
    & State.”

  • Sam Molloy

    @Shadow Wolf, That’s not a bad idea. The native Americans couldn’t do much worse than the clowns that think they are our overlords are doing now. They can take the debt they’ve run up with them, too.

  • kim

    Not much difference between Taliban, muslims & this lot !! Religious extremism is upsurging because the people in charge are no marks & nonentitys !!

  • Kell Anne Busey

    Dallas Transgender Advocates and Allies will “Protest Gov. Rick Perry’s Inappropriate and Hateful Prayer Rally” at Dallas City Hall between 10am and 5pm

    A word of thanks to the SPLC. You are the foundation of information we built our house of equality with. Nearly every article written about Rick Perry’s Church and State day of AFA hate used your organization work as validation.
    Thank you for all you do,

    Kelli Anne Busey
    Founder, Dallas Transgender Advocates and Allies

  • skinnyminny

    If I’m not mistaken, Hagee was banned from the U.K. just recently, I believe the people were calling him a ‘hate preacher.’

    I can’t believe people are not waking up to what is happening here. These so-called godly groups are complaining about Sharia Law, complaining about Muslim Imams, Catholicism, Judaism…yet, all of them are trying to turn this country into a theocratic country. I thought this was the ‘land of the free and land of the brave!’ I can’t believe people are see the truth, these type church groups are no better than the Imams/clerics they complain about – it is these groups that are saying that gays must be killed, it is these groups who are praising Anders Breivik and/or saying he was right in what he did (on the other hand they criticize suicide bombers), they complain about the Muslims who have more than one wife, or a young bride, but there was no outrage about the LDS group, or some of the other so-called christian groups that are involved in porn, hiring of prostitutes. Interesting they ridicule people in the Middle East saying they live in ‘huts,’ yet, ignore the people here in the U.S. sleeping in their cars, on the streets, tent cities, motels, homeless shelters…all the while they living the American Dream. I wonder how much Hagee paid for his suit (clothing)? Just wondering, because I’ve seen people in my neighborhood buying clothing at thrift shops and yard sales.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    The nation is in crisis? Definitely. The crisis is caused by homosexuals? These guys must be high. I’d imagine as the REAL crisis worsens, these people are going to become more and more desperate, because nothing cures homophobia than the realization that there are FAR more important issues in the world than who someone sleeps with.

  • Reynardine

    Strange, how for them, “evil” is always about sex… other people’s sex.

  • Shadow Wolf

    Aside from all that anti-Gay and anti-Muslim rhetoric. It was also noted that Fischer once penned a rabid article(which was later taken down but the screen shots were saved by some Native source), in it he warrned the American people:

    “that President Obama wants to give the entire land mass of the United States back to the Native Americans. He wants Indian tribes to be our new overlords”


    “as an adopted member of the Crow tribe”

    This, after President Obama became the first and only sitting U.S. President to sign onto the document: “The Declaration of Indigenous Rights” after other first class civilized countries signed the doc including England, Australia, Canada etc.

  • Terrie

    Fisher is not just anti-gay. This is the guy who claimed that Native American nations deserved to lose their land and have their culture suppressed because they weren’t Christians.