Thursday, December 8, 2011

Rick Perry's War on the First Amendment

As of this writing, the YouTube version of Rick Perry's campaign ad titled "Strong" has 124 thousand 'dislikes' and 3 thousand 'likes.' I have to admit, the ad made me a little angry. Not so much because someone would say the things he does, but because it's inexcusable for a current Governor and a Presidential hopeful with a team of expert advisers to spread misinformation like this.

What's wrong with "Strong"? Let's take it line by line...

I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a Christian, but you don't need to be in the pew every Sunday to know...

Why would he be ashamed? About 3/4 of Americans identify as Christian. Claiming generic Christianity is the easy road for American politicians. Try running as a Mormon, a homosexual, or an atheist if you want to encounter a large percent of prejudice today.

He can't exactly claim to be referring to a smaller core of "real" Christians with that pew warming comment.

...there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military...

Thankfully, most of us have figured out that soldiers deserve respect, not forced secrecy or discharges for something irrelevant to their duties.

...but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school. 

They can. This is a shameless lie.

Now, children in public schools can't be led in prayer or other religious activities because this is coercion. No parents would want their kids led in a ceremony for another religion. Perry is pretending to be defending religious liberty, when he is actually opposing it.

...and he's opposing these Supreme Court rulings in favor of religious freedom for students:

Engel v. Vitale
Abington School District v. Schempp
Lee v. Weisman

As President, I'll end Obama's war on religion.

What war on religion? Wolf Blitzer asked Perry about this yesterday [video][transcript]. Perry mentioned the government not supporting religious organizations with federal dollars. What?! Remember, this is from the guy complaining about federal spending and "Obama's socialist policies."

And I'll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage. 

Our American heritage is the freedom to believe and worship according to one's conscience, without government imposition.
The President of the United States would be an officer elected by the people for four years; the king of Great Britain is a perpetual and hereditary prince. [...] The one has no particle of spiritual jurisdiction; the other is the supreme head and governor of the national church! What answer shall we give to those who would persuade us that things so unlike resemble each other? — from Federalist No. 69, by Alexander Hamilton
Is Perry aware of this part of the job description?

Faith made America strong. It can make her strong again. 

I'm nearly finished listening a free recording of The Federalist Papers, which were glorified letters to the editor explaining and justifying the design of the Constitution. (Highly recommended!) And do you know what I've learned? It's not faith but wisdom that has made America strong. Our Constitution was brilliantly framed to deal with the practical realities of this world:
Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.  — from Federalist No. 51, by James Madison


  1. Ah, nice rebuttal from the spelling challenged.

  2. Great deconstruction Garren.

  3. Wonderful! I wish everyone could be this logical.

  4. Yeah, a good deconstruction. I'm baffled that Perry, a serious candidate for the presidency, and a governor of a large state, should feel that such bigoted and uninformed comments would aid his election. The "I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a Christian" sentiment is typical among the Christians who, despite belonging to a demonstrably dominant majority, claim that they're being persecuted because of their beliefs.

    Is it any wonder why Perry flops in debates? He issues soundbites and dog whistle statements, and nothing else. As shown in the Blitzer interview, he simply cannot support his positions. He argues that gays disrupt cohesiveness, to which Blitzer points out that military commanders have reported no such issues. For Perry though it's an issue, because the people he's been talking to disagree with this. Hell, shouldn't Marine Commandant Gen. James F. Amos know something about this, and he was a critic before the change. Blitzer pointed out that other countries have no such issues, to which Perry responds by making one of his few factual statements of the night - other countries are not America.

    This half-witted nut job does not belong in the Oval Office, and thankfully for America, Perry is doing is best to ensure that this never happens. I credit Christians with enough sense to realize that Perry is an empty-headed contemptible liar of a man.

  5. Very helpful deconstruction. Thank you for providing the facts from history, as well as details on current law and practice, to show that Perry is either ignorant or a liar (or both?). I also appreciate your laying it out in an easy-to-read way.

  6. A great write up about an important topic.

  7. I think it's funny how, when questioned, Perry cannot come up with something that Obama himself actually did to go against religion (aka Christianity), but instead places the "blame" of everything that has gone on during his presidency on him. Last I checked, the DoJ is not President Obama...