Rick Perry's prayer meeting causes stir in Texas

Texas governor Rick Perry speaks during the 2011 Republican Leadership Conference on June 18, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The 2011 Republican Leadership Conference features keynote addresses from most of the major republican candidates for president as well as numerous republican leaders from across the country. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

HOUSTON - A group of Houston religious leaders have expressed concern about Gov. Rick Perry's day-long prayer meeting, saying it excludes non-Christians.

Perry has said the Saturday event at Houston's Reliant Stadium is "about coming together as a state, lifting up this nation in prayer, having a day of prayer and fasting."

But more than 50 Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders signed a statement, saying Perry's involvement in the event sends "an official endorsement of one faith over all others, thereby sending an official message of religious exclusion and preference to all Texans who do not share that faith."

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The statement urged elected leaders to not impose their beliefs on others or divide citizens along religious lines. The opposition was organized by the Anti-Defamation League.

Asked about it, Perry aides said he "looks forward to attending `The Response, a day of prayer and fasting for our nation."'

The event's organizers announced Tuesday that James Dobson, an outspoken Christian conservative, will attend. Dobson and others will lead attendees in prayer, read from scripture and offer inspirational messages, organizers said.

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