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TX bible beaters hold voter drive for marriage amendment, Rick Perry re-election

“We will have Citizenship Sundays that are intended and designed to encourage the voters then registered to turn out and vote and to vote as Christians, to vote not on the basis of their party affiliation or their economic status or their ethnic background but as Christians.”
— Laurence White, pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Houston, ready to register voters to re-elect Rick Perry

“If the governor is going to use clergy and churches to build his reelection machine, he should be open about who is paying for it. After all, Texans have a right to know what big-dollar special interests are dragging our churches into partisan politics.”
— Kathy Miller, of the Texas Freedom Network

Rick Perry and his band of Texas Taliban supporters continue to pump up voters for his re-election. No doubt the churches will be trying to register the Katrina evacuees that are now permanently settling in the state, trying to convert a natural response to the governor’s generosity in their time of need into votes for the gay-bashing Perry. (Houston Chronicle):

About 2,000 socially conservative ministers across Texas will be collecting more than tithes today as they call on their congregations to register to vote so they can be ready to add a ban on gay marriage to the state constitution in the November election.

Texas Restoration Project, which organized the voter-registration drive, says the effort is an attempt to bring morality to government by empowering Christian voters, regardless of party. But critics say the Texas Restoration Project is nothing more than an adjunct of the state Republican Party and Gov. Rick Perry’s re-election campaign.

The political consulting firm handling the Texas Restoration Project’s logistics is a company that did $3.2 million in business last year with the state GOP and Republican candidates for office. It is headed by the former spokesman for a Republican congressman and the former executive director of the Texas Republican Party.

At the core of the current voter-registration drive is Proposition 2, a proposed state constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would define marriage as the union of one man with one woman and would prohibit civil unions. Texas already has a law banning gay marriage.

If the amendment is adopted, its supporters say, it would safeguard that law from judicial challenges.

The Texas Freedom Network, which is fighting the influence of the Religious Right in the state, is calling for transparency in the operations of the Restoration Project.

The president of the Texas Freedom Network today called on Gov. Rick Perry to reveal who is paying to recruit hundreds of Texas pastors to hear him and his political backers at campaign-style events around the state.

“It’s time for Gov. Perry to come clean,” said TFN President Kathy Miller. “Texans have a right to know who is paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to get pastors to support the governor’s reelection campaign.”

…More than 500 pastors attended the first “Pastors’ Policy Briefing” in Austin. Hundreds of others attended this week’s event. Organizers have not revealed who is paying for the pastors and their wives to attend these events for free.

At this week’s event, however, wealthy San Antonio businessman Dr. James Leininger sat at the front and was repeatedly thanked by speakers. East Texas chicken tycoon Bo Pilgrim introduced the governor today. Together, Dr. Leininger and Mr. Pilgrim have donated or loaned more than $1.6 million to the governor’s election campaigns since 1997. Each donated $50,000 to the Gov. Perry’s reelection campaign in June of this year, according to records from the Texas Ethics Commission.

Thanks to Blender Adrian for the pointer.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding