Perry touts endorsement of pastor who called Statue of Liberty ‘demonic’

By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, July 12, 2011 12:19 EDT
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Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), who is flirting with a presidential bid, has issued a “call to prayer” for a nation in “historic crisis” due to what he claims is a lack of humility before the Christian deity.

To facilitate this, Perry has announced plans to convene a meeting of evangelicals next month at Houston’s Reliant Stadium, for a “solemn gathering of prayer and fasting for our country.” He’s calling it, “The Response” — and clearly hoping the event will help shore up the religious conservative base.

Among Perry’s prominently-featured endorsers of “The Response” is a pastor who may have Rev. Wright-like consequences for Perry should he decide to seek the presidency, thanks to recently uncovered video of a bizarre sermon about the Statue of Liberty.

That pastor is Dr. John Benefiel, founder of Church on the Rock in Oklahoma City. In his sermon, Benefiel suggests that Lady Liberty is actually a “demonic idol” meant to distract Americans from their only true source of freedom: the Christian savior.

The Statue of Liberty, a national monument intended to commemorate the ideals of freedom, was a gift from the French after America gained its independence from Britain. The National Parks Service calls it “the most recognizable symbol of democracy in the world.”

Perry’s friend appears to believe otherwise.

The video below is from Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s “The Response” website.

Gov. Perry’s Invitation to The Response from The Response USA on Vimeo.

This video of “The Response” endorser John Benefiel is from YouTube, first snipped by the Right Wing Watch blog.

This video, featuring other endorsers of “The Response,” is from Right Wing Watch.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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