Posts filed under ‘TheCall’

TheCall, NOM’s Maggie Gallagher and Bishop Harry Jackson team up to promote 40-day fast against marriage equality

By Eden James

On Monday, Jeremy Hooper posted these two videos from Sunday’s “Pray & Act” webcast on God TV, supported by TheCall. The comments made by Gallagher and Jackson are what you might expect from them but what I found even more interesting is the creative camerawork used to obscure another apparent #turnoutFAIL:

Merriam-Webster should use those videos to define what a “smattering” of applause means.

But don’t make the mistake of underestimating the religious right. After TheCall Sacramento, this event was the second of four events scheduled during this 40-day fast against marriage equality, with the final event happening on the Lincoln Memorial steps on Sunday, October 30, less than 48 hours before the November 2 mid-term elections across the country.

The “Pray & Act” web site might refer only indirectly to the election, but it’s crystal clear what the religious right is up to over the next seven weeks. Especially when that web site includes a video of Newt Gingrich, leader of the 1994 “Republican Revolution” takeover of the House and a paragon of hypocrisy on marriage, on its front page.

Here’s a rundown of what they’re saying and who is behind it:

For these reasons, we call on all faithful Christians to join us in the fight to defend life, protect and revitalize marriage, and preserve religious liberty and the rights of conscience. We must work tireless in all the “seven spheres of cultural influence:” (1) the home, (2) the church, (3) civil government / law / military, (4) business / technology, (5) education, (6) media, and finally (7) arts / entertainment / professional sports.

(snip)

Accordingly, we are calling for the first of a series of national 40-day fasts, built on Joel 2 (righteousness) and Isaiah 58 (authentic biblical compassion). The first fast will begin at 7:14 am (based on 2 Chronicles 7:14) Eastern time, on Sept 20 and end at 7:14 am, Oct. 30, 2010. Although many will follow only a liquid diet, persons can fast as God directs them during this 40-day span.

(snip)

· Being consistent by voting in all elections only for candidates who affirm the sanctity of life in all stages and conditions, the integrity of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and religious liberty and respect for conscience.

SAVE 4 DATES FOR WEBCASTS TO PREPARE US FOR THE PRAYER TIME:

1. National Preparation for Pray & Act – SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 4 – SACRAMENTO, CA, the CA Capitol Building – Webcast on http://www.God.tv from 9am to 9pm Pacific time. (Come if you can.)

2. Seven Day Countdown Event – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 12 – WASHINGTON, DC, Greater New Hope Baptist Church, 816 Eighth St. NW, Washington, DC – Webcast from http://www.God.tv – 8pm Eastern, 7pm Central, 6pm Mountain, 5pm Pacific. (Come if you can.)

3. Official Launch Event – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 19 – WASHINGTON, DC – Webcast from http://www.AFA.com – 8pm Eastern, 7pm Central, 6pm Mountain, 5pm Pacific

4. Close Out Event – SATURDAY, OCT 30 – WASHINGTON, DC –Steps of the Lincoln Memorial – Webcast from http://www.AFA.com at 6pm Eastern, 5pm Central, 4 Mountain, 3pm Pacific.

WILL YOU HELP THE CHURCH ENGAGE?

Jim Garlow, Skyline Church & Renewing American Leadership
Chuck Colson, Founder Prison Fellowship & BreakPoint
Che Ahn, Harvest International Ministry
Vonette Bright, Co-Founder, Campus Crusade for Christ, International
Bishop Keith Butler, Founding Pastor, Word of Faith International Christian Center
Jim Daly, President & CEO, Focus on the Family
Lou Engle, TheCall to Conscience, TheCall
Father Joseph Fessio, Editor in Chief, Ignatius Press, San Francisco
Maggie Gallagher, National Organization for Marriage
Professor Robert George, Princeton University
Professor Timothy George, Dean, Beeson Divinity School
Jack Hayford, Founder and Chancellor, The King’s College and Seminary
Mike Huckabee, Former Governor of Arkansas & Host, The Mike Huckabee Show
Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr., High Impact Church Coalition
Cindy Jacobs, Generals of Intercession
Alveda King, Silent No More Awareness Campaign
Richard Land, The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
Ron Luce, Founder, Teen Mania & Battle Cry
Bishop Richard Malone, Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland (Maine)
Eva Muntean & Dolores Meehan, Co-Founders, West Coast Walk for Life, San Francisco
Penny Nance, Concerned Women for America
Tony Perkins, Family Research Council
James Robison, Life Outreach, International
Samuel Rodriguez, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
Alan Sears, Alliance Defense Fund
Chuck Stetson, Let’s Strengthen Marriage Campaign
Steve Strang, Publisher, Charisma Magazine
Tim Wildmon, American Family Association

There are a lot of familiar names there, of course. It’s a who’s who of the religious right — the same people who mobilized their movement to help pass Prop 8 in 2008. If you want to share information in the comments on what you know about some of the leaders and organizations mentioned above, go for it.

September 14, 2010 at 8:50 am 318 comments

VIDEOS: Three of the “best” moments from TheCall (Open Thread)

By Eden James

The Courage tracking team was able to load a number of videos from TheCall Sacramento late last night. For your viewing, er, pleasure, here are some of the “best” moments from Saturday’s #TheCallTurnoutFAIL on the Capitol Mall:

(1) Water World

Here’s a brief cut of that promised footage of some of the estimated 55,400 water bottles that went unused, sitting in the sun near vast expanses of grass, unwatched JumboTrons and virgin Porta-Potties, all outnumbering the actual attendees of TheCall. Enjoy the muzak as well:

(2) Judge Walker’s historic Prop 8 decision = “Banning religious beliefs in our society as a whole”

Yep, you heard that right. Here’s the direct quote:

“If this stands, in one generation, we will have gone from banning the bible in public schools to banning religious beliefs in our society as a whole.”

(3) TheCall prayer verges on speaking in tongues?

An unknown speaker intones that “you are the last line of defense… it’s a winnable war.” Lou Engle prays “for the U.S. Congress, that God would radically break in…” and TheCall followers respond to a Christian rock drum beat by praying and, though it’s hard to say for sure, speaking in tongues?

As this Labor Day weekend TheCall-a-thon comes to an end, please use this as an Open Thread to discuss whatever is on your mind or in the news.

Finally, if you’ve appreciated our coverage of TheCall over the last three days, please consider making a small contribution to help us pay for the costs of this coverage, including Arisha, Anthony, Phyllis and Andy’s staff time, travel expenses and video production. Even $10 helps. Thanks!

September 5, 2010 at 6:20 pm 168 comments

The vicious cycle of guilt: A post-mortem on TheCall

(Linda Liles found a good outlet to express her feelings about TheCall Sacramento — she wrote up this compelling guest post last night for the P8TT community to discuss on this beautiful Sunday. If you haven’t read Linda’s first guest post about coming out to her mother, check it out after you read her analysis below. — Eden)

By Linda Liles

In Arisha’s first installment of her coverage of the ‘TheCall’ convergence she recounted a conversation she had with a young man. In the course of the conversation she pointed out the contradiction of being pro-life and pro-death penalty; to which the young man replied, ‘Yeah it’s all mixed up. Man mixes things up.”

This quote, coupled with the general tone of the conversation made me feel a deep empathy for this man. He has been through a lot, and has accomplished a lot towards getting his life back on track; but the message I picked up from what Arisha relayed was a deep current of guilt.

Guilt.

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We have a wonderful family in our community on P8TT; and among us we have representatives of many different faiths, and many denominations within those faiths. We also have those who are atheist; those who are spiritual; those who are agnostic. In short, we are all-encompassing; and I believe we are to be commended for the lengths we all go to in making sure that what we express is not critical of or offensive to others.

And most of the time we are successful in that endeavor. In sharing my perspective I have no desire to break that unwritten code of tolerance and civility. The observations I am about to make are not to be taken as criticisms of true Christianity. In fact, it offends me that our opposition is allowed to wear that identity. But having been raised in an extreme, fundamentalist Christian household I feel a need to speak to the negative impact this false Christianity can have.

And the main component of this brand of Christianity is guilt.

Guilt is mandatory. Guilt is humbling; guilt actually proves that you’ve sinned, because the guilt you feel is God convicting you of your sin. And when you feel that guilt, then you need to repent and ask for forgiveness. And this is where they take control; because from then on every time you slip up or make a mistake it is labeled as a sin; sin equals guilt, which must then lead to repentance, forgiveness, etc. etc. It’s a vicious cycle that keeps the victim permanently guilt-ridden. There is always something to feel guilty about. And with that guilt come low self-esteem, and low self-worth. That’s what I picked up on in the young man Arisha was conversing with on Friday night.

That guilt is extremely valuable to these pseudo-Christian leaders; and they know exactly how to take full advantage of it. They begin by listing all the wrongs—in the world, in this country, in the state; and then they put the blame for all those wrongs on the people who are in attendance. And they proceed to list all the wrongs of the people—wrong actions, wrong thoughts, wrong effort, wrong amount of passion for Christ, wrong level of commitment to God—it starts to get very serious at this point, and then the attendees are called on to repent of their sins, over and over; and they are pleading with God to forgive them.

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And then, after all that emotional turmoil, these people are instructed to pledge their lives to serving God and righting the wrongs their previous sins caused. And this time, they are not to live as passive Christians; no! They must be warriors, on the front lines. “The line is drawn, the weapons are ready, we will not back down, we will not give in!” How many times have I heard that growing up. So of course, the exhausted, emotionally spent, guilt-ridden attendees are going to pledge to do anything; anything to keep from sinning and feeling that awful guilt again.

And then, those deceitful leaders turn from being the accusers to being the recruiters, and all of a sudden those in attendance are Godly, righteous people who will stand against……whatever, it doesn’t matter. The intent at this point is to bring home the awareness that now that they’ve repented they have the freedom to judge and condemn all those who have not repented.

And, ohhh! That feels so good! Finally the attention is off their sins and on the sins of someone else. Finally they’re the good guys; the righteous guys! The adrenaline rush is incredible now; they are ready to go into battle; they are ready to do God’s work and rid the world of the evilness of sin….as manifested in….oh, let’s see….abortion clinics, planned parenthood offices, GSA organizations, LGBT-friendly businesses, churches that perform same sex marriage ceremonies, funerals of soldiers, any candidate for political office who supports something they do not believe in…. in short, any entity that does anything that can be interpreted as contradicting God’s Absolutes.

And it all started with guilt.

callcross

When I got out from under this type of oppressive form of Christianity one of the first things I did was release myself from all the baggage I was carrying because of guilt. I can’t tell you what a relief it was to take that load of guilt off my shoulders and toss it in the trash.

I’m done feeling guilty. I freely acknowledge that I’ve made mistakes; and I am endeavoring to learn from them. But I will not carry guilt for the rest of my life because of them.

As an LGBT community we are carrying more than our share of guilt, aren’t we? And we see the effects. We see the low self-esteem; we see the self-doubt; we see the depression. But do we see how we are being manipulated by all of that? It’s that guilt that makes us wonder if we really have the right to come out. It’s that guilt that makes us question ourselves when confronted with condemning scriptures. It’s that guilt that makes us willing to live as less than equal; to hide ourselves to keep from offending others; to lie about our partners; to stay silent when someone speaks against us.

Guilt!

Can we, as a community, make a pledge to each other? Anonygrl started it here on P8TT by asking us to promise to live; Richard added to that pledge by promising to not only live, but to do all he can to help others live as well. My addition would be this: Can we all promise to forgive ourselves and release ourselves from that guilt? Let’s accept that we are living our lives the best way we know how, and let that be sufficient. Let’s look ahead with hope and enthusiasm; embracing each new day with eager anticipation. Let’s rise up out of our persecution, and claim our equality.

Life is a process; and I believe the point is to live it; and to live it as freely as possible.

calldebate
An equality supporter and a volunteer for TheCall engage in a debate about the event on Saturday.

September 5, 2010 at 1:00 pm 115 comments

#TheCallTurnoutFAIL exposed: Organizers planned for 30,000, not 6,000; Endless, empty blocks of JumboTrons, Porta-Potties unused

(Andy Kelley, Courage’s New Media Organizer, was at TheCall yesterday, and wrote this piece revealing how the event was actually a total failure in terms of turnout, compared to what the organizers expected. Lou Engle expected 30,000 people, it appears, if the multiple JumboTrons and Porta-Potties stretching on for blocks… of empty grass… are any indication. Not to mention the 55,450 unused water bottles, outnumbering actual attendees almost tenfold. Great reporting by Andy, who also got video footage that will be uploaded later. Check it out. — Eden)

by Andy Kelley

It is difficult to call an event with an estimated turnout somewhere around 6,000 a small event. In truth, it’s a far cry from the few dozen people we came to expect during the NOM tour. TheCall Sacramento, however, is a totally different creature.

calljumbotron

While driving to do an interview with a Minister from a local church (video to follow), Anthony and I couldn’t help wonder why so many streets were blocked off in downtown Sacramento. After all, everyone was down in the capital.

So I decided to get out of the car to find out what was going on. You can imagine my surprise when I discovered “Road Closed” signs at the intersection of 4th St. @ L St. (some 7 plus blocks from the Capital Park).

As I walked down the street I passed dozens of Porta Potties, but no one was in sight, let alone congregating around them. I continued down the street, walking in search of anyone who might be attending the event, but there was no one on the street, no one but me. I kept walking, until I reached a JumboTron, some five blocks away from the Capital, but again, no one was in sight. Had they really anticipated it would be needed?

As I continued walking forward, I passed many uniformed police officers, hundreds of feet of chain link fences, and yet another closed intersection. There was a a second JumboTron, like the first, I was the only one viewing it. Beside is were several pallets of water bottles. I couldn’t help but wonder how many, so I counted them. 35 bottles per case x 8 cases per level x 7 levels per pallet = 1,680 bottles of water. There were 17 such pallets, sitting unattended beside the JumboTron, 23,520 water bottles in total (feel free to check my math.)

I passed another solitary JumboTron, followed a block later by yet another massive screen with but one viewer besides myself. Here, I discovered another 16 pallets of water, 3 pallets (5040 bottles) appeared to have been used, bringing the grand total 55,440 unused water bottles!

With so much water around, it’s no wonder there were another 200 Porta Potties located closer to the venue, meaning that I’d walked by 250 or so in total, and had yet to see a line. According to their vendor, United Site Services website, 242 Porta Potties would service the a crowd of 30,000 people for 10 hours. This begs the question, how many people had The Call’s planners been anticipating. United Site Services states only 48 such toilets would be needed for the crowd of 6,000 present on Saturday.

callpray2Even as I got closer to Capital Park, there was enough room for several participants to set out picnic blankets, while leaving space in between (as the picture to the right of TheCall attendees bowing in prayer shows quite clearly).

Based on the Porta Potties provided, the scattering of JumboTrons accross capital mall, and the over-abundance of water bottles a conservative estimate could place their expectations somewhere around 30,000.

Clearly, this was not the case. It took me over 10 minutes from the first road closure, to even reach a semblance of “The Call.” Turnout was only 20 percent of what organizers may have expected, and considerably lower than the events from even the night before.

Let’s keep in mind that Lou Engle and Mike Huckabee claim that more than 400,000 people attended TheCall in Washington, D.C. in 2000, as this promo for TheCall Sacramento hypes to the, er, heavens:

The juxtaposition between 2000 and 2010 presents Mr. Engle with a bit of an unfortunate catch-22:

1) If the “400,000” for TheCall DC in 2000 is a credible number, then it’s fair to say that in the last 10 years, the sheer number of followers of TheCall has shrunk to a much, much smaller base of hard-core supporters.

2) But if that “400,000” number was inflated in 2000, one can only wonder what estimate Lou Engle will give to the crowd count for TheCall Sacramento.

If Engle remembers that commandment in the Bible about “bearing false witness,” he’ll stick to 6,000 and hope no one in the mainstream media notices that he actually expected 30,000 to show up.

UPDATE BY EDEN:
Paul, a P8TT participant, just posted the following comment about watching Sacramento’s KCRA last night:

“When watching KCRA news last night at 11:00 pm, I was told that Lou Engle “expected” 50,000 to attend yesterday’s event and KCRA showed some of the attendees singing & all warm and fuzzy. KCRA never mentioned actual attendance, just expected attendance. Who cares what they expected… I’m letting KCRA know what I think of that report….please do the same if you happened to catch it last night.

CALL @ KCRA…(916) 444-7316 re: Edie Lambert’s report on “The Call” Saturday night.

I just went to KCRA’s web site to see if I could grab video of their broadcast, but didn’t see anything. But there was an AP article that said:

The gathering filled the west lawn of the state Capitol and hundreds of people spilled into the next block, but the rest of Capitol Mall’s five-block-long lawn went unused, despite large screens and barricades set up for the occasion.

That’s the first time I’ve seen the #TheCallTurnoutFAIL covered by the mainstream media. If anyone else sees other coverage, please post links in the comments.

UPDATE BY EDEN: Check out this video footage of thousands of the estimated 55,400 water bottles that went unused. Oh, and enjoy the muzak as well:

September 5, 2010 at 7:30 am 136 comments

TheCall, er, TheScream: “Girl-on-girl kissing (and) lesbianism is a plague on our society”

By Eden James

If you’ve ever wondered what our coverage of the NOM summer rallies and TheCall have to do with the Prop 8 trial, all you have to do is listen to the audio of Cindy Jacobs on stage today, speaking (er, screaming) at TheCall Sacramento. (I uploaded an mp3 to YouTube that commenter “NG” emailed to me. We don’t have actual video yet, but if we’re able to locate it, we’ll post it later):

You might have to adjust your volume about halfway through — or else her screams of “girl-on-girl kissing (and) lesbianism is a plague on our society today” and “Madonna kissing Britney” might blow out your eardrums:

A “plague on our society.”

The heart of the case brought by the American Foundation for Equal Rights, led by Ted Olson and David Boies, is that the cabal of campaign operatives behind Proposition 8 had “animus” towards gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. As legal analyst Paul Hogarth wrote on P8TT last month:

“… Prop 8 was motivated by an irrational fear (animus) that is unconstitutional according to Romer v. Evans (1996.) If all the “rationales” — stated or unstated — in favor of passing Prop 8 were mere subterfuges for bigotry, any court would have to find it violates the 14th Amendment.”

Listen to what Cindy Jacobs said in the audio clip above (if you can understand, to put it nicely, her grammatically flawed syntax):

“This girl-on-girl kissing, Madonna kissing Britney Spears and what happened to Britney after that and a lot of other things. I know we’re going out over worldwide television. I want to tell you bisexuality, every kind of perverse thing, the Bible calls this sin. And I want the women of God to kneel down right now and we are going to put a stop to this in our generation and we are going to say NO MORE!…”

(screaming at the top of her voice now)…

“… I want to say to you, this gender-mainstreaming decision, I don’t know if you’re a boy or a girl, do you have a sex with both, boy or girl, has GOT TO STOP! And we decree right now that there is a holiness movement coming. We decree that in the name of Jesus that men and women are going to be their natural use. In the name of Jesus! One of you women wanna repent for that: Lesbianism?”

That’s animus.

As much as the religious right wants to claim that it hates the sin, not the sinner, that is the subterfuge for bigotry that drove them to pour more than $40 million into a discriminatory initiative that stripped a constitutional right (marriage) away from a protected class of people.

The more we expose this animus towards LGBT families, the more we will help change the culture that has tolerated it in the past.

More to come from TheCall in posts to come…

UPDATE BY EDEN: Check out what Cindy Jacobs said just a few months ago, as covered by Right Wing Watch:

Cindy Jacobs reports that on July 17, God spoke to her and warned that America was on the verge of slipping into “another Great Depression” and the only hope of stopping it was for massive prayer, fasting, revival, support for Israel … and, of course, proper voting.

Read the rest here.

Who is Cindy Jacobs? Here’s what “Generals International,” her organization’s web site says:

Cindy Jacobs is a respected prophet who travels the world ministering not only to crowds of people, but to heads of nations. Perhaps her greatest ministry is to world influencers who seek her prophetic advice…

Among other things, she is listed in the Who’s Who Among American Women, has written for such publications as Charisma, Ministries Today, and Spirit-Led Women. She is a frequent guest on Trinity Broadcasting Network, The 700 Club, and now one can watch her on the God Channel. The television show from her ministry, God Knows, is on nine networks in six languages.

Cindy has authored six books, Possessing the Gates of the Enemy, The Voice of God, Women of Destiny, Deliver Us from Evil, The Supernatural Life, and her newest, The Reformation Manifesto

UPDATE BY EDEN: Get a load of this three-minute video montage of some of Cindy’s appearances in 2008 on a tour through South America (h/t to “Ray in MA,” who posted it in the comments):

One person can’t possibly watch every video of Cindy Jacobs on YouTube, but if P8TT community members would like to crowdsource this and subject yourselves to this torture in order to add links to the “greatest hits” in the comments, just click on this YouTube search for “Cindy Jacobs.”

September 4, 2010 at 5:50 pm 138 comments

TheCall, Day 2: “Madonna kissed Britney [Spears] … and look what happened to her”

(Here’s the first report from Day 2 of TheCall Sacramento from Arisha, along with pictures and video from Anthony, Phyllis and Andy. You can watch it live, streaming on God TV, if you don’t mind boosting their view count. To catch up on all of the posts thus far, click on the new “TheCall” category just created. — Eden)

By Arisha Hatch

Day 2 of TheCall Sacramento is in full gear, without thousands of worshipers in attendance.

Unlike the NOM summer rallies, in which we could actually hand-count NOM’s paltry attendance in the low two figures, we have to estimate TheCall’s much larger crowd. Compared to last night’s Raley Field event on Day 1, which we estimated at 10,000, my estimate of today’s attendance is about 6,000.

Lou Engle, dressed in a black button down shirt and jeans, stands on a large stage in front of the California State Capitol. With him on stage are a line of plain-clothed speakers — various pastors, and a California State Assemblymember.

The jumbotron finally begins showing the name of each speaker 45 minutes into the rally. None introduce themselves before they begin to pray. There haven’t been a lot of speeches, per se — just a steady stream of prayer. Here’s video of one of the first moments in which a speaker invoked a prayer after citing polling on abortion (“public opinion has shifted [on abortion from] 38% pro-life to 52% pro-life… “I believe that’s because of TheCall”). Anyone want to fact-check his numbers? He then raises his voice…

“Lord, we’re asking again that everything that can be shaken will be shaken”:

Two large banners on either side of the stage read “ONLY ONE HOPE: JESUS.” The slogan is emblematic of the subtle political undertones of this event — as of yet, the political message is not overt, unlike Mike Huckabee’s focus on Judge Walker’s decision in promoting TheCall. Still, every once in awhile a prayer is said in favor of “pro-life” or “traditional marriage.”

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Bishop Harry Jackson has been handed the mic (you might remember Jackson from the interview Courage chair Rick Jacobs did with him at the final NOM rally in DC). He says:

“We’re going to pray for the President — that he has a Damascus Road experience.”

The crowd cheers.

UPDATE BY ARISHA: As the crowd steadily grows, the format has remained constant – a continuous, flowing prayer by a stream of speakers over a melodic tone. You can get a feel for it in this short clip::

Depending on the speaker, the message varies. We seem to have just entered the sexual perversion segment: pornography, sex-trafficking, abortion, homosexuality, bisexuality – with a dash of “gender confusion” rhetoric.

Cindy Jacobs asked the women in the audience to get on their knees and repent “girl on girl kissing [because] lesbianism is a plague.”

“Madonna kissed Britney [Spears] … and look what happened to [Britney].”

(Katy Perry might have been a more current example, but I digress).

“God, we ask you to forgive us as women for bisexuality, lesbianism and pornography,” another woman prayed. “We repent for opening up church doors to homosexuality.”

More to come, including several pictures…

UPDATE BY PHYLLIS:
They requested people to fast for 12 hours but volunteers are eating Little Ceasars pizza:

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UPDATE BY EDEN: If you want to watch the festivities live on God TV right now and share your thoughts in the comments, go for it.

UPDATE BY ARISHA: More and more, I’m coming to the conclusion that this movement that we’re witnessing today is wholly distinct from the Tea Party (and even NOM, although some of the players are the same).

For example, you’d never hear this at a Tea Party rally:

“The immigrant community will no longer be exploited; the immigrant community will be the source of the revival” said one speaker.

Even the older Latino man carrying around a 20-ft wooden cross attached to a wheel told Phyllis that she should be free to live her life as a lesbian. When he asked if he could pray for her it didn’t even come off as condescending.

(We’ve all heard “God bless you’s” that feel more like “f— you’s” today, but this didn’t feel the same).

A couple of local press cameras have gathered just outside the “backstage” gates, hoping (in theory) to get some on-camera time with a few of the bigger name speakers.

Another band is performing now.

UPDATE BY ARISHA: TheCall attendees have now formed small prayer circles throughout the mall and are praying for San Francisco “for those who live in the Castro” specifically “and for the mothers and fathers of children” who are struggling with sexual identity.

Four marriage equality activists are standing with signs just outside the event. Every few minutes they are approached by a reporter or a rally attendee. The conversations are civil — sometimes long. Equality supporters have been passing out articles detailing some of Lou Engle’s more controversial actions to attendees; most are shocked to find out about Engle’s “TheCall Uganda” event earlier this year.

UPDATE BY EDEN: This will be the last update to this post. Arisha is working on a new post, as is Andy Kelley, our New Media Organizer. Meanwhile, I just posted the following audio of what Cindy Jacobs said and an analysis of its connection to the Prop 8 trial here.

September 4, 2010 at 1:18 pm 69 comments

TheCall, Day 1: The concert before the storm (of speakers)

Right now Arisha, Anthony, Phyllis and Andy are on the ground for Day 2 of TheCall Sacramento. Late last night, Arisha filed the report below about Day 1 of TheCall — a Christian music concert at Raley Field that did not include speakers. Today, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Lou Engle’s followers will be hearing from speakers all day long. And we’ll be covering it here, as internet connections allow. It should be interesting to say the least.

For those curious about Lou Engle and TheCall’s background, I highly recommend this in-depth piece on TheCall that Linda linked in last night’s comment thread. More to come from the Courage crew on Day 2 of The Call… — Eden

By Arisha Hatch

I was standing in line to register for Day 1 of TheCall Sacramento, when an 8 year-old-girl with freckles and pig tails ran over my foot with her Razor scooter. I pressed my hand against my mouth to keep from screaming out an expletive, as the little girl – followed closely by her mother – rushed to hug me and apologize.

“Oh God bless it,” the little girl said grabbing for my toe. “I am so so sorry.”

“Where are you from,” her mother asked.

“Los Angeles,” I said, avoiding eye contact. After two rental car company mixups, an eight hour drive that should’ve taken six and Andy’s broken air conditioner, I just wasn’t in the mood.

A man in a red volunteer shirt put a wristband on my arm for the field level and handed me a bag of books that I was still too pained to look at.

Limping into a sea of people arms raised – some laying on the grass of Raley Field stadium – singing along to catchy, professionally-produced pop-Christian music, I felt confused.

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“What the hell am I doing here?” I thought, but dare not say aloud.

As I looked around, there were no signs of the contentious social issues that are often linked to gatherings of this kind.

No, Friday was about a concert. Two large jumbo-trons showed close-ups of the performers on stage with Christ-inspired lyrics along the bottom so that the crowd could sing along.

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A volunteer attendant quoted an unverified attendance figure of 16,000. I wouldn’t put it at 16,000 (we’re told capacity was 15k), but they definitely hit around 10,000, to my estimation (to judge for yourself, check out the panorama pictures we posted earlier).

I sat down on the field and reached into the bag that the volunteer handed me. Three books were inside: “The Purple Pig and other miracles;” a pamphlet by Derek Prince titled “Orphans, Widows, the Poor and Oppressed; and TheCall weekend agenda, including a map and a list of Terms and Conditions. (“It’s a fast, not a festival” the pamphlet reads).

The books felt entirely disconnected from the scene before me.

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Needing air, I walked out of the stadium to begin to blog. While sitting I was approached by a Caucasian man in his late 20s.

“Do you like rap music?” he asked.

A conversation was struck. He introduced himself, rapped a few new song lyrics, talked about how he came to Christ and about how political/value disagreements left me feeling disconnected from the church.

“When I was younger, I liked to break dance,” he said. “I wanted to start dancing again so I looked up a place and it was called Lord’s Gym. I didn’t think anything of it – I thought it was just a cool name. When I went in for the first time, I found out that it was a Christian breakdancing group. I stayed. I came back.”

He quoted scripture often and well; thoughtfully applying the scriptures to his own life experiences.

“I’ve gone through a lot of bad things in my life – put myself through a lot of bad things – drug addiction, homelessness,” his voice trailed off a bit. “But I’m renewing myself through Christ . . . finding my way. I told him that even if I slip up, that I will always run back to him – never away from him.”

He paused. “But this is just my Testimony,” he said. “I hate it when it gets all politicized. I mean, murder is wrong so that is why I am pro-life. Are you?”

“I’m pro-life for myself, but think others should have choice. But how am I supposed to be pro-life and pro-death penalty at the same time?”

It’s strange, unlike Brian Brown he actually stopped to think about my question before answering.

“Yea, it’s all mixed up. Man mixes things up.”

“And what about gay marriage? Isn’t it possible that God created gays and lesbians with purpose?”

“Yea, that’s definitely possible,” he easily conceded after admitting that he believed homosexuality was a sin. “I wouldn’t vote for it (same-sex marriage), but I wouldn’t –I didn’t – vote against it.”

I suddenly realized that this Christian rapper didn’t necessarily fit into the “Yes on 8” box that I had put him in; he was somewhere in the middle; he was a “maybe.”

And “Maybes” we can work with. I’ll take a maybe any day out here.

As he gathered his things to meet his friends, he stopped to say the following:

“You know earlier, I was wondering why I came out here today. It was good to talk with you.”

“Me too,” I thought.

callparkinglot

More tomorrow, as Day 2 of TheCall commences on the Capitol Mall in Sacramento…

September 4, 2010 at 10:13 am 61 comments

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