Open Response to Rick Perry

Governor Perry

Since announcing your bid for the Republican presidential nomination, your antics have already almost pushed me over the edge. You have long-since made me regret my voting for you the first go-round (before seeing the light) and multiple times have embarrassed me in ways surely residents of Alaska must have been by their then-governor Sarah Palin.

But the video you published this week crosses the line. I am not only embarrassed that you are our state’s top elected official, I am ashamed of—and for—you.

It’s so apparent that you are making a completely unveiled attempt to pander to religious conservatives with this babble about “Obama’s religious war.” Yes, there are people across the nation—and unfortunately many of them here in the South—who will identify with your narrow-minded and hateful ideologies. But you, Mr. Governor do not represent all Texans and certainly could in no way ever assume a position where you lead on behalf of an entire nation.

Your comments are hateful and full of fear. They are misinformed with respect to the ideals our country was shaped by and founded upon. And they place you absolutely on the wrong side of history—the same whitewashed tomb of people who opposed women’s rights, civil rights for people of all races, and rights for the handicapped.

So here is what I say to you, oh woefully out-of-touch public servant to the people of Texas:

I’ve been a Christian my entire life and I believe in essentially the same creator, center of the Universe, life-giver, omniscient, all-loving being you claim to believe in—the very same Essence that millions of human beings believe in across the world. Although I no longer occupy a pew within a specific religious body, I respect your right to do so. So go ahead on into your house of worship and occupy your pew. Worship the way you want to worship, say what you want to say, follow whatever rules they ascribe, judge those within your body, and exclude whomever you want to exclude. I will not judge you.

I would appreciate it, however, if you would behave in kind and refrain from bringing your hateful judgment to me or to any of my fellow human beings and their families. Keep it there, inside your religion; it is not welcome in my house, my state, my nation.

Remember the lines drawn between church and state are there for a reason. Our country was founded on the pursuit of liberty and the desire for religious freedom—not on narrow-minded ideologies that discriminate against a minority. These people did not want to come to the New World to impose their religion on others but rather to worship the God they wanted to worship. Period, end of story. Though it’s true that many of our founding fathers were chauvinists and slave owners, I believe many of them had a seed of foresight to believe that the statement “all men are created equal” applied (or would apply) to both genders, all races, and eventually people of differing sexual orientations.

Our respectable president Barack Obama—who leads in a way you apparently will never be able—did not start a religious war. Prayer in school has been an issue of contention since I was a child and I know of no one who cannot celebrate the joys of the Christmas season. And gays serving in the military have nothing to do with an attack on your religion. What a foolish comparison; high school students come up with more reasonable—and creative—theses than that.

“Gays in the military” no more impedes your right to worship than women being allowed to vote or the way allowing a black man to drink from the same water fountain as someone of your race did—yet religious people somehow once supported such absurd and un-Godly beliefs. People who dare breath such views today are frowned upon, eschewed, and shushed. At least generally, they have the sense to keep those thoughts to themselves. And how dare you speak against the brave men and women of our armed forces just because they identify as gay or lesbian!

You, sir, are not the only one who wears the name Christian. I know many such people who are heterosexual and accept their gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. And I know many homosexual Christians who sit in pews, and worship Jehovah, and obey the two greatest commandments: loving God with all their hearts, minds, souls and strength and loving their neighbors as they love themselves. [You would be a wise student to note that it does not say “love only your heterosexual neighbors.”]

Are you, Mr. Perry, doing that? It seems to me, every time you open your mouth and say something hateful, you diminish the very witness of the Christ you claim to follow. Your unkind words belie any love that your namesake should evoke.

We don’t need you to save us. Nor do we need your judgments or your pronouncement of some ridiculous war made up to get yourself attention within a small group of narrow-minded, religious people like yourself. We are not trying to destroy your religion or asking for admission into your religious sects; further, we are not asking your leaders to perform our marriages.

We demand, however, that you respect us and our families. The United States of America is not just the home of Republican, Christian heterosexuals; it is our home too and at home, we are created equally—every last one of us.

Please, sir, do not attempt to force your religious beliefs on my humanity. As a homosexual, I am no less deserving of rights than any heterosexual. You are my governor, not my judge.

Fear-mongering public servants like you will become relics that students of government and politics will study as examples of narrowmindness and shameful behavior. When they examine the great women and men of politics, you will be absent from among them; I rather think you will be in the category of those rued and pitied—George Wallace will keep you company there.

Rick Perry, you should be ashamed of your ridiculous video. You should immediately apologize and reconsider whether running for the office of President of the United States is something you’re cut out for.

By your words and your actions—embarrassing gaffes and soundbites nothwithstanding—you continue to prove you are not the man for the job.


Todd Whitley

20 thoughts on “Open Response to Rick Perry

  1. WOW! This says it all and then some. I absolutely LOVE this letter and hope it is published for everyone to read. ❤ ya

  2. *standing ovation*

    I am proud to stand beside Americans that covey the truth in such a well versed, eloquent manner.

    Thank you for your voice.

  3. Hear-hear, Todd. I don’t get to see you often enough, but you sure do have a way of making your powerful and convincing presence known. It’s my honor to post this.

  4. Well said. I’m posting it to our church’s GLEE (Gay, Lesbian, and Everybody Else) website. I see it’s already making the rounds of FB.
    Jenny – a straight ally

  5. Todd, this is a wonderful and articulate posting.

    Living as your neighbour in the “Great White North”, I don’t usually comment on the internal politics of the USA however, I must say, on the issue of gay/human rights, I cannot understand how a world leading country such as the US can be so medieval. And to see the calibre of leadership, like Palin, Perry, et al running for your highest office, I am astounded. Not that I should be smug though. Our current Prime Minister would feel very much at home in your Republican Party. Thankfully, our Constitution does not allow him to play politics with minority rights (or, believe me, he would).

    Keep up the fight! “Don’t let the bastards grind you down!”

  6. Todd,
    So eloquently spoken! You have the penmanship that so many lack today.
    You letter is so truthful and understandable that Rick Perry and many other Americans will not be unable to comprehend your words. So many are like ostriches and have their heads in the sand!
    Keep up the good work!!
    I will post in as many places as i can!!
    Craig Harrelson

  7. Todd, as always, you amaze me with your ability to eloquently speak truth. I will be sharing this with my Facebook friends. God bless you….(yes, Rick Perry, I am a Christian who believes that God loves all.) Unconditional love knows no boundaries or conditions.

    Love you, Todd.


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