Two dozen leaders of Houston churches have signed an open letter criticizing Rick Perry's big summertime prayer meeting in Reliant Stadium.
You're not going to see a lot of Southern Baptist names on the letter -- there's a lot of "universalist" and "unitarian" and churches that support GLBT issues.
The group criticizes the anti-gay agenda of the event's organizer and the overarching Christian-centricness of the thing.
We also express concern that the day of prayer and fasting at Reliant Stadium is not an inclusive event. As clergy leaders in the nation's fourth largest city, we take pride in Houston's vibrant and diverse religious landscape. Our religious communities include Bahais, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Unitarian Universalists, and many other faith traditions. Our city is also home to committed agnostics and atheists, with whom we share common cause as fellow Houstonians.
Houston has long been known as a "live and let live" city, where all are respected and welcomed. It troubles us that the governor's prayer event is not open to everyone. In the publicized materials, the governor has made it clear that only Christians of a particular kind are welcome to pray in a certain way.
"Keeping the church and state separate allows each to thrive and upholds our proud national tradition of empowering citizens to worship freely and vote conscientiously," the letter says. "We are concerned that our governor has crossed the line by organizing and leading a religious event rather than focusing on the people's business in Austin....We ask that Rick Perry leave the ministry to us and refocus his energy on the work of governing our state."
Rev. Dr. Jeremy Rutledge, Minister, Covenant Church, Alliance of Baptists/American Baptist Churches
Rev. Douglas Anders, Conference Minister, South Central Conference of the United Church of Christ
Rev. Paul Beedle, Unitarian Universalist
Rev. Dr. Ginny Brown Daniel, Minister, Plymouth United Church, UCC
Rev. Beth Ellen Cooper-Davis, Minister, Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Church
Rev. Michael Diaz, Director of Connections, Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church
Rev. Pat Farnan, Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church
Rev. Lura Groen, Pastor, Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church
Rev. Teddy Hardy, Minister, St. John United Church of Christ
Rev. Lori Keaton, United Church of Christ
Rev. Harry Knox, Senior Pastor, Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church
Rev. Janice Ladd, Executive Pastor, Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church
Rev. Dr. Becky Edmiston-Lange, Co-Minister, Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church
Rev. Mark Edmiston-Lange, Co-Minister, Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church
Rev. Mona Lopez, Volunteer Staff Clergy, Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church
Rev. Laura Mayo, Minister, Covenant Church, Alliance of Baptists/American Baptist Churches
Rev. Dr. Daniel O'Connell, Senior Minister, First Unitarian Universalist Church
Rev. David Pantermuehl, Grace United Church of Christ
Rev. Adam Robinson, Assistant Minister, First Unitarian Universalist Church
Rev. Ken Richter, Senior Minister, First Congregational Church, UCC
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Rev. Bill Royster, United Church of Christ
Rev. Sam Schaal, Transition Minister, Bay Area Unitarian Universalist Church
Rev. Robert Tucker, Foundation for Contemporary Theology
Rev. Bonnie Vegiard, Unitarian Universalist