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ACLU demands Rick Perry disclose public resources used for Christian prayer event

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The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas has filed open records requests asking Governor Rick Perry and other officials to disclose the amount of government resources being used to promote a planned evangelical Christian prayer rally in Houston.

“We are concerned that Gov. Perry is using public office to endorse a sectarian religious event and to advance specific Christian beliefs,” said Lisa Graybill, Legal Director of the ACLU of Texas. “We are seeking information on the degree to which state resources have been or will be used for the planning and promotion of this event and for state officials’ participation in it.”

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Perry proclaimed August 6 as a “Day of Prayer and Fasting for our Nation to seek God’s guidance” and invited governors from across the nation to join his Christian prayer summit at Reliant Stadium.

“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 June.

“The ACLU of Texas values the diversity of belief systems in public life, and each of our beliefs calls us to address problems in different ways. But none of us, especially an elected official, is in the position to say whether believers or non-believers should lead the way in solving our common problems,” said Terri Burke, Executive Director of the ACLU of Texas.

Under the state’s open records law, government officials have 10 business days to respond to open records requests.

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The event also drew the ire of atheist groups. The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) filed a federal lawsuit on July 13 to prevent Perry from taking part in the Christian prayer summit.

The legal complaint asks the federal court to declare unconstitutional Perry’s organization, promotion and participation in the event because it violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

It says Perry’s active participation in the event violates the U.S. Constitution by “giving the appearance that the government prefers evangelical Christian religious beliefs over other religious beliefs and non-beliefs, including by aligning and partnering with the American Family Association, a virulent, discriminatory and evangelical Christian organization known for its intolerance.”

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The website for the prayer summit says that Americans “must come together and call upon Jesus to guide us through unprecedented struggles” because “some problems are beyond our power to solve.”

The event is co-hosted by the American Family Association, a fringe conservative Christian group that advocates the reform of American culture based on their interpretation of the Bible. FFRF said the association “promotes a rabid evangelical Christian agenda that is hostile to non-believers, non-Christians and other protected groups, such as gays and lesbians.”

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.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Rudy Giuliani accuses majority of US Jews of ‘disloyalty to Israel’ — and gets torn to pieces

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Rudy Giuliani appears on Fox News Sunday (Fox News/screen grab)

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani on Wednesday tried to clean up President Donald Trump's declaration that "any Jewish people" who vote for Democrats have "a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty."

Writing on Twitter, Giuliani explained that Trump wasn't saying Jewish Democrats were disloyal to America -- rather, he was saying they were being disloyal to Israel.

"Really disappointed a rep of ADL would feign confusion about [Trump's] statement," Giuliani said. "POTUS is referring to disloyalty to Israel."

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‘Where’s Steve?’ Trump notices a right-wing ally missing from CNN — and wants him back on TV

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President Donald Trump has been asking some of his administration officials why one of his favorite boosters has disappeared from CNN's airwaves.

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“Where’s Steve?” the president has repeatedly asked, according to two officials who overheard him in the White House.

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‘Was Ivanka not available?’ Internet ridicules ‘dweeb’ Sean Spicer’s new gig on ‘Dancing With the Stars’

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On Wednesday, Good Morning America reported that Sean Spicer, former White House Press Secretary to President Donald Trump, will be appearing on "Dancing With the Stars."

This show is not new to giving a lighthearted platform to controversial political figures — it famously hosted former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who now heads up the Department of Energy. Moreover, Spicer — who attracted controversy for lying about Trump's inauguration crowd size and claiming that Hitler never gassed people, has sought credibility as a political veteran, with Harvard's Kennedy School giving him a fellowship.

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