Beliefnet News

Beliefnet News

Strong words fly between conservative, liberal Christians in pro- and anti-Rick Perry media

In his commentary “More Drooling Idiocy on Rick Perry’s Faith,” it’s not too difficult to figure out where political observer Leon H. Wolf stands.

“A fairly good indicator that Rick Perry will make a strong general election candidate is the desperation you can smell in the left’s opening salvo of attacks against him,” proclaims Wolf. “The early leader for the genre’s exemplar is this piece from the formerly proud the Atlantic (which has sadly been reduced to a gay gossip site and anti-Semitic conspiracy newsletter).”

Wolf writes for the right-of-center news website Red State. Texas Governor Perry made this weekend’s announcement of his presidential candidacy televised worldwide with him standing behind a Red State podium.


So, what Atlantic article is Wolf upset about?  He explains:

“The author, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, first attempts lamely to argue that Rick Perry’s private prayer session from last Sunday was unconstitutional because it was Christian, a contention so stupid that even Doug Mataconis would not make it. However, Townsend’s heart is not really in that contention, so Townsend moves on quickly to her second (and contradictory) point: that Rick Perry is not really a Christian at all.

Here’s what Townsend wrote:

The press has traditionally been unwilling to question politicians about their religion. But in Perry’s case, Christianity is front and center on his platform. I hope David Gregory will ask him some of the following questions when he next appears on “Meet the Press,” and that other members of the media won’t shy away from them either.


I see a fundamental inconsistency between Perry’s concerted opposition to government social programs and his promotion of himself as a Christian politician. When asked about the impact of Texas’s low-tax, low-service policies on the poor, he suggested that people who wanted more government services could find them in New York or California.

Christ teaches us to feed the hungry and care for the sick, not to abandon them. Perhaps Gov. Perry hasn’t read that part of the Bible where Christ admonishes us to care for “the least among us.”

Wolfe rebuts:

Townsend’s contention that “Christianity is front and center on his platform” is completely unsupported by any evidence other than the fact that Perry led a prayer in which Christ was mentioned. In this respect he is completely indistinguishable from literally every single President who has ever served in the history of the nation, including Obama, Clinton, and Carter. There’s certainly nothing unusual or unprecedented about Rick Perry’s willingness to pray in public such that his faith is subject to more criticism than would normally be appropriate, but that is ultimately beside the point. Townsend’s criticism shows that she has no understanding whatsoever of what Christianity requires of the Christian, and her criticism is completely without merit. As you might have guessed, Townsend’s contention is that Perry is not Christian because he is not very socialist.


Townsend is correct that Christ did indeed admonish Christians to feed the hungry and care for the sick. In fact, that is one of the central responsibilities of Christians. The entire point of this admonition, if one reads further into the passage, is that in so doing, the Christian reflects the heart of Christ by selflessly giving of him or herself to others. Supporting government services to the poor, however, reflects something a little different: a complete unwillingness to sacrifice one’s own money for the poor, in favor of having the government take it from other people (read, the “rich”) and give it to the poor. It takes a cynical heart completely unfamiliar with the teachings of Christ to suggest that God would be pleased with a no-cost vote for confiscatory taxes on other people to pay for the poor.

If this is the opening salvo, this campaign should be very interesting, indeed.

CLICK HERE to read more

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Allan

    When JFK was running for president, certain Protestant leaders demanded that he promise not to go to confesssion while he was in the
    White House. No one paid much attention to them and no one should pay any attention to these critics of Rick Perry now.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment bluebuss

    the point which is always lost on the right, you can not pick and choose which passage from the Bible to live by. when i see laws directly affecting the poor, weak, and elderly and the intense burdens levied on them by these laws, i find it cold hearted and disgusting. yet, the same politicians proclaim loudly to be Christians. the parable about a rich man, and a camel fitting through a needles eye comes to mind. yet, the rich are being protected each and every day, by the republicans. and attacking “entitlements” and those in need. to me, it is like they read the Bible, and do the opposite.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Richard Johnson

    “Supporting government services to the poor, however, reflects something a little different: a complete unwillingness to sacrifice one’s own money for the poor, in favor of having the government take it from other people (read, the “rich”) and give it to the poor.”

    But, if God has given such wealth to our nation, and we have chosen to covet the money instead of use this blessing, is it not God’s right to influence our national leaders to take from us what we are unwilling to give?

    The alternative is to allow the poor to suffer and die. Surely God, in his merciful love, would not permit that.

    As we see the wealthy choose to build monuments to their wealth, whether it be grand corporations, McMansions, or huge cathedrals, why is it unreasonable to expect that God would use government to meet the needs of the poor? It’s not the first time that God has used government to execute his will when his people were unwilling to do what was required.

    “It takes a cynical heart completely unfamiliar with the teachings of Christ to suggest that God would be pleased with a no-cost vote for confiscatory taxes on other people to pay for the poor.”

    And I would suggest it takes an ununbelieving heart to think that God would stand still and permit the wealthy to accumulate wealth while the poor suffered. Certainly, if the wealthy were as generous as those in the early church (read the first five chapters of Acts for examples), then there would be no need for God to use the government to do what the church isn’t doing.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment dena

    Right on, Richard! My heart sunk when I read the comment about God’s wishes – certainly we do not know His wishes, except through the life and words of Jesus, who was poor himself, due to the governmental exploitation of his people by the greedy violent Roman Imperial Empire. I do not know who Rick Perry is, but he sounds like just another Roman god idol worshiper dressed in “Christian” clothing, and true Christians MUST pray he will NOT prevail.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Don

    Contrary to Mr. Wolf’s assertion, which has no Scriptural basis whatsoever, Christ is NOT concerned with the mechanics of how we care for the poor, but only for the result–that we DO IT. The sad reality is that the majority of anti-tax people would never consider voluntarily contributing the sums that the government collects for this purpose, nor would they give without discrimination. They just want somebody else to pay and they want to deny help to those that they deem unworthy. Constantly referring to the desire to care for the poor universally as “socialism” proves two things about the writer: he is ignorant of what socialism really is, and he is unable to mount any sensible argument for his position, so he simply resorts to name-calling, the same tactic used by 5 year-olds on the playground.

  • http://PoorPeople pk

    I have no problem helping poor people, but in America, poor people have their nails done and more spent on hair than I will ever hope to pay. I do not support murdering babies so I do have to weigh in on that. I know liberals talk a good game about caring for the poor but statistics bear out that conservatives are better at donating time and money. Let the name calling and denigrating begin all you liberals who cannot stand an alternative viewpoint. That is what you do yet you call us cold-hearted. Get over yourselves.

Previous Posts

Former Muslim Wants to See Change   Author and former Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali spoke at the National Press Club on April 7th and said there needs to be five amendments to Islam. She said “individuals” within Islam today ...

posted 9:08:12am Apr. 10, 2015 | read full post »

Hispanics turning evangelical, Jews secular
Worship service attendance is up in New York City, but down among young adult Jews, according to recent studies. On the other hand, fewer Spanish-speaking teens are attending Catholic mass, but more are showing up at Evangelical ...

posted 3:10:30pm Nov. 05, 2013 | read full post »

Billy Graham: I know where I'm going
“Daddy thinks the Lord will allow him to live to 95,” said Franklin Graham recently. It was not a prophecy but a hope, Franklin explained, ...

posted 10:02:01am Oct. 24, 2013 | read full post »

Are All These Christians' Complaints of Persecution Just So Much Empty Whining?
The headlines are alarming: “Catholic-Owned Company Wins Religious Freedom Court Decision,” “Death Toll Rises to 65 in Boko Haram Attack on Students,” “Little Sisters Catholic Charity Victimized By Obamacare,” “Christians Sought ...

posted 2:41:26am Oct. 07, 2013 | read full post »

How can Christians defend themselves against today's random violence?
So, a crazed gunman opens fire and you’re caught in the middle. How can you survive? Heroes come in all sorts of packages. And they wield all sorts of defensive weapons. Such as guns and Jesus. Sometimes both at the same time. [caption ...

posted 2:53:48pm Sep. 27, 2013 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.