I received this announcement in my email today. This should be of interest to anyone who believes in the principle and importance of separation of Church and State; a line of separation which Texas Governor Rick Perry and other Republicans are trying, with increasing stridency and boldness, to blur.
PS: [7/20/2011, 6:53PM] Just minutes ago, I received a robocall from Rick Perry inviting me (an unwelcome Jew, I might add) to this event. Absolutely, this is a United States Governor advocating and presiding over a religious event under color of his authority as an elected official sworn to uphold the Constitutions of both the United States of America and the State of Texas.
My question: Has this now reached the level of an impeachable offense?
UPDATE (10:22PM, 7/20/2011): The robocall came from a phone number in Tupelo, MS. My CID stamps it by “Unknown Caller” at 6:43PM (7-20-2011) from 662-821-2011. As of this writing, you can call that number to hear the message.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, July 20, 2011
CONTACT: Kirsten Bokenkamp, (832) 691-7013 or firstname.lastname@example.org
ACLU Of Texas Demands That Governor Perry Disclose Use Of Public Resources For Prayer Event
Perry’s “The Response” Blurs The Lines Between Separation Of Church And State
HOUSTON — The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas today requested that Gov. Rick Perry and other officials disclose the amount of tax-payer dollars and other state or local government resources used to promote the prayer event, The Response: A Call to Prayer for a Nation in Crisis, set for Aug. 6 at Reliant Stadium.
“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.”
The ACLU of Texas filed open records requests with the governor’s office as well as the Harris County sheriff’s, auditor’s and fire marshal’s offices and the City of Houston.
“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. “We believe that diversity is protected, society is best served, and the U.S. Constitution is respected when government actions remain separate from religious action, when religion is neither forced upon us, nor prohibited, by government. The Response certainly does not seem to follow that principle.”
One of the cornerstones of the ACLU’s work is to ensure that the First Amendment is upheld and to safeguard against government promotion of, or interference with, religious practice.
Under the state’s open records law, government officials have 10 business days to respond to open records requests. The ACLU of Texas expects a response on or before August 3.
For a copy of the documents filed with state and local government offices, please go to our website.