“This is Governor Rick Perry and I'm inviting you to join your fellow Americans in a day of prayer and fasting on behalf of our nation.”
Governor Perry is promoting what's being called “The Response: a call to prayer for a nation in crisis”.
Sylas Politte, student pastor at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Lubbock, said the prayer is needed.
“If you look through where Texas has been just since January, with the wildfires and drought, some would say of biblical proportions,” Politte said.
Unfortunately for the governor, others aren't seeing it that way. The “Freedom From Religion Foundation”, an atheist group, wants a court to declare Perry’s connection to the event unconstitutional.
“I don't see it as a violation for the fact that he's not forcing anyone to do it. According to the constitution, we as the people have freedom of religion and to assemble,” Politte said.
“It's not in violation of church and state, but actually what they're claiming is that it's a violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment,” said Lubbock attorney, Curtis Parrish.
Parrish said this group from Wisconsin is claiming that the governor has in effect established a religious act and they consider that to be a violation of the constitution.
“They received a favorable ruling on this in a Wisconsin Court recently. This has given them the motivation to go around to other states and other government entities to try to get these prayer days done away with,” Parrish said.
“It lines up with a trend throughout history. I think it's really encouraging that the governor has called for a day of fasting and prayer,” Politte said.
Despite the lawsuit, Perry said he's going forward with the daylong event. “I think about those who talk about Christian faith as being intolerant,” said Perry. “Isn't it just the height of intolerance to say you can't gather together in public and pray to our God?”
Parrish said there may be merit to some of the suit's claims, but he doubts a judge will rule against the governor.
"There are prayers offered in a government setting all over the nation including the U.S. Congress. The Supreme Court has traditionally upheld those as being okay and not a violation of the establishment clause because it's traditional,” Parrish said.
The rally will take place August 6th at the Houston Reliant Stadium.