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Perry believes non-Christians doomed

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/texassouthwest/stories/110606dnTSWperry.351c57c.html Perry believes non-Christians doomed Governor shares
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 6, 2006
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      http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/texassouthwest/stories/110606dnTSWperry.351c57c.html

      Perry believes non-Christians doomed

      Governor shares views following sermon; rivals pounce

      08:45 AM CST on Monday, November 6, 2006

      By CHRISTY HOPPE / The Dallas Morning News

      SAN ANTONIO – Gov. Rick Perry, after a God and country
      sermon attended by dozens of political candidates
      Sunday, said that he agreed with the minister that
      non-Christians will be condemned to hell.

      "In my faith, that's what it says, and I'm a believer
      of that," the governor said.

      Throughout much of the 90-minute service at
      Cornerstone Church, Mr. Perry sat on the red-carpeted
      stage next to the Rev. John Hagee. Mr. Perry was among
      about 60 mostly Republican candidates who accepted the
      invitation to be introduced to the megachurch's
      congregation of about 1,500, plus a radio and TV
      audience.

      "If you live your life and don't confess your sins to
      God almighty through the authority of Christ and his
      blood, I'm going to say this very plainly, you're
      going straight to hell with a nonstop ticket," Mr.
      Hagee said during a service interspersed with
      religious and patriotic videos.

      Asked afterward at a political rally whether he agreed
      with Mr. Hagee, the governor said he didn't hear
      anything that he would take exception to.

      He said that he believes in the inerrancy of the Bible
      and that those who don't accept Jesus as their savior
      will go to hell.

      A little later at another stop, the Republican
      incumbent clarified his beliefs.

      "I don't know that there's any human being that has
      the ability to interpret what God and his final
      decision-making is going to be," Mr. Perry said.
      "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."

      He added: "Before we get into Buddha and all the
      others, I get a little confused there. But the fact is
      that we live in a pluralistic world but our faith is
      real personal. And my Christian faith teaches that the
      way is through Jesus Christ."

      His opponents in the race, campaigning across the
      state with just two days to go until Election Day,
      criticized the governor, saying his comments were
      unnecessarily divisive.

      "He doesn't think very differently from the Taliban,
      does he?" independent Kinky Friedman said.

      Mr. Friedman, a Jew, said Mr. Perry's comment "hits
      pretty close to home."

      "Being obsessed with who's going to heaven and who's
      going to hell is kind of a pathetic waste of time," he
      said.

      Mr. Friedman, who often expresses admiration for Jesus
      and calls himself "a Judeo-Christian," declined to say
      whether he believes that accepting Jesus as one's
      savior is the only path to salvation.

      Carole Keeton Strayhorn, who attended Sunday services
      at Harmony Missionary Baptist Church in Fort Worth,
      said she disagreed with Mr. Perry.

      "There are many ways to heaven. We're all sinners, and
      we're all God's children," she said. "God's a uniter."

      Democrat Chris Bell said that a state leader should
      take more caution.

      "God is the only one who can make the decision as to
      who gets into the kingdom of heaven," he said.

      Mr. Bell declined to say whether he agrees that only
      followers of Jesus can go to heaven.

      "I'm a Christian," he said. "Rick Perry certainly is
      entitled to his beliefs, but when you're in public
      office, you need to respect people of all faiths and
      denominations."

      Asked whether Mr. Perry was wrong, Mr. Bell said: "The
      voters will have to decide that."

      In his sermon, Mr. Hagee exhorted the congregation to
      fight moral weakness, to vote for religious people and
      oppose same-sex marriage.

      "Quit acting like a Bible-thumping wimp," he said.

      He added: "God is the Supreme Court," prompting
      applause from the governor.

      Mr. Perry was raised in the Methodist church but also
      frequently attended the Baptist church in the small
      West Texas town of Paint Creek, where he grew up.

      For this campaign, he has helped organize the Texas
      Restoration Project, in which ministers are encouraged
      to get their congregants politically involved in their
      communities.

      And he has already had to answer some complaints from
      the Jewish community. Last year, he invited ministers
      of all faiths to stand with him as he signed a law
      requiring parental consent for abortion and a
      constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. The
      Jewish representative was a member of a messianic
      group that accepts Jesus as their savior.

      Mr. Perry's predecessor as governor, George W. Bush,
      took considerable criticism in 1993 for saying that
      those who do not accept Jesus as their personal savior
      cannot get to heaven. Later, when running for
      president, Mr. Bush issued his regrets to the
      Anti-Defamation League, saying his comments had been
      misunderstood.

      Mr. Perry said Sunday that the acceptance of Christ is
      what his faith teaches, and he could not abandon that
      any more than anyone can pick which of the 10
      Commandments they chose to follow. He would not argue
      with God's wisdom, he said.

      "I doubt if any one human being can grasp all of his
      wisdom and issues of salvations and whether you're
      going to get to go to heaven," Mr. Perry said.

      Staff writers Robert T. Garrett in West University
      Place, Gromer Jeffers Jr. in Eagle Pass and Wayne
      Slater in Austin contributed to this report.

      E-mail choppe@...
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