“Obama’s war on religion”?

Rick Perry says the following in a recent commercial:

“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 there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school. As President, I’ll end Obama’s war on religion. And I’ll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage. Faith made America strong. It can make her strong again.”

Now, as pure politics, the above paragraph will resonate with Perry’s target audience (he is clearly pushing hard for Evangelicals in Iowa and this isn’t the only ad focused in such a fashion–another example here).

There is a lot that could be said about the following (such as:  why is Perry gay-baiting) but what in the world is “Obama’s war on religion”? Apparently it is a new, expanded front on the vaunted War on Christmas. Still, last time I checked, Engel v. Vitale (the SCOTUS ruling against prayer in schools) was handed down in 1962 (while Obam was born in Kenya, sorry, Hawaii 1961).*


Source:  Politico.

*It gets so hard to keep track.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, Religion, US Politics, , , , , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Herb says:

    Rick Perry wants to make government small enough to drown in a bathtub promote Christianity.

  2. Ron Beasley says:

    I was a quiet atheist most of my life but over the last 20 years I have slowly become a militant one. Santorum, Bachman, Perry etc. are really no different than the Taliban. In fact they are worse than the Taliban since they cherry pick Leviticus.

  3. MBunge says:

    Man, Perry vs. Bush II is getting to be a more and more interesting comparison. It’s hard to imagine W. making this sort of appeal but that may only be because he never had to.


  4. Anon says:

    Why does the religious right continue to claim that kids can’t openly pray? Any child can openly pray before eating lunch, if they wish. Do they really think that faith doesn’t count unless it’s done in a mass, school-organized way?

  5. legion says:

    This is pretty typical evangelical propaganda – failing to put their religion ahead of all others is somehow transformed into an attack on all religions in an attempt to get other religious people to imagine for a moment that people like Perry won’t persecute the hell out of anyone of a different denomination the moment they think they can get away with it.

  6. Jeremy says:

    I’m sick of this crap. Nobody is being prevented from voluntary praying in schools–I’m definitely not a fan of the public education system and want it to receive a massive overhaul–but only the most pigheaded, left-wing, socialist teacher would prevent a child from praying before lunch.

    It’s when they’re prohibited from yelling at a child that they’re “going to hell” because they’re an atheist/Muslim/gay/whatever is what has them up in arms. And that’s just disgusting.

  7. Scott O. says:

    our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas

    Perry’s war on reality.

  8. Rob in CT says:

    Unhinged fantasy. Nothing new, though.

  9. mantis says:

    When religious conservatives say kids can’t pray in school, what they mean is they can’t force your kids to pray in school, as they want to do.

  10. So…since when could kids not “openly celebrate Christmas” or “pray in school”? Last I checked, kids usually aren’t in school on Christmas (unless Newt’s kids as janitors thing has already started) and how full of it does someone have to be to equate compulsory pray with kids not being able to voluntarily pray in school?

  11. James says:

    @Ron Beasley: They don’t have much more respect for their women. 1 Timothy 2 11-15

    11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15 But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith,love and holiness with propriety.

    Sit down, shut up, and stay in the kitchen. Inspiring.

  12. anjin-san says:

    Do they really think that faith doesn’t count unless it’s done in a mass, school-organized way?

    I don’t think a guy like Perry is interested in faith so much as in Indoctrination.

  13. @anjin-san:

    I don’t think a guy like Perry is interested in faith so much as in Indoctrination.

    I don’t even think he had a genuine interest in indoctrination. I think this is a cynical to acquire votes.

  14. Scott says:

    @Anon: Absolutely. Perry (and his ilk) just flat out lie. Not only can my kids here in Texas pray, my 8th grader attends a voluntary weekly Christian youth meeting held on school grounds. The school district has an elective course call “the Bible as Literature”. Yes, it is all shameless culture war BS.

  15. Pug says:

    This is the kind of stuff we always have to put up with in Texas as the politicians pander to the lowest, meanest knuckle dragging mouth breathers in a state full of them.

    It used to be worse when Democrats had a chance and elections could be close. The ads got so bad in the 1980’s that Saturday Night Live started doing parodies of them. One candidate for governor was going to execute the criminals deader than the other candidate.

  16. sam says:

    Perry et al. are a long, long, long way from this simple humility of this prescription:

    And when thou prayest, thou shall not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. But when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou has shut thy door, pray to thy Father which seeth in secret . (Matt. 6.27)

  17. Hey Norm says:

    I though Obama is a devout Muslim???

  18. Eric says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I was thinking the exact same thing when I saw that ad. I mean, I really believe he’s just trying to get more votes since his support is going down passing day. I cannot imagine him, with his record of being center-right, doing something like this and mean it.

  19. Andy says:

    you know, I am one who agrees with the whole BIBLE thing. My father was a preacher and I have to say, if you asked my Mawmaw right now what a womans place is, she would tell you the same thing, to be completely submissive to her husband, and to be the one taught not to be the one teaching. as far as a woman teaching to women, ok but as it was said in the BIBLE, adam was created first and it should stay that the man has the ultimate say (provided that man has the ability to take from his own wants to include the intrest of his wife also. i am not a dominate person just a christian who stands strong on the ways of the BIBLE)