Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Gov Rick Perry's Prayer Event

As some of you have perhaps picked up, controversy surrounds Gov. Rick Perry's planned prayer gathering at Reliant Arena being hosted by the American Family Association. Here is a word from the CEO of Interfaith Ministries, which may give you some idea of the impact it is having in some circles. I thought it was well-stated and so share it with you.

I've been asked my opinion about Governor Perry's upcoming Prayer Event scheduled for Houston in August. If things were ever straight-forward I would be cheering. Prayer plays a powerful role for many of us. For me, prayer is a refuge where I seek God's wisdom and counsel - and to keep myself in balance. So prayer provides both a private retreat and a public display of shared belief.

There's no doubt that we are in need of prayerful wisdom. With all sorts of natural disasters and private failings of the high and mighty, it would be nice to have more people seeking to walk in Godly ways.

But I find it unsettling when prayer is used as a political ploy. There's no doubt that many will find this day uplifting and spiritually moving. But the flip-side of all of this is that prayer will be used to make some people feel welcomed while pushing out many others.

Perhaps if more of our elected leaders let their faiths guide their behaviors we'd have fewer scandals. But, when one's faith is used as a private club, then all the rest of us, believers and non-believers alike, are left out. It's never helpful to use religion as a wedge issue - just look all over the world.

Mr. Governor, I applaud your deep religious convictions. Let them guide you. Just please don't use them as a way build your base of Holy warriors.

Talk to you in two weeks.

Elliot Gershenson
President and CEO
Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston