Rick Perry was born and raised in Paint Creek, Texas.
For Perry, the worlds of politics and religion are as tightly woven as the threads of the Jesus tapestry he wants to hang up in your kid’s elementary school classroom. The governor of Texas was raised as a Methodist, but now attends a non-denominational evangelic Christian church.
Perry’s faith runs deep and is an essential piece of his identity. He apparently believes in the inerrancy of the Bible, which means he interprets it literally. He said he believed non-Christians would go to hell, but then then back-pedaled:
That’s what the faith says. I understand, and my caveat there is that an all-knowing God certainly transcends my personal ability to make that judgment black and white.
In guaranteeing his own passage through the pearly gates, Perry is devoted to prayer. In 2011, as governor, he declared a “Day of Prayer and Fasting for our Nation’s Challenges.” The event, which drew about 30,000 people, was described by Perry as “a non-denominational, apolitical, Christian prayer meeting” called “on behalf of our troubled nation.”
After a decade as governor of Texas, Perry entered the national stage as a favorite of the Christian right with his bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2011.
His deep faith is the backbone of his socially conservative agenda. In an ad attacking “Obama’s war on religion,” Perry says he thinks the government should return to its Christian values:
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’s conservative on pretty much every social issue including abortion, which he thinks should only be allowed if a mother’s life is at risk–he changed his opinion in 2011 on cases of rape and incest, saying he thinks that should not justify an exception.
Perry is just as far right fiscally as he is socially. His views on most issues can be summed up with: There’s no place in the federal government for that. He wants the feds out of education, Social Security, income tax, and, well, the Fed. After Perry said it would be treasonous for the Federal Reserve to print more money, Libertarian Ron Paul said the governor made him “look like a moderate.”
The only non-conservative thing Perry has done was to sign into law a Texas bill which allowed some undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities. He responded by saying each state should deal with these issues as it sees fit, and that was how Texas decided to handle it.
But aside from that one little blip of liberal, Perry is a far-right conservative Christian Republican.