From The Edge:
Pastor Lou Engle has had a busy few weeks.
He backpedalled over the degree to which he supports Uganda’ anti-homosexuality bill after he spoke at a rally in the country’ capital last month. And Engle is now conducting prayer meetings at the Gateway House of Prayer in St. Louis through July 12.
A veil of secrecy has enveloped the nightly gatherings he and Michael Brown, who co-chairs his The Call ministry, have conducted. Both Gateway and Engle’ Web sites have removed any mention of the them, but activist Evan Hurst, who blogs for Truth Wins Out, attended a meeting on Tuesday, June 22.
He told EDGE in an exclusive interview Engle spoke for approximately an hour and a half before an audience of approximately 250 people; whom he described as surprisingly young.
Hurst said Engle spoke forcefully and convincingly, drawing cheers from the audience assembled in Gateway’ main meeting room. He said the pastor spoke of the “battle” or “warfare” in which they needed to engage through fasting and prayer. Engle’ comments focused on the idea of “reclaiming” the next American generation as a Christian, evangelical one.
“Lou Engle truly believes every word he says,” said Hurst. “He believes he is the prophet and believes he has been chosen to fight the gay ‘ideology.’ These people truly believe they are doing the work of God and that they are the only true Christians.”
Hurst further recalled the 90 minute prayer meeting.
“There is no amount of correct information that will convince them otherwise,” he said. “But I don’t think they see themselves as haters. You don’t have to be a malevolent person to get caught up in this type of ideology and that’ the scary part of it all.”
The Call has hosted prayer gatherings in other parts of the country. These include events in Washington, D.C., Nashville, Cincinnati and Houston. But the timing and depth of the St. Louis engagement, however, coincides with the National Organization for Marriage’ Summer for Marriage cross-country tour.
Wayne Besen, founder of Truth Wins Out, hopes LGBT people will speak out against Engle’ ministry, recognizing him as “an incredible danger to not only the movement, but the entire country.” He sees Engle’ rhetoric as part of a trend toward more radical speech as anti-gay leaders find themselves facing an increasingly more progressive national stance toward LGBT issues.
“As people like Engle realize they’re losing, they’re getting crazier, more radical, more rabid and more extreme,” said Besen. “This rhetoric borders on dangerous and people like this need to be closely monitored and watched. We need to take what they say seriously and continue to speak out against them.”