Rick Perry isn’t afraid to tell people he’s a Christian, but he seems pretty deeply flawed about what that might mean.
With 4.7 million views and 615,000-plus thumbs-down ratings, one of Perry’s latest commercials, “Strong,” is officially the most-disliked YouTube video. Ever. Nice goin’, guv.
That’s well more than the number who excoriated Rebecca Black for the video of her song “Friday.” (“…Ultimately, one could make the argument that contrasting the negative response to a teenage Internet star and the response to a divisive politician is nonsensical.” Noted. Thanks, Megan Gibson.)
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. As President, I’ll end Obama’s war on religion. And I’ll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage. Faith made America strong. It can make her strong again. I’m Rick Perry and I approve this message.
What’s wrong with this country has nothing to do with those committed to building bridges between faith traditions and working to defend First Amendment rights of both freedom of and freedom from religion. Rather it has everything to do with narrow ideologues so busy putting Christ back in Christmas that they forget to live out Jesus’ call to love their neighbors as themselves the other 364 days of the year.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. 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 the Christmas message of “Peace on Earth, Good Will to All” is hijacked by politicians decking the halls with homophobia instead of holly.
One of the beautiful things about the Internet is that if you’re as far off base as Perry, you can be the recipient of (instant and red-hot) feedback. And if your message is as far out so as to lend itself to parody, you best thicken up your hide.
The response to “Strong” has been solid, wide-ranging, and in some ways quite humorous and knowing, with gentle catechetical goals along the way about what being a Christian actually means. Some are silly, some quite serious, some even a little blue (so be warned).
Here are four: