Leaders: Gov. Perry Rally Excludes Other Faiths

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Some religious leaders have expressed their concerns about Texas Gov. Rick Perry's prayer rally scheduled for Saturday in Houston.

The prayer event, called The Response, will be held at Reliant Stadium.

More than 50 Houston area religious and community leaders signed a statement drafted by the Anti-Defamation League, complaining that the rally will not be open to all faiths.

The statement says that by hosting the event, Perry is making an official endorsement of one faith and excluding others.

The ADL statement followed a June letter from the Houston Clergy Council that criticized the governor for excluding non-Christians, partnering with an anti-gay group, and blurring boundaries between church and state.

"Governor Perry has a constitutional duty to treat all Texans equally, regardless of race, religion or ethnicity," the ADL said in its statement. "His official involvement with The Response, at minimum, violates the spirit of that duty."

Signatories include Rabbi Samuel E. Karff, rabbi emeritus of congregation Beth Israel; Shaikh Omar Inshanally, head clergy of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston; the Rev. Lisa Hunt, rector of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church; and Rev. William A. Lawson, pastor emeritus of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church.

Perry has invited President Obama, the nation's governors and Texas lawmakers to attend the prayer event.

Only 8,000 RSVPs have been received for the event which will be held in a stadium that seats 71,500 people, according to the Associated Press.

Response spokesman Eric Bearse told the Houston Chronicle Tuesday that two nationally known religious figures serving as co-chairs of the event, Dr. James Dobson and Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, will help lead the gathering in prayer and worship.

Dobson hosts the daily radio program, "Family Talk with Dr. James Dobson," while Rodriguez is president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

Bearse said "several thousand people" have registered, indicating they will attend, and more than a thousand churches and individuals have signed up to simulcast the event in their local communities.

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