(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
Cross-posted at Firedoglake.com and ThomHartmann.com
Rick Perry. Oh My G-d.
I’m a Texan, and I had the misfortune to watch part of Perry’s loudly-publicized “The Response” prayerapalooza a few weeks back. You can see archives of it here (You have to go to Part 2 to see Perry).
The ostentatious praying and public piety. The exaggerated ritualism. The loud caterwauling of his followers–and it struck me: I’m watching a Pharisee.
And that reminded me of some writings in a book he’s apparently never read: The Christian Scriptures (“New Testament”).
Like this one, from Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” as recorded in Matthew 6:1-8:
“Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven. So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
“And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
Of course, Perry doesn’t have to worry about whether his giving of alms is too public, since he gives only about 1/2% of his income for charitable causes:
“Between 2000 and 2009, he has earned $2.68 million, according to the Houston Chronicle. That’s a lot of means and opportunity to give back to all those who have lost their jobs, suffered through a harrowing addiction or endured a housing foreclosure.
And Texas has plenty of people in need, whether it’s the chronically unemployed in the Rio Grande Valley or the men and women huddled in Austin’s crowded shelters. Yet Perry’s money hasn’t answered many prayers. A review of his tax records from the mid-1990s through 2009 show the governor has contributed very little to charity. When he has, Perry has given mainly to charities connected to his family, and even then, his donations have sometimes been slight. An analysis by the San Antonio Express-News in mid-June reported that of his $2.68 million, Perry ‘gave half a percent to churches and religious organizations, or $14,243.'”
The Express-News goes on to note: “By comparison, Americans averaged gifts of nearly 1.2 percent of their incomes to churches and religious groups from 2004 to 2008, according to Empty Tomb Inc., an Illinois-based research firm specializing in U.S.-church giving trends.”
And then, of course, there’s this:
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” Matthew 5:7 And:
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5 RSV)
I wonder how that applies to a guy who has happily and eagerly signed more death warrants in Texas than any other governor, even recently outpacing his horrific predecessor Bush the Dimmer?
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9.
Hmmm. How does that square with Perry’s desire to expand the militarist/police state?
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least among you, you did not do for me.'” Matthew 25:41-45
Not a tax cut mentioned. I wonder how that fits in with Perry’s determination to cut Social Security, food stamps, Medicaid-basically, every single program doesn’t do anything but shovel money to fossil fools and the ultrarich? Maybe he needs to think about spending some of that corporatist money he’s wallowing in on an asbestos suit. (And notify Michelle Bachmann that she’d better buy herself one while she’s at it.)
Ol’ Rick Perry, just Doin’ the Pharisee Strut.
And G-d apparently agrees, since Perry’s loud, public prayers for rain have been met with the worst drought we have suffered in recorded history.
Okay, here’s one for you: I, a semi-believing, quasi-pagan pantheist, a Jefferson Bible-totin’ democratic socialist who believes we should eliminate 90% of the military and devote the money to social programs which would make France seem stingy, will now Pray For Rain, like this:
“Hey, Universal Life Force. Think you can throw us here in Texas some precipitation? After all, while a lot of us are Teabaggers and brown-people haters, there are at least a 3rd of us who are progressives, and another third who are just asleep. Besides, we forgive the know-nothings just ‘cuz it’s the right thing to do.”
Now, I bet rain will finally get here. I believe this because I think my “prayer” is much closer to what the Lifegiver would want to hear.
And, of course, I believe it because it looks like the pressure dome which has been keeping us from getting rain seems to be breaking up.
–h/t my brother, Methodist minister Emeritus, “Real” Ph.D. in Theology (from SMU), and generally great guy…