Texas Governor Rick Perry has proclaimed August 6 as a “Day of Prayer and Fasting for our Nation to seek God’s guidance” and has invited governors from across the nation to join his Christian prayer summit at Reliant Stadium in Houston.
“Given the trials that beset our nation and world, from the global economic downturn to natural disasters, the lingering danger of terrorism and continued debasement of our culture, I believe it is time to convene the leaders from each of our United States in a day of prayer and fasting, like that described in the book of Joel,” Perry said in a statement released Monday.
“I urge all Americans of faith to pray on that day for the healing of our country, the rebuilding of our communities and the restoration of enduring values as our guiding force.”
On the website for the prayer summit, Perry added that Americans “must come together and call upon Jesus to guide us through unprecedented struggles” because ” some problems are beyond our power to solve.”
Perry is the longest-serving governor in Texas history and is considering making a run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. In April, he issued an official proclamation urging Texans to pray for rain in the midst of a severe drought that had sparked more than 8,000 wildfires. Last year, he said the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico might have been an “act of God” that would have occurred regardless of safety regulations.
The Secular Coalition for America strongly condemned the proposed prayer summit. The group, which represents atheists, agnostics and other nontheistic Americans, said the event privileges Christianity over other religions and is “an insult to the millions of upstanding citizens who practice religions other than evangelical Christianity.”
The prayer summit is co-hosted by the American Family Association, a conservative Christian group that advocates traditional family values and the reform of American culture “to reflect Biblical truth on which it was founded.” The Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled the organization as a “hate group” because of its harsh and outspoken views on homosexuality.