Texas Gov. Rick Perry bows his head as he leads a prayer at The Response, a call to prayer for a nation in crisis, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011, in Houston. Perry attended the daylong prayer rally despite criticism that the event inappropriately mixes religion and politics. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) (AP)

"My faith requires me to support Israel"

Rick Perry's Christian Zionist foreign policy


Justin Elliott
August 11, 2011 7:29PM (UTC)

Foreign Policy's Josh Rogin has an informative look at how Rick Perry is aligning himself with some of the most neoconservative veterans of the Bush administration:

The experts that he has reached out to include former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Doug Feith, former NSC strategy guru William Luti, former Assistant U.S. Attorney and National Review columnist Andrew McCarthy, former Pentagon official Charles "Cully" Stimson, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Europe Daniel Fata, former Pentagon China official Dan Blumenthal, the Heritage Foundation's Asia expert Peter Brookes, and former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalizad.

He also digs up an interview Perry gave to the Weekly Standard in 2009 in which the Texas governor explicitly said his views on the Middle East are informed by his evangelical Christianity:

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"My faith requires me to support Israel."

That's a remarkable statement for a man who could be president -- being required by one's faith to support a foreign country. Of course, what "support" means is open to interpretation; I've asked Perry's office for elaboration.

It's only in the context of his Christian Zionism that Perry's emotional new comments to Time about Israel and its West Bank settlement project make any sense:

The idea that the President would make this statement about going back to the ’67 borders sent a chill down all of my friends’ back and certainly mine. Israel is our friend. Israel is a democracy in the middle of a part of the world where having a democracy is really important.

I suspect we'll be hearing a lot more of this rhetoric from Perry as he tries to attract pro-Israel evangelical voters in the GOP primary.

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Justin Elliott

Justin Elliott is a reporter for ProPublica. You can follow him on Twitter @ElliottJustin

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