Responses to Politicization of “The Response” By Right-Wing Group

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We reported yesterday on the email sent by the American Family Association, a right-wing hate group, to the sign-up list for Rick Perry's “Response,” his purportedly apolitical prayer rally earlier this month. In the email, AFA directed people to sign up with Champion The Vote, their ally organization with a goal to “mobilize 5 million unregistered conservative Christians to register and vote according to the Biblical worldview in 2012.”

Here are some of the responses to this email received by Burnt Orange Report.

Kathy Miller, Executive Director, Texas Freedom Network

Texas Freedom Network is a non-partisan grassroots organization that advances a mainstream agenda of religious freedom and individual liberties to counter the religious right. On the web:

“It is appropriate for any organization to work to register voters, and increasing civic engagement is a worthy goal for anybody. However, an organization that is willing to use faith divisively in the manner this email suggests, for political gain, crosses a fundamental line, certainly in terms of what is good for the country.”

“This isn't AFA sending a message to their members. This is AFA getting a list from The Response, which was organized by a current Presidential candidate. They've certainly caused me to question what the ultimate purpose of The Response was.”


Dennis Coleman, Executive Director, Equality Texas

Equality Texas advocates and lobbies for the elimination of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. On the web:

“We were told that The Response was not going to be politicized, and it's unfortunate if that is indeed what they are doing.”

“I think the real thing that people should take heed, is that this group is very organized, and they have every right to mobilize their constituents. This effort should be a warning sign to us to be more organized and vigilant in making sure the President is re-elected, and make sure that pro-equality legislators are voted in, as well. We can't sit by and think this is going to be an easy election.”


More quotes below the jump from the Texas Democratic Party, Travis County Democratic Party Chair Andy Brown, and State Representative Elliott Naishtat.  Kirsten Gray, Spokeswoman, Texas Democratic Party

On the web:

“First, the Governor partnered with the American Family Association, a recognized hate group, to use a prayer event to build his national profile while insisting it was completely non-political. Now, he's having that same hate group turn out voters for his presidential run. In any given moment, Rick Perry is doing whatever he thinks will advance his own political prospects. It's always been the case, but that doesn't make it any less shameful.”


Andy Brown, Chair, Travis County Democratic Party

On the web:

“This shows that Rick Perry will throw everyone under the bus for his personal political gain–public schools, minimum wage workers, jobless Texans, and now, apparently, the religious faithful who signed up for the Response thinking it was more than just a political tool for Perry.”


State Rep. Elliott Naishtat, HD-49

Rep. Elliott Naishtat represents Central Austin. His Capitol website is here.

“Let's call The Response what it truly was: a pre-announcement political rally for Rick Perry using Christianity in an inappropriate, cynical, offensive, and self-serving way. I continue to be disappointed that Governor Perry chose to align himself and affiliate with with the AFA, an organization that is well-known to be exclusionary in nature, that is clearly right win and that is regularly characterized with words like 'extremist,' 'divisive,' and, of course, 'exclusionary.'”  

“I still believe that Governor Perry, as well as the AFA, would do well to focus on the ideals that unite, not divide, Americans.”


About Author

Katherine Haenschen

Katherine Haenschen is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas, where she studies political participation on digital media. She previously managed successful candidate, issue, voter registration, and GOTV campaigns in Central Texas. She is also a fan of UCONN women's basketball and breakfast tacos.

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