Perry Pulls down the Expected Evangelical Hate Group Endorsements
Early returns suggest the Texas governor’s efforts are paying off, particularly among elder evangelical statesmen:
— Donald E. Wildmon, founder and former head of the American Family Association, is endorsing Perry. The Mississippi-based AFA organized and spent $600,000 to finance Perry’s prayer rally, called “The Response,” and later directed its 30,000 participants to a new Christian voter-registration campaign.
“I think the overwhelming majority of what’s often called the ‘religious right’ will support the governor,” said Wildmon, whose organization boasts a mailing list of 60,000 pastors and operates 180 radio stations. “I’m going to do whatever I can to help the man get elected.”
— Former Focus on the Family head James Dobson has gushed over Perry on his new radio show, calling him a “deeply committed Christian” and a courageous leader. Dobson was a co-organizer of The Response and will reportedly appear with Perry at an event in Orlando next month.
— Liberty University Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. has mused that Perry could be another Reagan and called him “one of the most pro-life governors in American history.” Falwell also said he admires the governor’s “guts” for suggesting that Texas could secede from the union.
— Evangelical historian and activist David Barton, a longtime Perry ally, has circulated a 14-point defense of the governor’s record on economic, social and immigration issues.
— Southern Baptist leader Richard Land has penned an op-ed that portrays Perry as shrewd, deeply conservative and a lifelong evangelical of “genuine” faith. (Perry’s account differs slightly. He says spiritually lost as young man before turning to God at age 27.)
— Grassroots activist David Lane, who organized “pastor policy briefings” featuring Perry during his 2006 campaign for governor, is reportedly planning similar events in battleground states, including one in Florida next month. Lane was finance chairman of “The Response.”