I'm sure that evangelical Christians who believe God wants them to do whatever they have to do to take control of the government would have no problem lying to people about the political nature of Rick Perry's prayer rally:
AUSTIN - The organizer of The Response, the massive Aug. 6 prayer rally initiated by Gov. Rick Perry, is calling on attendees to help register millions of conservative Christians, prompting questions about the group and Perry's claims the event was not political.
Don Wildmon, founder of the American Family Association, sent an email Thursday thanking recipients for registering for The Response, which drew thousands of people to Reliant Stadium.
"Today, I want to introduce you to Champion the Vote (CTV), a friend of AFA whose mission is to mobilize 5 million unregistered conservative Christians to register and vote according to the Biblical worldview in 2012," Wildmon wrote.
The email does not mention any candidate or party, and experts said it appears to keep on the right side of the law governing nonprofits.
Mark Jones, political science professor at Rice University, said tax-exempt nonprofits can engage in voter registration, education and turnout drives. He added of the email, however, "It certainly highlights the political nature of The Response."
Perry's office and political advisers have insisted The Response was not a political event.
Perry launched a bid for the Republican nomination for president last week and is counting on a base of support among conservative Christians who play a key role in early voting states.
Eric Bearse, who was spokesman for The Response, stood by the idea that it was not a political event.
"The Perry campaign hasn't used any of the data from the event for any type of political purpose," said Bearse, who now is with the Perry campaign but said he was not responding on its behalf. "The AFA sending out an email to register people - if that is political, then I guess so is the activity of the secretary of states' offices in all 50 states."
A secretary of state's office, however, is unlikely to say, as Wildmon did, "The Response was just the beginning of a nationwide initiative to return America to the principles on which she was founded, with God at the center of our nation."
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