Rick Perry has taken a lot of heat for a recent pro-Christian, anti-gay TV ad in Iowa. But this is a protest of a different kind.
Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church in America, criticized Perry’s recent ad in a Tuesday op-ed in the Washington Post. “Perry would be pathetic, if he weren’t so infuriating,” Robsinson writes.
Perry in the ad says there is something wrong in America when “gays can serve openly in the military, but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in schools.” Perry then promises to end President Obama’s “war on religion.”
“It is breathtaking (and not in a good way) when someone who aspires to be the Commander in Chief denigrates the soldiers he means to command,” Robinson writes. “Just like all the other soldiers in our military, our gay and lesbian soldiers are dodging bullets and IED’s to preserve our rights as Americans. The right of all Americans to represent their country in our military is now the law of the land, a law that Gov. Perry apparently disagrees with and presumably would work to change if elected president.”
And Robinson argues that Christians are allowed to pray anywhere they want to. Separation of church and state prohibits an official establishment of religion, not a Christian’s freedom to pray. “Gov. Perry is right about one thing,” Robinson continues. “There is something wrong in America. But surely it begins with disloyalty to our brave troops in the field and violation of the hard-won separation between church and state which protects all Americans.”
Rick Perry’s ad has infuriated not only human rights activists, but also some in his own campaign. A top Perry pollster called the ad “nuts.” And Perry’s decision to turn the culture war up to 11 is a curious one. Recent polling suggests that Iowa-caucus goers don’t see social issues as a top priority. They want someone who can turn the economy around and defeat Obama.
Watch Perry’s ad below. Read Robinson’s full op-ed here.
David Taintor is TPM’s News Editor. He contributes to TPM’s Livewire coverage, among other areas. David is from Chanhassen, Minnesota, where, yes, it gets very cold. Reach him at taintor [at] talkingpointsmemo.com