Politicians should stay out of our religions and keep religion out of our government on all levels. Separation of church from state is a vital part of what makes our pluralistic democracy vibrant. Sadly, the manipulation of religion for political gain has become ever more commonplace in our age.
A governor is elected to be a state's executive. Prayer recitation is not a part of the expected skill set that a governor needs so as to manage his state. And even if you impute sincerity to the governor, and say that he is not a crass manipulator of religion for political gain, we are in real trouble if Perry is so out of ideas and so bereft of skills that he resorts to prayer as a primary tool in his efforts to govern effectively.
The Times reports:
Texas Governor Draws Criticism on Prayer Event
By MANNY FERNANDEZ and ERIK ECKHOLM
AUSTIN, Tex. — When Gov. Rick Perry invited fellow governors to join him on Aug. 6 for “a day of prayer and fasting on behalf of our troubled nation,” some speculated that he was trying to raise his national visibility for a possible presidential run.
Absolutely not, said Mr. Perry, a conservative Christian who described the event, to be held in a Houston stadium, as an “apolitical Christian prayer service” to provide “spiritual solutions to the many challenges we face in our communities, states and nation.”
Whatever the goals, his plan has drawn strong protests from advocates for the separation of church and state, who say an elected leader should not be leading what looks to be, in effect, an evangelical Christian revival. Gay rights groups are also objecting because Mr. Perry placed the event in the hands of conservative religious groups that not only oppose gay marriage but also stridently condemn homosexuality...more...