Perry ignores plea from 16 rabbis, others

Sixteen rabbis were among the more than 50 Houston-area religious leaders who signed a letter asking Texas Gov. Rick Perry not to participate in an Aug. 6 Christian prayer rally.

Perry, a potential Republican presidential candidate, hosted “The Response” at Houston’s Reliant Stadium; it drew 30,000 people. In a commercial on the rally’s website, Perry “called on Americans to pray and fast like Jesus did, and the Israelites did in the book of Job,” as a solution to the “economy in trouble, communities in crisis, and people adrift in a sea of moral relativism.”

“The Response” is sponsored by the American Family Association, a Conservative Christian advocacy nonprofit founded in 1977 as the National Federation for Decency. Perry made a 13-minute appearance at the rally, putting him, at least for a day, “squarely in the middle of evangelical America,” according to the Austin Statesman newspaper.

The rabbis who signed the letter are members of the Anti-Defamation League’s Coalition of Mutual Respect. The letter, in part, criticized Perry for calling for “a full day of exclusionary prayer. … This religious event is not open to all faiths, and its statement of beliefs does not represent religious diversity.” — ap