Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry on Sunday took his bus tour to two churches in two different cities in Iowa and talked about his faith in an apparent move to attract conservative Christian voters.
At First Wesleyan Church in Charles City, Perry spoke about his faith’s renewal at age 27, according to The Texas Tribune.
“It’s a God-shaped hole in your heart and it can only be filled by Jesus Christ,” Perry told the congregation, and quoted Isaiah 6:8: “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’”
The governor told the church they were “biblically charged to take your values into the public arena.” He said it was important whose values will “decide the issues of the day,” warning against allowing “the politically correct police” to dominate policy.
Perry started his 42-town bus tour around Iowa last Tuesday, weeks before the state’s Jan. 3 presidential caucuses. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney surged ahead of Perry in polls in Iowa. However, Christians are suspicious of Gingrich’s conservative credentials and Romney is from the Mormon faith. Meanwhile, social issues are not the focus of Paul’s campaign.
The church’s pastor Dennis Bachman reminded the congregation of The Response prayer rally in Houston, Texas. “My hope this morning is that all of us would have the courage [to pray] even when it is unpopular,” Bachman was quoted as saying.
Perry also attended Clear Lake Evangelical Free Church in Clear Lake, where the church leaders did not give him an opportunity to speak.
Perry emphasized the role of faith in public life also while speaking to reporters. Christians, he said, needed to be “right there smack dab in the middle of” public affairs. “Faith is part of what this country is founded upon, and I think we’ve drifted away from that too far.”
Perry is also airing an ad to woo conservative Christians. “I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian, but you don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school,” he says in the ad.
“As President, I’ll end Obama’s war on religion,” he pledges. “And I’ll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage. Faith made America strong. It can make her strong again.”