Texas Gov. Rick Perry is not doing anything to dispel rumors that he's weighing a presidential bid by inviting the country's 49 other governors to a massive prayer event, saying "there is hope for America... and we will find it on our knees." Perry's prayer circle, called "The Response: A Call to Prayer for a Nation in Crisis," takes place August 6 and is paid for by the American Family Association, a conservative Christian group based in Mississippi. Admission is free. So is the publicity!
The event's website says these are dark days for the U.S.: "We have been besieged by financial debt, terrorism, and a multitude of natural disasters. The youth of America are in grave peril economically, socially, and, most of all, morally." It's time "to pray for a historic breakthrough for our country and a renewed sense of moral purpose." The Houston Chronicle's Nolan Hicks says the event's site--a football stadium--"indicates that organizers are aiming to make a splash with the event."
Perry has called on divine assistance before, as when wildfires ravaged his state in April, telling Texans to spend three days praying for rain, Reuters' Jim Forsyth reports. And he's well-known for his social conservatism--like when he said a state law gay sex was "appropriate" before the Supreme Court overturned it. Hicks notes that the event's "playbill... hits all of the notes that a candidate seeking the GOP nomination would be expected to hit (see: debasement of society)."