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Hypocrisy: Houston Prayers Violate Church & State but Jim Wallis at the White House Does Not?

"How hypocritical that a prayer summit focused on spiritual renewal is deemed offensive while an overt and partisan summit of church representatives at the White House is embraced as supposed solidarity with the poor." -- Mark Tooley, IRD President

Contact: Jeff Walton, Institute on Religion and Democracy, 202-682-4131, 202-413-5639 cell, jwalton@TheIRD.org 

WASHINGTON, Aug. 11, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ -- Religious Left officials have sharply condemned a recent prayer summit in Houston featuring Texas Governor Rick Perry and endorsed by the American Family Association. The prayer rally avoided direct political statements and emphasized spiritual themes.

In contrast, the Religious Left has applauded Sojourners chief Jim Wallis' "Circle of Protection," a Christians-only coalition that met with President Obama to defend welfare programs from Republican budget cutters. Supposedly the prayer summit, according to liberal critics like Americans United for Separation of Church and State, was "exclusive" and theocratic. But the White House summit, despite its specific political and partisan goal, was widely lauded.

IRD President Mark Tooley commented:

    "How hypocritical that a prayer summit focused on spiritual renewal is deemed offensive while an overt and partisan summit of church representatives at the White House is embraced as supposed solidarity with the poor.

    "The representatives of the National Association of Evangelicals, National Council of Churches, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and others who sided with President Obama during the debt ceiling crisis would show far more spiritual authority if they organized a prayer summit for our nation.

    "Rather than simplistically equating a fast growing Welfare State with Christian compassion, church officials could invite all Americans to pray for America, to seek personal spiritual renewal, and to urge Americans to expand their own private charity."

Tooley is co-organizer of "Christians for A Sustainable Economy," a coalition challenging the Circle of Protection's support for Big Government and urging more creative ways to help the poor.

The entire letter is at www.case4america.org.

The Institute on Religion & Democracy works to reaffirm the church's biblical and historical teachings, strengthen and reform its role in public life, protect religious freedom, and renew democracy at home and abroad.

www.TheIRD.org