Keep talking, Rick Perry
So, this video has been making the internet rounds. It helpfully includes a transcript, which I’ll go ahead and copy/paste here:
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.
I’m Rick Perry and I approve this message.
My favorite method of analysis is the step-by-step deconstruction, which I once used when blogging my way through the ill-fated series “Sarah Palin’s Alaska.” Here we go again!
“I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian.” At least 3/4 of Americans self-identify as Christian. I suspect that percentage is a smidge higher in Texas, hmm? (Quick Wikipedia check shows Texas being ~85% Christian.) Oh Rick, you are SO BRAVE. It must have taken so much courage to “admit” sharing basic religious beliefs with an overwhelming majority of your constituency. And without shame, either! Ugh, this asshole talks like this is his moment of “coming out” as a Christian after enduring some kind of oppressive hardship. Dude. We got the memo back in August when you led that evangelical prayer rally in gubernatorial capacity, or back in 2006 when you agreed with John Hagee that non-Christians are going to hell, or…yeah, we get it. Good for you.
“there’s something wrong with this country when gays can serve openly in the military” BWHUT?! “but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.” Okay, I think I sort of get where he’s trying to go with this. The dirty liberals have forced our good Christian military to accept gays despite them being an obvious abomination, and the same dirty liberals don’t allow any mention of Christmas or Christianity in public because they hate religious freedom. Am I on the right track, Rick? I guess the problem I see with this sentiment is that it is completely divorced from reality in every conceivable fashion. Gays can serve openly in the military because we’re citizens just like anyone else and gay sexuality is no more relevant to military service than is straight sexuality. Kids can celebrate Christmas and pray in school all they goddamn want to, as long as it isn’t led by or endorsed by public school employees, because that would constitute a state endorsement of religion, which as it turns out is unconstitutional. My public high school cafeteria was used as a church on Sunday mornings, teachers led after-school Bible studies in their homes as long as they were acting as private citizens and not state employees, and my friends and I exchanged Christmas gifts in the library during study hall. I was a Christian when I was in high school, and I prayed my ass off before many a precalculus exam (I got a D in precalculus). I won’t even go into all the other ways Christianity infiltrated my public education, but I assure you, Rick, kids most certainly can be openly religious in school.
“As President, I’ll end Obama’s war on religion.” Oh, this war on religion? Or maybe this one? I suspect what Rick Perry means is that Obama has made an effort to use more inclusive language, inclusive of non-Christian citizens as well as Christians. And that apparently is an attack on religion or some shit, I don’t even know at this point.
“And I’ll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage.” Our religious heritage? The Constitution and the Treaty of Tripoli would like to have a word with you, Rick. Allow me to quote more things:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. (First Amendment to the US Constitution, 1791)
Bolded parts: Laws endorsing a particular religion are a no-no. Laws stifling religious expression are a no-no. If you interpret those as “well, all religions are ok, but you have to pick one, so no atheism!” then the next part is awfully inconvenient for you, because freedom of speech means I have the right to type this on my public blog from a state-owned IP address: I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT GODS ARE REAL AND IN FACT I THINK THAT RELIGION IS A DETRIMENT TO PEACEFUL SOCIETY. Constitutionally protected. Is that the religious heritage you refer to, Rick Perry? Or is it this:
As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries. (Treaty of Tripoli, Art. 11, 1797)
Oh right, the treaty that explicitly says that America is not a Christian nation. The one that goes on to say that America has nothing against Muslims or Islam. Yeah.
So anyway, Rick Perry, you approve that message, huh? Good for you. Freedom of speech in action. Rick Perry, governor of Texas and candidate for President, has a Constitutionally protected right to publicly admit to being a bigoted asshole with little knowledge of or regard for actual facts. I like this a lot, and here’s why: it’s like a huge red flag that says “HOLY SHIT DO NOT EVER VOTE FOR THIS CLOWN.” I appreciate that kind of warning. Thanks, Rick.