Anita Perry gave a speech today at North Greenville University in South Carolina, in which she asserted that God called her husband to run for president, and that he was being “brutalized” by political opponents, even from within his own party, because of his faith.
Perry revealed that in 2010, there was a “nagging and pulling at my heart for him to run for president,” but that her husband wanted to be governor of Texas. She told him there was “no leadership in Washington,” yet that the federal government is “taking over our lives.”
As governor of Texas, she reminded the audience, her husband uses his “spiritual training” to make moral decisions.
About contemplating a run for president in 2010, “God was already speaking to me,” she said, “but he [Rick] didn’t want to hear it.”
But, she went on, “he was hearing from other people, too.” In the first of several biblical references, she added, “he needed to see the burning bush.”
Her husband prayed, Perry insisted. “He threw that fleece out there twice to make sure it came back with what he needed to do.” This is a reference to Gideon’s fleece, which, as Anthea Butler explained:
refers to an account in Judges 6:33-40. Gideon sets fleece on a threshing floor, using it as a way of asking God for a sign whether or not to go into battle against the Midianites. God gives Gideon the sign to smite the Midianites and to do battle with his Baal-worshiping neighbors.
Setting out Gideon’s fleece, then, “is a way for believers to seek God’s approval for their own ambitions or ‘calling,’ and to claim they are carrying out God’s purposes in conquering heathens and idol-worshipers.”
Who might the heathens be? Perry made the case that they may be lurking within the GOP: “We truly feel he was called to do this; we still feel called to do this,” she said, adding, “We’re being brutalized by our opponents, by our party. . . because of his faith. He’s the only true conservative.”
“Our country is on the abyss of failure and destruction,” she warned, adding, “we are fighting for the soul of our country.”
A victory, it seems, would be attributable to divine forces. Perry recounted a voter who, on the campaign trail, told her husband, “God is testing you right now. God is testing you because He wants you to know, that when you’re in the White House, how you got there.”
He’s Moses, Gideon, and Abraham, all rolled into one.
During a week in which Perry’s own point man was revealed to have what might be charitably called tolerance issues with other people’s faiths, it will be interesting to see how his party–and voters–react to Perry playing the evangelicals-are-persecuted card.