Thousands are expected to attend Governor Rick Perry's massive Christian prayer vigil in Houston on Saturday. The call to prayer is titled "The Response" and it will be streamed across the nation, including here in Lubbock at a church which is streaming the event for a local audience.
The Southcrest Baptist Church off S. Loop 289 will stream the event live all day on Saturday. Governor Perry is calling it a day of prayer and fasting.
The event hasn't come without controversy. An atheist-agnostic group filed a federal lawsuit to stop the event, but a judge dismissed it. Tuesday, more than 50 religious and community leaders in the Houston area signed a letter calling the Christian prayer rally "exclusionary" and arguing that governor is violating the spirit of his "constitutional duty to treat all Texans equally regardless of race, religion or ethnicity."
Southcrest Baptist Pastor David Wilson disagrees.
"There is nothing political in this gathering. It is simply praying for our nation. Praying for direction. I'm sure we'll be praying for rain in our state. We're just praying for the direction of our country's morality and asking for help."
The ACLU is holding their own prayer event in response to Governor Perry's event on Friday in Houston. "We think his event is exclusive and is one that suggest only Christians can address Americas issues," ACLU Executive Director, Terri Burke said.
"We think that's untexan and and unamerican to promote an exclusively Christian event," Burke continued.
The ACLU says the Governor has used his taxpayer funded website to link the event to the sponsoring organization and they think that's a "slippery slope."
While civil rights groups are against the prayer most politicians support Perry's move.
"I am absolutely 100 percent behind it I truly believe its an earnest concern for where we are as a nation," 83rd District Representative Charles Perry said.
Congressman Randy Neugebauer also released a statement saying, "The governor's actions to bring people of faith together should be commended."
The ACLU will hold their own event in response to the Governors response. "The folks in our event have different beliefs, but none of us are in a position to say believers or non believers should lead the way in that," Burke explained.
Governor Perry says they will pray for a breakthrough for our country and a renewed sense of moral purpose.
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