This weekend, Religious Right groups will kickoff election season by holding the first in a series of rallies, conferences and other events to stir up their base and turn out the vote in November.
On Sept. 3-4, Lou Engle, the raspy-voiced founder of the neo-Pentecostal group TheCall, will lead the initial event in Sacramento. “Faithful Christians” will gather to pray for the “sanctity of life,” the “sacredness of marriage,” and the “preservation of religious liberty.”
“Ten years ago,” Engle writes on his Web site, “four hundred thousand primarily young people, the consecrated ones, the Nazirites, gathered to the Mall in D.C. to fast and pray for America. Now, ten years later, the stakes couldn’t be higher. Seismic political, economic, and societal shifts are drastically reshaping California, every state, and the nation. This is the time for a great spiritual outpouring to be unleashed to meet the demand of these times.”
Engle’s event, which will be broadcasted live all day Saturday on GodTV, is the first of Renewing American Leadership’s planned “prayer time” in anticipation of November elections. The self-proclaimed mission of Renewing American Leadership is to “preserve America’s Judeo-Christian heritage by defending and promoting the three pillars of American civilization: freedom, faith and free markets.”
Newt Gingrich is the honorary chairman of Renewing American Leadership, which has advertised TheCall and other events as part of its “Pray and A.C.T.” campaign.
A slew of other Religious Right leaders and groups have also endorsed these events, including: Jim Garlow of Skyline Church and Renewing American Leadership; Chuck Colson, founder of BreakPoint and The Colson Center; Jim Daly, president and CEO of Focus on the Family; Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage; Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas and host of “The Mike Huckabee Show”; Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr. of the High Impact Church Coalition; Richard Land from the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission; Alan Sears of the Alliance Defense Fund and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, among others.
TheCall and the other confabs coming up across the country, including a 40 day fast beginning Sept. 19 and ending Oct. 30, are being pegged as “religious events.” But no one should be fooled that these are about anything other than politics.
At Engle’s events, he uses divisive rhetoric, asserting that those who are pro-life and oppose same-sex marriage are on “God’s side,” while others who believe differently are siding with the dark side or Satan.
Engle has told his base that America needs government leaders who “line up with God’s Word.”
“This is a spiritual battle; it must be won in prayer,” he said on a conference call in 2008 to develop a strategy to win passage of Proposition 8 and similar ballot initiatives in other states. ‘We need to take away the rights of the powers of darkness and bring this resolution forward.”
Sacramento’s TheCall is sure to be full of more quotable rants that carry the same not-so-subtle warning: vote only for candidates who support the Religious Right agenda or you’ll be going against God.
It’s a message that is sure to get Engle’s followers to the polls, which is just what Gingrich and his gang are hoping for.