TheCall, a fundamentalist Christian prayer rally, concluded its 11-11-11 event in Detroit recently. The Kansas-based group, known for its anti-gay, anti-Muslim message got mixed reviews. Event protesters, consisting not just of LGBT activists and members of the Islamic community, converged on Ford Field, where the event was held. Clergy from other Christian denominations in the area spoke out against the crusade. Here’s a wrapup of TheCall’s purpose and protesters’ response.
Demonic forces are at work in certain areas of the U.S., TheCall founder Lou Engle preaches. Detroit, he says, is a “microcosm of our national crisis in many areas including the rising tide of Islam.” He points to abortion, racial strife, failing economy and same-sex marriage as the fruits of the devil in Detroit. Engle, a Pentecostal preacher, explaining that “on 11-11-11, when the body of Christ from all over the nation converge here on this field of dreams [Ford Field is the Detroit Lions home stadium], we believe, with united fasting and prayer, God is going to answer from heaven [and] He’s going to bring healing to this city.”
Though Engle tried to promote a message of interracial spiritual unity, some Christian groups questioned his motives. Charles E. Williams II, pastor of King Solomon Baptist Church, said TheCall had “little to do with Christianity and all to do with we’re going to come to Detroit, and we’re going to put some fear in black Detroiters.”
TheCall’s 24-hour prayer marathon in Detroit is one of several similar events across the nation, whose purpose is to transform cities Engle deems the cause of America’s destruction. Detroit has the largest U.S. Islamic population and also the largest Muslim population outside of the Middle East. Although some event attenders say they heard no anti-Muslim message, notorious anti-Muslim pastor Terry Jones has attended TheCall rallies. Acts 17 Apologetics, which was jailed for disorderly conduct at a Detroit Arab event, have also participated.
Engle has supported legislation in Uganda that allows people to be put to death for being gay. He has also gotten support from Westboro Baptist Church, known for its anti-gay funeral protests. Engle has organized other rallies around legislation outlawing gay marriage.
When the Muslim community in Detroit was stepping up security in preparation for problems with TheCall rallies, other Christian churches reached out to support them. Other religious groups in Detroit protested TheCall, saying it was spreading hate, not love.