Perry ad slams gay servicemembersAround the Nation, Bottom Highlights Thursday, December 15th, 2011
DES MOINES, Iowa – One day after Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry likened bold new steps by the Obama administration to tackle international human rights abuses of LGBT people to the president waging a “war with people of faith in this country,” he has released a new ad in Iowa attacking open service in the military. In the ad, Perry 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.”
“Rick Perry is continuing to misrepresent the views of the hundreds of thousands of people of faith in this country who live openly or advocate as allies for the LGBT members of their community,” said Dr. Sharon Groves, director of HRC’s Religion and Faith program. “We cannot be in the business of forcing people to choose between who they are, who they love and their faith. Rick Perry’s rhetoric presumes that you can’t be Christian and supportive of LGBT people. Yet many Christians see in Jesus’ example a call to love and support their LGBT neighbors. Rick Perry is trying to claim religion for political motives but it won’t work. Our faith is too precious to be used as a cynical tool for political ends.”
This is not the first time Perry has used Christianity as a means of advancing himself politically. Earlier this year, Perry held a Christian-only day of prayer in Houston. At the event, some of the nation’s most virulently anti-gay leaders and organizations addressed the crowd and even joined hands with Perry onstage. Perry worked with leading anti-gay extremist groups on the event, including the American Family Association and individuals from TheCall and the International House of Prayer.
In addition to Perry’s strong anti-gay track record, his message is factually incorrect. Polling commissioned by HRC and conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research found that nearly 90 percent of Christians believe their faith leads them to the conclusion that the law should treat all people equally, including LGBT people. A majority of Christians – 52 percent – also support repeal of the discriminatory Defense Against Marriage Act. And 70 percent of Christians believe that when religious leaders condemn LGBT people it does more harm than good.
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