In a conference call with fellow evangelicals earlier this week, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) shared his thoughts on the origins of the constitutionally mandated separation of church and state. Rather than tracing the idea to the nation’s founders, Perry warned of a more nefarious source: Satan.
“Satan runs across the world with his doubt and with his untruths and what have you and one of the untruths out there that is driven is that people of faith should not be involved in the public arena,” Perry said during the call on Tuesday, organized by the Rev. Rick Scarborough.
Perry said the separation of religious and civic institutions in the U.S. began with a “narrative” that first took root in the 1960s.
“Somehow or another there’s this, ya know, steel wall, this iron curtain or whatever you want to call it between the church and people of faith and this separation of church and state is just false on its face,” the governor said. “We have a biblical responsibility to be involved in the public arena proclaiming God’s truth.”
The comments came amidst Scarborough’s preparations for his “40 Days to Save America” event, which will begin Sept. 28 and run through the election. According to the Dallas Morning News, Scarborough will be calling on his followers to pray and fast in order to enlist “God’s intervention” in the presidential race. The Texas pastor has long maintained a focus on national politics, making waves in 2009 for attempting to end the “[s]exual anarchy led by sodomites,” and was a member of Mike Huckabee’s now-defunct Faith and Family Values Coalition.
Likewise, Perry has frequently invoked religion when his state has faced struggles. His prayer rally in August 2011, titled “The Response,” was said to be open to any and all religions, but featured, as the Houston Chronicle described, mostly “fervent fundamentalist Christians.”
While Perry’s strident religious views may have helped play a role in his failure to capture the 2012 GOP nomination, he’s shown no sign of forgoing those beliefs when critiquing the president.
“You think about this spiritual warfare that’s going on and … going strong as President Obama and his cronies in Washington continue their efforts to remove any trace of religion from American life,” Perry said on the call. “And it falls on us, I mean, we truly are Christian warriors, Christian soldiers, and for us as Americans to stand our ground and to firmly send a message to Washington that our nation is about more than just some secular laws.”
Listen to the entire 13-minute conference call here.
(h/t Right Wing Watch)