Rick Perry Talks Politics, Faith at Private Retreat
Evangelical political activists attended a two-day retreat with Texas Governor Rick Perry last weekend, the L.A. Times reports.
The GOP presidential candidate met with social conservative leaders who grilled Perry on his faith and his politics at a remote ranch west of Austin, Texas. According to the L.A. Times sources, Perry convinced his guests that he was one of them.
The retreat, named "Call to Action," featured representatives from prominent evangelical and socially conservative political organizations. Participants included Family Research Council (FRC) president Tony Perkins, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission president Richard Land, and Focus on the Family founder James Dobson.
Participants were asked not to take pictures, record the event, or disclose details of what was said. Sources for the L.A. Times said Perry gave his testimony, which included a recommitment to his faith following his stint in the Air Force. He also promised to stand firm in opposing same-sex marriage and abortion.
Speaking to campaign contributors in July, Perry said, "Our friends in New York six weeks ago passed a statute that said marriage can be between two people of the same sex. And you know what? That's New York, and that's their business, and that's fine with me. That is their call. If you believe in the 10th Amendment, stay out of their business."
The remark did not go over well with social conservatives. One week later, he told FRC's Tony Perkins that he supports a Constitutional amendment on marriage that would define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. For some participants at the retreat, the report states, his comments were not sufficient, but Perry reiterated his support for the federal marriage amendment. Several days after the retreat, Perry signed the National Organization for Marriage's pledge to support a Constitutional amendment on marriage. The amendment would define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
Perry also promised "Call to Action" guests that he would select a pro-life vice presidential running mate. In 2008, Perry endorsed former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani who is pro-choice. Some social conservatives were concerned that Perry's endorsement meant that he would not be a strong opponent of abortion.
Perry currently leads in most polls of Republican voters with 25 to 30 percent support. Over the past month, he has gained 10 to 15 percentage points. This growth has come at the expense of Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann, both of whom have dropped in the polls.
Image: Via Rick Perry.