“God Loves Uganda,” a documentary about American evangelical involvement in inflaming anti-gay sentiment in that country, made its debut at last year’s Sundance Festival and reached a broader audience through this week’s broadcast on public television. The attention from this week’s broadcast has provoked a response from the International House of Prayer (IHOP).
Filmmaker Ross Williams was given extensive access to IHOP leaders, including evangelist Lou Engle, who believes Uganda has a special prophetic destiny. The documentary includes footage of Engle at a rally with supporters of the infamous Anti-Homosexuality Act, where he tells the crowd he was “called” to encourage the Ugandan church for standing up for “righteousness” in the face of international pressure to drop the bill. IHOP now says it has never supported the anti-gay law.
Charisma Magazine’s Jennifer LeClaire writes that IHOP and Lou Engle are being “falsely accused of ‘demonizing’ homosexuals in Uganda.” IHOP’s response says that while it believes all sex outside of the marriage of one man and one woman is sinful, “We honor the dignity and rights of all whose opinion differs from ours” and that IHOP is “open to civil dialogue and mutual respect.” The filmmakers, says IHOP, “pursued a deceptive means to achieve a hateful, polarizing result.”
In fact, Engle is a remarkably polarizing figure who has frequently describes those who disagree with him on abortion and marriage as being in league with Satan in a confrontation between good an evil. “God Loves Uganda” includes footage of Engle’s pro-Prop. 8 rally in California at which he warned that allowing same-sex couples to get married would unleash “sexual insanity” and a spirit “more demonic than Islam.” In 2011, he organized an event in Detroit that was pitched to local pastors as a unity event for people of faith to pray for Detroit’s economy when its actual purpose was to “invade Dearborn” and convert followers of “demonic” Islam to Christianity.
Perhaps the most laughable statement in IHOP’s response is this:
Our primary mandate as an organization is prayer and humanitarian action; it is not political. We are not involved in U.S. politics, let alone politics in another nation.
Not involved in US politics? Where do we begin?
"The church’s vocation is to rule history with God...The same authority that has been given to Christ Jesus for overwhelming conquering and dominion has been given to the saints of the most high....We’re God’s rulers upon the earth...We will govern over kings and judges will have to submit...We’re called to rule! To change history! To be co-regents with God!"
Engle has been intensely involved in US politics, hosting “The Call” prayer rallies in election years to denounce legal abortion and politicians that support it. He worked hard to mobilize support for anti-gay Proposition 8 in California.
In 2008 he passionately opposed the election of Barack Obama and declared that by choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate, McCain had “gone to war for America, for our families, and for our children. And this war, we cannot afford to lose.”
More recently IHOP and its leader Mike Bickel were at the center of organizing dominionist leaders to put on “The Awakening,” a 2011 prayer rally that served as the launch of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s 2012 presidential campaign. Bickel served as the event’s MC. The head of IHOP’s Tallahassee branch, Pam Oslen, was on the Perry campaign’s Florida leadership team.
Nothing like putting things in perspective.
At the end of a week in which Religious Right leaders, cable TV pundits, and conservative politicians acted as if freedom were being destroyed because a rich TV star was suspended for making offensive racist and anti-gay comments, the Parliament in Uganda passed a bill that threatens gay people with life in prison.
And with that vote, all the alarmist bluster about persecution from Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal and every Religious Right leader who saw a chance to boost year-end fundraising by jumping on the martyrdom bandwagon was made to look ridiculous.
This week’s news gave us plenty of evidence about real persecution, and it had nothing to do with Duck Dynasty. The face of persecution is not Phil Robertson, but the terrified LGBT people in Uganda who fear that they are about to be hunted. Persecution looks like gay teenagers in Russia being beaten by thugs, and by gay parents who have the ability to leave Russia fleeing because anti-gay political leaders are threatening to take their children from them. Persecution looks like LGBT people all over the globe whose lives and freedom are threatened by new laws that enshrine discrimination and define them as criminals. Persecution looks like LGBT teens in Jamaica facing vigilante violence. And on and on.
Newsweek reported a week ago that Ethiopia had declared war on gay men this year, noting, “A representative from the Ethiopian Inter-Religious Council Against Homosexuality announced that the council was making ‘promising’ progress in convincing the government to introduce the death penalty to punish ‘homosexual acts.’”
How do American conservative religious and political figures respond to this kind of persecution? Not with shouts of outrage but with enthusiastic cheering. It is no small irony that many of those most loudly screaming "persecution" over Robertson's suspension have been equally vocal supporters of international efforts to literally criminalize homosexuality.
Brian Brown, Pat Buchanan, Matt Barber, and a sad parade of other religious conservatives fawn over Russia’s violently anti-democratic strongman Vladimir Putin as if he were Christendom’s new Defender of the Faith. Putin, in Barber’s words, is being allowed to “out-Christian our once-Christian nation.” (Of course many American Christians want nothing to do with Barber or his interpretation of the faith.)
And to their lasting shame, American Religious Right leaders’ financial and political support have been inflaming anti-gay passions in Uganda for years. Lou Engle and Scott Lively actually traveled to Uganda and helped rally support for the bill. The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, who takes such umbrage at FRC’s designation as a hate group, dismissed criticism of the Uganda law in its earlier and more sinister incarnation, calling the proposed law an effort to “uphold moral conduct.”
There’s no indication that the Uganda bill’s passage is causing any noticeable soul-searching among the far right. Far from it. The American Family Association’s always-repellant Bryan Fischer invoked the Duck Dynasty flap in celebrating the passage of the anti-gay law in Uganda: “Uganda stands with Phil. Makes homosexuality contrary to public policy. It can be done.”
Actually, as offensive as Phil Robertson’s statements were, they pale in comparison to Fischer’s. Robertson hasn’t suggested, as far as I know, that gay people should be arrested and put in prison for life. And I seriously doubt that Robertson has ever traveled to Russia, Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, or Australia to promote legal discrimination against and criminalization of LGBT people or anyone who advocates for equality, the way right-wing figures like Engle, Lively, Brown, Mat Staver, Peter LaBarbera, Paul Cameron, and others have.
No worries about the Olympics on the American Right. In fact the Illinois-based Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society is excited about having its 2014 “World Congress of Families” summit in Moscow, which they see as a new stronghold for “traditional values” against the secular moral squalor of Western Europe.
Conservative activists were prepared to see Phil Robertson as a victim of religious persecution because they’ve been primed for years with the “religious liberty” narrative being pushed by Religious Right leaders and their conservative Catholic allies. They portray criticism as persecution. They equate being on the losing side of policy debates with being under the heel of oppression. And when courts and legislatures struggle with the challenge of balancing religious liberty with other constitutional values like equality under the law, they see only black-and-white battles between good and evil.
Their rhetoric cheapens and distorts the meaning of terms like tyranny. Anti-religious persecution is a violent, heartbreaking reality for Christians in many parts of the world. But not for the privileged and powerful figures in the United States who wrap themselves in the mantle of martyrdom.
The next time you hear some talking head on Fox talk about persecution, think about people in the Central African Republic who are caught in sectarian violence verging on genocide. Or think about LGBT people whose lives and freedom are threatened every day in the name of Christian values.
An anti-gay law championed by evangelical Christians in Uganda with the enthusiastic backing of Religious Right leaders in the U.S. has passed parliament and is awaiting the president’s decision on whether to sign it. The bill as passed apparently no longer includes the death penalty provision but makes homosexuality a crime punishable by life in prison. LGBT activist Frank Mugisha says his colleagues are panicking, fearing that “there is going to be a hunt.”
Martin Ssempa, a Ugandan minister who has pushed the bill for years, and has been praised by Religious Right leaders like Matt Barber for his strident anti-gay stance, tweeted “Let Freedom Ring!” and posted a celebratory picture of himself with David Bahati, the bill’s sponsor.
Ssempa got plenty of help from American Religious Right figures like Lou Engle and Scott Lively, who is facing a human rights lawsuit brought by Sexual Minorities of Uganda. “This human rights crisis was made here in the United States,” says Tarso Luís Ramos, Executive Director at Political Research Associates.
Given that American Religious Right figures had praised the bill in its even more draconian form – Tony Perkins called it an effort to “uphold moral conduct” – it is sadly unsurprising to see some of them cheering. American Family Association hatemonger Bryan Fischer connected the law’s passage to the controversy in America over Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson. Fischer tweeted:
Uganda stands with Phil. Makes homosexuality contrary to public policy. It can be done. http://t.co/QeEvVkfBGa— Bryan Fischer (@BryanJFischer) December 20, 2013
So much for “live and let live.”
Earlier this week, The New York Times posted an excerpt from a new Roger Ross Williams documentary on how the Religious Right in the U.S. is shaping anti-gay activism in African countries like Uganda. The documentary includes interviews with International House of Prayer (IHOP) leaders Lou Engle and Mike Bickle, whom we have followed closely here at Right Wing Watch, along with footage of IHOP missionaries at work in Uganda.
Engle organizes the anti-choice and anti-gay The Call rallies, which regularly feature Republican and Religious Right leaders. In 2010, he brought The Call to Uganda to help promote the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which would have made homosexuality a capital offense. (He later backpedaled after facing scrutiny.)
In the film, Episcopal priest Kapya Kaoma makes a reference to Seven Mountains Dominionism, the belief that fundamentalist Christians have a mandate to take control of the seven major spheres of society: government, business, education, media, arts and entertainment, the family and the church. As Engle explains, there are “seven mountains of influence” that right-wing Christians must “reclaim” in order to win over society.
Engle and Bickle are also key players in the New Apostolic Reformation, a movement of self-appointed prophets and apostles who believe they are spokesmen for God on Earth. Bickle has claimed that gay people are the targets of “flaming missiles” from Satan and has warned that the “gay marriage agenda” is a sign of the End Times as it is “rooted in the depths of Hell.” At one IHOP service, Bickle also claimed that Oprah Winfrey is the harbinger of the Antichrist:
In 2008, Engle held massive rallies to encourage Californians to pass Proposition 8, which banned marriage equality, arguing that legalizing same-sex marriage “will unleash a spirit more demonic than Islam, a spirit of lawlessness and anarchy, and sexual insanity will be unleashed unto the earth.” His rallies have focused on creating a “movement” of ex-gays to stop a Satanic “homosexual tornado” that will “destroy America.” (He specifically targeted Ellen DeGeneres for “conversion.”) In addition, he has warned that the separation of the separation of church and state and gay rights are putting the U.S. on the path to Nazism:
While Engle and Bickle have extended their influence to nations like Uganda in order to export their anti-gay politics, they have continued to increase their clout in America’s Religious Right.
In August of last year, Texas Governor Rick Perry organized and hosted a large public prayer rally featuring a host of Religious Right activists along with various self-proclaimed "prophets" of the New Apostolic Reformation. For the most part, other elected leaders stayed away from the event, with the notable exception of Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, who spoke and delivered a prayer from the stage.
It was no surprise that Brownback would have no qualms about sharing the stage with these sorts of modern-day prophets, as he had a long history of working closely them and speaking at their events back when he was serving in the US Senate and even lived with Lou Engle for several months. In fact, Brownback's close ties to Engle became a bit of an issue when he was running for Governor in 2010.
And just as it was no surprise that Brownback would appear at "The Response," it is also not surprising that he has now publicly endorsed a similar prayer event that is taking place in Topeka, Kansas this weekend called Reign Down, organized by a group that began "in July of 2005, [when] God woke up a 31-year old stay-at-home mom to give her a vision" of then-President George W. Bush "repenting on behalf of the nation, culminating in a movement of God's hand across America to bring healing, restoration and unprecedented unity and prosperity."
When Reign Down organized a prayer event on the National Mall in 2008, severe thunderstorms threatened to cancel it ... until their prayers held them off:
Leading up to the four-hour event, a massive storm with life-threatening tornadoes, heavy rain and winds, and lightning was heading straight towards the gathering at the National Mall in D.C. The National Park Service issued one warning, saying that after three warnings—or the first bolt of lightning—they were going to pull the plug and the event would not happen. Realizing it was beyond their control, with less than an hour until the event was to start, ReignDown USA's leaders and intercessors knelt behind the stage and cried out for God to divert the storm to the North and the South. They called upon the power of the Holy Spirit for the winds to shift from the West to the East and blow the storm away. As they cried out on their knees and begged God to move…He did! The wind shifted! The Park Service, watching the weather radar, said that somehow the storm cell was shifting its course and heading to the North.
And this weekend, Reign Down - which has partnerships with groups and leaders like Lou Engle, The Call, Cindy Jacobs, GodTV, the Congressional Prayer Caucus, and Rep. Trent Franks - will host a prayer rally in Kansas that will be simulcast across the country, and Gov. Brownback has not only filmed a video announcing his participation and support but issued a proclamation calling on citizens to "collectively repent of distancing ourselves from God and ask for His mercy on us" and declaring Saturday to be a "day of restoration":
TO THE PEOPLE OF KANSAS, GREETINGS:
WHEREAS, the State of Kansas will host the national simulcast of REIGNDOWN USA in Topeka on December 8, 2012, bringing thousands here from across the country; and
WHEREAS, people from across America will join the millions from around the world on TV simulcast live from MacLennan Park, in the heart of America; and
WHEREAS, the first REIGNDOWN celebration was held 2008 in Washington DC, on the Capitol Grounds, introduced by proclamation of the President of the United States of America, with millions participating on site, on TV, and by computer; and
WHEREAS, regional REIGNDOWN events continued until the need was seen for the gathering to be held in the heart of our Nation; and
WHEREAS, many of our families have slid into poverty, endangering out next generation of citizens, our lands are parched by drought, our quality jobs are scarce, business and industry are struggling to expand, and many of our people have fallen into despair; and
WHEREAS, our Nation’s greatest leaders have called on a merciful God for favor during troubled times, such as:
“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God.” - Abraham Lincoln, 1863.
“The propitious [favorable] smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.” - George Washington, 1789.
“I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.” - Thomas Jefferson, 1787; and
WHEREAS, we collectively repent of distancing ourselves from God and ask for His mercy on us:
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Sam Brownback, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF KANSAS, do hereby proclaim December 8th 2012, as a
Day of Restoration
in Kansas and ask every citizen of our state to join in asking a Holy God to bring healing and restoration – help in mending broken lives, bringing peace to our families, our communities, and this land.
DONE: At the Capitol in Topeka
under the Great Seal of the
State this 23rd day of
November, A.D. 2012
BY THE GOVERNOR: Samuel Brownback
Earlier this week Kyle reported that Lou Engle is discarding his pledge not to vote for any candidate who either supports abortion rights or opposes them but has exceptions for cases of rape or incest, which would include Mitt Romney. Engle explained that he can still support Romney because his friend had a “compelling dream” proving that “Romney was clearly favorable from a divine perspective.” While he did not offer details about the dream, a fellow prophet who co-authored with Engle The Call of the Elijah Revolution writes in Charisma that four years ago he was visited by God in a dream and He spoke to him about Romney and America’s future.
James Goll says God told him in a dream that “liberalism will reign for a season” but will ultimately succumb to “true conservatism.” After waking up and watching a baseball game on TV, Goll recounts that “the external voice of the Lord came to me saying, ‘When the nation has been thrown a curve ball, I will have a man prepared who comes from the state of Michigan and he will have a big mitt capable of catching whatever is thrown his way.’” According to Goll, than man is none other than Mitt Romney!
What I am about to share is to be discerned and prayed over as is the case in all revelatory experiences. It was only in recent months, after I re-listened to a recorded word given to me by a trusted prophet in January 2010, that I realized the magnitude of the word given directly to me by the Holy Spirit. This prophetic person stated that I had been given a visitation in early 2008, which was for the country and was governmental in nature. I had thought it was for then, but the Lord said it was a word for what was about to come.
I searched through my materials and realized, I did have a visitation in early 2008. It was governmental in nature and for the United States of America. (Maybe my getting it wrong and then getting it right will encourage some of the rest of you in your three-stage journey of revelation interpretation application.)
I was alone sleeping in a downstairs room in my home in Franklin, Tenn. Michal Ann was still with us at the time, though very ill with her long-fought battle with cancer. We had 'round-the-clock home caregivers with her—whether in our bedroom, at the hospital or in the rehabilitation unit. We slept the last two years of her dear life apart, as she was constantly being taken care of.
I was desperate and seeking the Lord that night in a little hideaway room down in our basement. That night the Lord gave me a vivid dream followed by a waking vision and an experience where the external audible voice of the Lord came to me.
In the dream, I saw the nation on a teeter-totter tipping back and forth going to and fro with great instability. We were going up and down and up and down and it seemed there was no relief in sight. The United States was reeling from fatigue of wars, corruption and economic uncertainty.
Then the voice of the Lord came in the dream, Liberalism will reign for a season in the land and then it will become popular for moderacy to rule, which could ultimately lead to true conservatism. It was not the word I honestly wanted to hear from the Holy Spirit at the time but it came very succinctly to me anyway. Sometimes, we have to remove our own preconceived prejudices with our tainted filters to be able perceive a clear word from the Lord.
Suddenly, I was awakened from the dream and the basement room was tangibly filled with the presence of destiny. I then saw in the seer realm a baseball game in action. A young pitcher was throwing a ball to the plate with great force and seeming agility. It was a curve ball that appears to be a strike but instead it was not a ball for the batter to swing at. Another player was squatted behind the plate with a huge catcher's mitt. He caught the off-target ball as it pounded into his glove.
Then the external voice of the Lord came to me saying, When the nation has been thrown a curve ball, I will have a man prepared who comes from the state of Michigan and he will have a big mitt capable of catching whatever is thrown his way.
But the Lord said there would be a man prepared who would come from the state of Michigan who would have a big mitt. Little did I know at that time that Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, was born in the state of Michigan. Little did I know, when I received this in 2008, that he would win his party's primary for the 2012 national elections!
In a new opinion piece, Lou Engle explains that that he has always had a strict principle that he will not vote "for anyone who by legal decree supports the shedding of innocent blood, believing such a vote would make me an accomplice to the act" and always "to reject the compromise of simply voting for the lesser of two evils, believing that my allegiance is given to a higher King and a higher kingdom, therefore my no-vote actually becomes a prophetic act, a vote of conscience, not abdication."
Engle's position also included "no exceptions for rape and incest, understanding that life begins at conception" ... but like so many other Religious Right activists, Engle too has found a way to justify voting for Mitt Romney; in his case because a close friend had a dream that showed "Romney was clearly favorable from a divine perspective" and other "prophetic experiences [that] seemed to indicate that Romney was a sort of window of mercy to America":
At about this time of crisis in my own thought processes, my closest friend (and a true prophet in my life) had a compelling dream concerning Romney's viability as a candidate. In the dream, Romney was clearly favorable from a divine perspective. After this, the substance of my friend's dream was immediately confirmed by another prophetic encounter from another well known prophetic voice.
Now hear me, this election is not about Romney being the great answer to America's problems. Rather, these prophetic experiences seemed to indicate that Romney was a sort of window of mercy to America on several fronts, but chiefly the dividing of Jerusalem. The thought of protecting that ancient covenantal bond of God shifted my paradigm dramatically. I found myself having to peer into another biblical principle that I heretofore had not pondered with the same intensity as I had the life issue.
As I sought the Lord concerning these various biblical truths and prophetic words, it was as if a light began to shine into my heart. I sensed the Lord saying, Will you stand with Me in my covenantal faithfulness? Will you stand for my ancient covenant with My people? A deep abiding "yes" began to conquer my arguments.
With that said, I am declaring my best, personal understanding of the Lord 's heart in this hour: that in this election, America 's future is on dangerous ground, facing judgment not only over abortion and other key issues, but most definitely over the high possibility of breaking faith with God's covenant with Jerusalem, the land of Israel, and His covenant people. President Obama has publicly called for the return of the land of Jerusalem and Israel to the pre-1967 boundaries. I can't go there. I won't. My heart had been opened to another great theme: The Life of the unborn has called me and God 's covenant to the Jewish people restrains me.
I am voting for Romney.
In clean conscience,
Back in February, we reported that pastor Anne Gimenez was in the process of recreating the 1980 Washington for Jesus rally, which she led with her late husband, Bishop John Gimenez. The new election-oriented prayer rally, called America for Jesus, is scheduled to be held in Philadelphia’s Independence Mall in September and has already received the endorsements of far-right dominionists including Cindy Jacobs, Lou Engle, Jim Garlow and Harry Jackson.
But as with Rick Perry’s The Response and Lou Engle’s The Call prayer rallies, it was only a matter of time before more mainstream Religious Right leaders linked arms with their more openly dominionists brethren.
The latest America for Jesus solicitation mentions support from not only New Apostolic Reformation leaders like Che Ahn, Rick Joyner, Chuck Pierce, Doug Stringer and Barbara Yoder, but also from David Barton of WallBuilders, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel. Even televangelists Kenneth Copeland, Gordon Robertson and John Hagee have endorsed the event.
In promotional materials [pdf], the event’s organizers use language closely centered around Seven Mountains dominionism, which calls for conservative Christians to take dominion over the seven spheres of society: family; arts and entertainment; business; education; religion and the church; media; and government. They also dabble in some Christian Nation revisionist history, using two fake quotes attributed to founding fathers George Washington (“It is impossible to govern the world without God and the Bible”) and James Madison (“We have staked the future upon our capacity to sustain ourselves according the Ten Commandments of God”).
The Bible provides guiding principles for all spheres of society: government, family, church, science and technology, economics and business, education, media and communications, and arts and entertainment. Every book of the Bible gives us instruction and principles on how to establish God’s kingdom purposes on earth.
If we live by His commands in our own lives, we will impact people around us and their spheres of society. And if Christian leaders in these spheres will uphold God’s principles in their positions of influence, God’s blessings will be multiplied in a healthy and wealthy society….God’s kingdom purposes will come forth on earth as in heaven!
Lou Engle is redoubling his efforts at building a prayer movement to stop the “homosexual tornado” before it destroys America, and told members of The Ramp, an anti-gay youth ministry, that he had dreams of 100,000 gays and lesbians becoming part of a “first wave” of ex-gay preachers who will bring about “radical salvations and healings of AIDS.” He led a prayer for “asking God to loose a movement, a divine breakthrough, 100,000 gay and lesbian men and women, loose a sound that DC can’t contend with, loose a sound that the media can’t contend with, overflow the media with the sound of revival.”
While addressing the Alabama-based youth ministry group, The Ramp, Lou Engle urged the audience to go see “The Avengers” in order to learn about how to fight demons: “The Avengers is a must-see for spiritual warfare.” “I want to be the Hulk,” Engle declared, “I was so moved in that movie when the music’s going and Hulk’s coming—boom, boom—I start weeping in the movie I am so moved by the Holy Spirit, now you really think I’m crazy.”
In March, Kyle reported that Rick Scarborough of Vision America was launching a new effort, 40 Days to Save America, to rally conservative voters before the November election and stop the “daily deluge of sinful activity”:
We fully understand and are grateful for the fact that America was birthed first in your heart. We acknowledge that America has been a blessed nation above all the nations of the world. Hallelujah!
But we also acknowledge that we have forgotten as a people that it was you and your laws that made this country the land of freedom and opportunity that has been the envy of the world for more than two hundred years. Dear Lord, forgive us of our pride and apathy that has allowed men to call good, evil; and evil, good. We acknowledge that we have grown calloused to the daily deluge of sinful activity, degradation and speaking that has become the routine in American life, and we repent.
Reignite our love for purity and holiness, and create in us a will to initiate the changes in our society that will allow you to once again bless our beloved America.
Scarborough is now unveiling endorsements of the effort from Senator Roy Blunt and Congressmen Todd Akin, Doug Lamborn, Duncan Hunter and Louie Gohmert, and major Religious Right groups like the American Family Association, Concerned Women for America, Liberty Counsel, the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and the Family Research Council. Dominionist organizations including Lou Engle’s The Call and Cindy Jacobs’ Generals International have also signed on, along with Janet Porter’s Faith2Action, Jerry Boykin’s Kingdom Warriors, Sam Roriguez’s National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and Jim Garlow’s Renewing American Leadership.
The board of directors appears to be a who’s who of leading conservative activists and pastors:
40 Days for Life
General Jerry Boykin
Harvest Prayer Ministries
Dr. Jim Garlow
Renewing American Leadership
Bishop Anne Gimenez
Rock Church, Virginia Beach, VA
Bishop Harry Jackson
Hope Christian Church
Dr. Robert Jeffress
First Baptist Church, Dallas, TX
Concerned Women for America
Father Frank Pavone
Priests for Life
Family Research Council
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez
National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
Dr. Rick Scarborough
American Family Association
Preaching at The Call: Virginia last month, Lou Engle insisted that “the homosexual agenda can be broken.” If not, he warned, America may be doomed. Engle, who promoted the prayer rally by calling on attendees to channel Confederate generals to “restrain” the demonic powers behind the “homosexual agenda,” said that they can succeed “not because of our boastfulness or our greatness, but because of our repentance, because of a great revival and maybe even a great shaking and judgment that brings us to rubble so we finally get desperate enough to return to the Lord.”
Last week, PFAW’s Right Wing Watch reported that a who’s who of Religious Right activists had recently gathered in the Capitol, with the endorsement of Speaker John Boehner, for a George Washington-themed prayer event.
Last night, Rachel Maddow did a segment on the event, drawing heavily from Right Wing Watch research to expose the extremism of its participants:
Right Wing Watch uncovered video of Lou Engle claiming that marriage equality would “unleash” a “sexual insanity”; Engle praying against health care reform with Sen. DeMint and then-Sen. Brownback; Jim Garlow saying that Satan is attacking the U.S. with marriage equality; David Barton claiming that AIDS can’t be cured because it’s God’s punishment for being gay; and the head of Alveda King’s group saying that supporting abortion rights is akin to supporting terrorism.
Here at People For the American Way, we spend a lot of time monitoring right-wing figures who seem far out of the mainstream. And then the Speaker of the House invites them to the Capitol.
During his speech at the Christian Broadcasting Network’s “Week of Prayer” yesterday, Lou Engle asked for support of his upcoming The Call: Virginia prayer rally, saying that Virginia should fight back against Washington D.C., just as Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson did during the Civil War. General Lee “had an anointing or something,” Engle said, “he was able to restrain Washington, he took his stand and held back those force.” Engle also pointed to Stonewall Jackson for “rallying the Virginians” against the Union as a model to fight the “homosexual agenda” and the demonic “principalities and powers” behind homosexuality. Engle said, “Raise up a stonewall to restrain the agenda that is coming out of D.C.”
Engle also tried to link the political ascendency of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) to a prophecy that Cindy Jacobs, whom he called a “crazy lady” and the “scariest lady in America,” told him about Hispanics ending abortion rights in California, noting that Rubio appeared to be wearing a LIFE wristband on Election Day:
Like his fellow Proposition 8 supporters Che Ahn and Jim Garlow, Lou Engle maintains that their prayers led to the reversal of marriage equality in California in 2008 and a “sovereign appointment” with former San Francisco mayor (and current Lt. Gov.) Gavin Newsom “to call him to accountability to what he was going to do in that city concerning the homosexual agenda.” While speaking today with Pat Robertson on the 700 Club to publicize the upcoming The Call: Virginia, which Robertson has endorsed, Engle said his September, 2010 prayer rally in Sacramento “removed” the state’s governor from office. However, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had already made the decision not to run for re-election in November, 2009, and Democrat Jerry Brown won the gubernatorial race later that year.
Robertson: Tell me one example where prayer that you know of—I know many—changed things in a nation?
Engle: I look at my own story and my prayer history in California, on a forty day season of fasting and prayer, God spoke to me that I needed to contend with those heavenly powers through humility and fasting. We believe, two stadium gatherings, a forty day fast across California, the governor of California, right after The Call in Sacramento, was removed from office, also put me in front of Gavin Newsom in a sovereign appointment to call him to accountability to what he was going to do in that city concerning the homosexual agenda. It’s actually changed so much, in my life and with the journey that I’m in, let alone many, many, stories of prayer changing history.
Robertson: One more time, Fredericksburg, Virginia, a linchpin state, there’s people coming all around the nation to join The Call.
It appears that every time Lou Engle leads a The Call prayer rally, the future of America is at stake. Later this month, Engle will be bringing The Call to Fredericksburg, Virginia, this time with the help of televangelist Pat Robertson. Engle said that his rally intends to “intercede on behalf of the blood that has been shed as a result of racism and abortion and ask for God’s mercy on behalf of our nation” by praying at Civil War sites, and Robertson claimed the event is part of a “spiritual battle which can only be won by overwhelming prayer”:
Lou Engle says Virginia has always been instrumental in the great shifts in American history. It has always risen as a lead state in this nation - how Virginia goes affects the whole nation. Virginia is an “in the gap” state (as described by the prophet Ezekiel in Ezekiel 22 of those who intercede before God on behalf of the needs of His people). The hope is that as the nation gathers in Fredericksburg, Virginia on May 26th, 2012 that God will use Virginia as a revival catalyst, a wall of intercession will be built, and God will show this nation an undeserved mercy. Lou feels that we are being brought into another great crisis in American history. We are in a “hinge of history moment” where we need to cry out to God for the Blood of Jesus to cleanse us for the sins of this nation. The word Lou received from God is, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” God has shown him the “house divided” is the racial tension in this country. Also, he received prophetic revelation that the grace period for abortion is coming to an end and we must atone for the shedding of innocent blood. This bloodshed has its roots in American history. Lou says in Appomattox and Fredericksburg, Virginia is where much blood was spilled in this country during the Civil and Revolutionary Wars. That is a part of the significance of rallying in prayer where much blood was spilled – to intercede on behalf of the blood that has been shed as a result of racism and abortion and ask for God’s mercy on behalf of our nation. Also, Fredericksburg is located 50 miles south of Washington, D.C. and Lou feels that God wants people to intercede “right at the gate” of our nation’s capital. This is our hope: “God save America.” Through fasting and prayer during this critical hour, we dare to believe that God again will show us His mercy.
TheCall has had gatherings and events since its founding twelve years ago that coincide with the racial tension and abortion issues. TheCall Detroit interceded for and has seen reconciliation among the races. TheEstherCall was recently held as 39 women (representing the 39 years since the Roe v Wade decision) who had either had abortions or were survivors of abortions. They prayer walked for 250 miles for 21 days to intercede for life and the consideration of the health care law that would offer insurance coverage for abortions. After the May 26th event in Fredericksburg, TheEstherCall will have a time of prayer and communion at Appomattox, VA and a declarative word over Washington, D.C. Unexpectedly, this will be happening around the time the Supreme Court will be making a decision concerning the health care bill.
Pat Robertson also received a word from God during the New Year 2012:
“Your country will be torn apart by internal stress. A house divided cannot stand…This is a spiritual battle which can only be won by overwhelming prayer. The future of the world is at stake because if America falls, there no longer exists a strong champion of freedom and a champion of the oppressed of the world. There must be an urgent call to prayer.”
Robertson believes the Lord is calling each of us to pray for America and we need a great move of the Holy Spirit to cover our nation…to bring repentance, godliness, and unity to this land that we love. He supports TheCall in Fredericksburg, VA and hopes people will be a part of standing in the gap for America. He believes with all of his heart that praying in unity is exactly what God wants us to do right now. Although as a nation we’re facing a time of maximum stress and peril, Robertson says God Almighty hasn’t given up on this land. Our God is love and His desire is salvation, not judgment. Robertson urges everyone to stand together in this battle as we fast and pray for the future of our country.
One of the main concerns addressed during Awakening 2012 was how to outreach to young people and the Hispanic community since the Religious Right’s leadership is largely white and aging. After the passing of Chuck Colson on Saturday, Lou Engle asked God to release “hundreds with the mantle of Chuck Colson” as part of a “new generation” of activists who will be like Elijah in fighting “Jezebel’s death culture” through a “cultural revolution” while praying over a group of young people, mostly homeschoolers, who attended the conference. Towards the end, Engle started reciting the Lord ’s Prayer but changed the last word from “heaven” to “America,” praying: “Thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in America.”
At the Awakening 2012’s panel on the “LGBT Agenda,” Lou Engle, who was not a panelist but an audience member, called for Religious Right leaders to launch a “massive concerted prayer movement” to counter the demonic “principalities and powers” behind gay rights activism. Panelists including Rena Lindevaldsen and Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel, Greg Quinlan of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, and former Texas board of education member Cynthia Dunbar jumped over each other in expressing their hope that Engle or another conservative would lead such a movement to stop the “two tornadoes coming to destroy America,” which he said are “the homosexual and abortion tornadoes.”
Engle, who brought The Call prayer rally to Uganda to help rally support for the country’s proposed “kill the gays bill,” lamented that he gets “blasted” over his anti-gay work and is “haunted that God has not opened the door for me to go after this thing.” Lindevaldsen agreed that “we need a prayer movement because a spiritual battle is at the root of this.”
It seems that Engle’s first prayer initiative, StoneWall Now, a “nation wide prayer movement” to “stand in the gap crying to God to restrain the homosexual ideology” isn’t going so well as its website is offline.
Engle: I think we need a massive, concerted prayer movement to deal with principalities and powers and pray that God would release laborers into the harvest field.
Barber: If there is anybody in the room who is adept that leading that ...
Dunbar: You’ve got that in your heart, with your spirit, and we’re with you.
Quinlan: We need that.
Barber: Did you volunteer yourself, Lou?
Engle: In 2006, we did 50 days and 50 nights of intercession of seven young people, we were given a dream of two tornadoes coming to destroy America and they were the homosexual and abortion tornadoes. In the dream I was given a sight to raise up intercession to confront those tornadoes.
Engle: And Bound4Life was raised up but I'm haunted that God has not opened the door for me to go after this thing, I’ve tried, I’ve gotten blasted.
Barber: It’s time.
Engle: I don’t know how to do it but I am crying out to God for an answer.
Lindevaldsen: Meet with us afterwards ... we need a prayer movement because a spiritual battle is at the root of this.
The Freedom Federation – an anti-Obama amalgam of Religious Right groups, "apostolic" ministries, and the corporate-funded astroturf Americans for Prosperity – is holding its third annual Awakening conference in Orlando, Florida this weekend. Here’s how it describes the event:
Uniting our Voices Around Shared Values: Turning Voices into Votes
A war is raging against our shared values. Our faith and freedom are under attack. Silence in the face of this war is not an option. Decisive action is needed. Join with others who share the core values that make America a great nation. Take a stand for righteousness and justice and be part of a new revolution to take back America. The time has come to turn our voices into votes and to change the course of history.
Outreach to the Hispanic community is a major goal of this year’s Awakening and the theme of Friday’s opening night session. That marks a continuation of the Freedom Federation’s efforts to re-brand the Religious Right as a multiracial and multigenerational movement, and to re-brand the culture war as a “social justice” movement. Last year’s gathering included a major effort to claim a religious grounding for the anti-tax, anti-government agenda of Grover Norquist and the Tea Party.
This year’s conference features Samuel Rodriguez, the head of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, who tries to sell the Religious Right’s culture war to Latinos while trying to get Religious Right leaders to make themselves more palatable to Latinos. Rodriguez recently said that Latinos are here to “bring panic to the kingdom of darkness” and “make the gospel of Jesus Christ, the church, the most influential institution in America.” He said God has sent illegal immigrants here to “redeem Christianity” in America.
Also scheduled to address this year’s conference is Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a favorite of Tea Party and Religious Right leaders who describe him as the party’s Latino Ronald Reagan. Rubio is reportedly concocting a hollowed-out version of the DREAM Act that will try to help Romney and the GOP fix their well-earned image as hostile to the aspirations of millions of immigrants.
A new feature at this year’s Awakening is Patriot Camp on Saturday for kids ages 5-15. Organizers promise that kids will learn about “the Christian principles on which America was founded,” which is important since, “As most Christians know, our true American heritage is not taught in schools, especially not in an objective manner.”
Notably for this Obama-bashing group, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is sending a video presentation; senior Likud official Moshe Ya'alon, Vice Premier, Minister of Strategic Affairs, is also listed as a speaker. Also on the list, some of whom might appear by video: Former GOP presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, and Reps. John Mica and Allen West. West has been warming up for the conference by announcing, McCarthy-style, that dozens of progressive members of the House of Representatives are communists.
The list of speakers is a Who’s Who of the Religious Right and conservative legal movements, including characters like spiritual warrior Lou Engle and Cindy “God kills birds when America supports gays” Jacobs, who once haunted the fringes of the far right but have since been welcomed into a movement seeking to build the broadest political base possible. Among them:
Should be more fun than Disney World. Watch for updates.