ABC: Is Rick Perry Going 'Too Far' With Prayer Event? Frets 'Even Mainstream Christians' are Worried

Good Morning America's David Kerley on Saturday offered up a one-sided, biased take on a prayer event led by Texas Governor Rick Perry over the weekend. The ABC graphic for the segment chided, "Prayer Controversy: Is Rick Perry Going Too Far?"

The piece featured four clips from those hostile from the event and none in support. Yet, Kerley still attempted to speak for the faithful: "Even some mainstream Christians are concerned about the event, which is being paid for by the American Family Association, which has been called anti-gay, a cultural warrior."

Kerley touted clips from people such as Annie Laurie Gaylor of the Freedom from Religion Foundation. She derided, "What Governor Perry is doing is totally unprecedented. This goes way beyond a non-denominational proclamation."

The liberal Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, was featured in video from an opposition rally: "Don't mess with the Constitution!"

How such a prayer event violated the Constitution went unexplained.

Kerley lectured that, "From a political standpoint, Perry's prayer vigil could be a double-edged sword. Appealing to his base, but possibly diminishing his appeal."

Would it really have been so difficult for the ABC journalist to find one clip of someone who supported Perry his decision to speak?

A transcript of the August 6 segment, which aired at 7:12am EDT, follows:


ABC GRAPHIC: Prayer Controversy: Is Rick Perry Going Too Far? Governor Leads Prayer Rally

BIANNA GOLODRYGA: Well, politics and religion are mixing in Texas today at a day of fasting and Christian prayer led by Governor Rick Perry. And Perry, who is seriously considering running for President, is coming under fire for his role in the event. ABC's David Kerley is back with that story.

DAVID KERLEY: Just hours before Perry's prayer event-

BARRY LYNN: Don't mess with the Constitution!

KERLEY: A separate rally called on the Texas governor to be more inclusive. [Onscreen: Sign with a picture of Rick Perry and the words, "Please pray away this gay."]

RICK PERRY: I'm inviting you to join your fellow Americans in a day of prayer and fasting on behalf of our nation.

KERLEY: Critics are complaining. In fact, atheists went to court to stop Perry's involvement in his own event.

ANNIE LAURIE GAYLOR (Freedom From Religion Foundation): What Governor Perry is doing is totally unprecedented. This goes way beyond a non-denominational proclamation.

KERLEY: They lost. Perry says this is not a political event. But for a potential presidential candidate in a campaign expected to focus on the economy, he was asked by the Christian Broadcasting Network, what he would be praying for.

PERRY: I'm going to be praying for our country's economic prosperity. There's just so many people that can't take care of their family because government's overtaxed, over-regulated over litigated.

KERLEY: Even some mainstream Christians are concerned about the event, which is being paid for by the American Family Association, which has been called anti-gay, a cultural warrior. So, it's who he is associating himself with, who is associated with the event that you're troubled by.

DAVID COURTNEY (People for the American Way): That, I think, is the most disturbing thing. These are the kind of people who have called the Catholic Church the great whore. 

KERLEY: From a political standpoint, Perry's prayer vigil could be a double-edged sword. Appealing to his base, but possibly diminishing his appeal.

MOLLY BALL (National politics reporter, Politico): A lot of people that never heard of him could find it appealing. But then could hurt him down the road, when questions get raised to his appeal to a broader segment of the electorate.

KERLEY: There was some question bout whether Perry would be speaking and praying at his own rally. We hear that he will. The stadium holds 70,000. So far, they have reservations for about 8,000. Back to you.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org