Rick Perry's recent TV ad

by Maureen Fiedler

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Have you seen it?

I'm referring to Rick Perry's recent TV ad, trying to appeal (I think) to evangelical Christians (and maybe others) in Iowa before the caucuses. Here's the text of what he says:

"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 answer to Perry:

Rick, I'm glad you're not ashamed of being a Christian, but what does that have to do with voting? Our Constitution says, "There shall be no religious test for public office." I care if you are honest, ethical, concerned about the "least of these" and committed to peace. But you can have all of these qualities and be a Jew, a Muslim, a Hindu, a Sikh, a Buddhist, etc.

Is there something wrong with gays serving openly in the military? Would you prefer the old system where they had to be dishonest about who they are? (Last I checked, dishonesty is frowned upon in Christianity.) Maybe you don't read the news: Even the resistant Marine Corps has reported no problems with the transition to openly gay/lesbian soldiers.

And what's this about "kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school"? You don't want to respect the traditions of Jewish children (who almost always feel "out of it" at Christmas) or Muslim children or children of other faith traditions? That's the reason, Rick, that we have separation of church and state in this country. Christian children can celebrate Christmas and pray in their churches and homes. In the same way, Jewish children can celebrate Hanukkah; Muslim children can celebrate Ashura. It's just not appropriate to be sectarian in a public school.

And Obama's "war on religion"? I have not noticed such a war. The only "war" I connect with Obama is the one he is bringing to a conclusion in Iraq (thank God). And liberal attacks on religious heritage? No, Rick. You may be referring to people who believe in the separation of church and state, which is foundational to our heritage and essential in a nation like ours, which happens to be the most religiously diverse nation on the face of the earth.

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